Help with Unloading a horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
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Help with Unloading a horse

I posted on the forum a couple of days ago about buying a little quarter horse for almost nothing because the owner wanted him gone immediately. Well I am going to go pick him up this weekend, he is still at the place right he was being boarded at right now. I am told the horse loads fine but will not back out of the trailer. Apparently all the trailers he has been in have been big enough to turn him around and lead him out. My trailer is a 2 horse front load and I can't remove the divider, if it is true that he has a problem backing out does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get him unloaded with as little stress as possible? I would think that he would eventually unload himself wouldn't he? It is winter with lots of snow where I live and all the people I know with larger trailers have stored them for the winter so I cant get anyone else to bring Music home for me.
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 02:46 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Park it in a safe enclosure, open the door, and leave him alone. He'll get out. It may take awhile so maybe don't do it in the middle of a blizzard lol.
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 03:26 AM
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Be aware that the fact he has always loaded fine into big trailers that he can turn around in does not mean he will load easily into a two horse straight load.

Better go prepared for a horse that will not load well and give yourself lots of time so you don't feel rushed if he won't get right in.

As far as unloading, I don't have any better advice.
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 03:31 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Is your divider removable? If so, remove it for the trip and he should be able to turn around no problem. I actually prefer removing the divider when hauling only one horse. The horse can distribute its weight over more than half the trailer and make the haul home both easier for you and the horse.
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 07:46 AM
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This is a really common problem with an awful lot of horses. We have tried the backing on the ground and found that most of these horses back just fine on the ground. It is only a trailer thing.

We have tried the one foot in and back out. Then two feet in and back out. [And about that time, many of them will just barge in and charge all the way to the front of the trailer.]

We have tried a chain over a horse's nose and most of them just bang their heads repeatedly on the roof.

When I had a two horse, I tried leaving one in the trailer, parked in the arena. The next morning, he was still in there. looked like a gutted snake, but was still there.

That is when I recruited a helper, put a long rope on each side running them out the back of the trailer and the two of us just pulled him out. Took about 2 or 3 minutes. Gave him a drink, loaded him back up and did it again. The time it only took a little pull. Third time I could back him out by myself.

So, this is what we have done ever since. It has never failed and no horse has ever been hurt. We did it 2 weeks ago with a big, 1250# 10 year old App gelding that I bought at the last local horse sale. [The night I bought him, I hauled him home loose, not knowing how he tied. He met me at the back of trailer so he unloaded the way he was used to. I know better than to start something I can no longer finish.]

The next day we tied him solid and found him OK with that. We sacked him out and he was OK with everything. So we loaded him to see how he tied and backed out of a trailer. He not only would not back out of the stock trailer, but would try to bulldoze right over you when you got him to back 1 or 2 steps inside the trailer. He would plow right over you and charge all the way back to the front.

My arthritis and degenerative back is so bad that I cannot pull of push at all any more, so husband got a guy to help him and they pulled him out with two 20 foot ropes. He tried so hard to go forward that they had to take turns taking a wrap around the side bars on the trailer and take him back a little at a time on each side until they got him to the back. He finally stepped out. I took about 10 minutes. He tried a lot harder to go forward than most.

Husband reloaded him 3 or 4 times until he backed out very nicely. He took him on a trail ride a few days later and he backed out of the trailer without a problem. He had to go into the trailer to back him out, but he never hesitated.

All of our other horses back out without anyone even getting into the trailer to get them. We untie each one, one at a time, from the left side of the trailer, tell them to "Back up!" and they carefully back out one step at a time. One of our trailers hauls 10 head and they all load without anyone leading them and they all back out one at a time the same way. The App will, too, after a few times of hauling him.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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One thing that's very important, don't get angry or if you feel frustration stop. Walk away, gather yourself with a few deep breaths and try again.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
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I am expecting it to take a while so I intend to be patient and not get upset or angry. Cherie your method sounds just like what my very unhorsey husband suggested when I first told him of the potential problem. (LOL I guess he is learning something about horses after all ) Where are the ropes attached to him when you pull him out? (sorry if thats a really stupid question) do you attach them to either side of his halter? or run them across his chest ? I just can't picture it
post #8 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 12:25 PM
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Just attach one to each side of a flat nylon web halter. Once they take the first step back, you never let them go forward again. We try to keep the ropes about mid-rib height. They often times fold their chins all the way to their chests just before they give in.

I had a big pack mule one time that two people could not pull back out. He was just too strong. I went to go get a stout horse and was going to dally him to the saddlehorn when he gave in and just backed right out like we wanted him to do for 30 minutes. My friend helping me wanted to tie a knot in his tail, tie it to a post and drive off. I wanted to try dallying him first. He must have heard us talking.
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
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Thanks Cherie I now have a better idea of what I might end up doing . I will let you know how it goes on Saturday
post #10 of 19 Old 01-02-2013, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Oregon
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I love the idea of taking out the divider. We used that a lot and it seemed to work pretty well.
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