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Hit head now wont back off trailer

This is a discussion on Hit head now wont back off trailer within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Training to put a horse in a straight trailer and back out of it with noodles
  • Unloading horse so he doesn't hit head

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    03-01-2012, 05:54 PM
  #11
Green Broke
This really works. Take your time, give yourself a couple hours.
This works best if he already loads easily.
Have the horse face the trailer, ask him to put one foot in, don't let him go any farther than that, just one foot. Then have him take it out. Do this several times, 10 or 20Xs. Next step ask for both front feet, no farther. Then ask him to take both feet out of the trailer, do that several times, 20 or 30Xs.
Next step if you can get three feet in great, but sometimes that can be difficult so four is fine. Then ask him to get out of the trailer after a second or two. He should remember the step is there and since he has gone up and down 50 or so times by now. He should not be frightened and get out easily, if he doesn't get out easily, start again from the beginning. If he does get out easily, repeat all the way in and all the way out several times.
My clyde wouldn't get out of the trailer and when he finally came out he would fly out and the last thing throw his head up and hit the top of the trailer, even though I had an 8' tall trailer this was scary to watch. I hired a John Lyons certified trainer to help me, and the above discription is what he did. It worked great. If I didn't trailer him any where for awhile I would give him a short refresher course.
Good luck!


Read more: Backingout of a trailer?
herdbound likes this.
     
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    03-02-2012, 03:51 PM
  #12
Weanling
How do they injure a shoulder walking forward out of a trailer? Bumping it? Or the landing? The landing does not make sense, trailers are like 8"-a foot off the ground, my eventer jumps 2'6" off a bank and that's the beginner novice level, the upper levels are jumping down heights taller than the horse.

If they're bumping it, then you should have them straight first so they don't bump it. I'd rather have a scrape on the shoulder than having them hit their head the right way to cause permanent neurological damage or worse.

I trailer weekly to my lessons and haven't had any injuries from unloading, luckily. The worst I've had was in my old trailer, the divider had a slide that came in and out and when sliding it shut one day my mare's rump got a little pinch from it. I put lots of layers of electrical tape over it until I sold the trailer so it wouldn't happen again.
     
    03-05-2012, 09:05 AM
  #13
Green Broke
In conjunction with all the other methods try cutting on of those pool noodles (with the hole down the middle) lenght wise and put it on along the edge of trailer roof. That should make it nice and cushy and maybe a little less traumatic when he nails his head. good luck!
     
    03-05-2012, 08:25 PM
  #14
Trained
If your trailer allows this horse to turn around & walk off, why not do that? Injuring a shoulder? Sorry, in the forty or so years I have been working with horses, I have never seen a horse injure themselves "stepping down" from a trailer, but I have seen upteen dozen horses hurt themselves in various ways backing out, such as yours is doing right now.
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    03-05-2012, 08:41 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Mine injured his shoulder and the vet said it is quite common but I bet my trailer is 20" off the ground. Jumping is different and they have forward momentum not just a jolt down on one shoulder.
     
    03-05-2012, 08:44 PM
  #16
Green Broke
Training ~ Trailer Sense & Unloading
This seemed like an informative article
     
    03-05-2012, 09:21 PM
  #17
Green Broke
The problem with letting them turn around is that they will try to do it every time, even in trailers they can't turn around in. That happened to me not long ago. I don't have my own trailer so I only trailer out with friends. Well, the friend I ride with the most has a nice roomy slant trailer that the horses can turn around it. Great. I like them going out forward because I feel they can see where they are going.

But, a couple weeks back I trailered out with a friend whose trailer has a tack room at the back, so the horse in the last stall can't turn around, he has to back out because the tack compartment takes up the turn-around space. Well, my mare who is used to turning around immediately tried to turn around in that last stall. She got her head and neck all bend around and she was stuck! I mean flat out stuck! She quit struggling and stood there in an almost folded in half position. We couldn't get in there with her because she could start thrashing again at any moment. I was picturing her dieing there and wondering how we would get her body out of the trailer. There were still two horses loaded in the front that wouldn't be able to get out.

Finally one of us got up at the window and we put a couple of lead ropes on her and I asked her to turn her head back around facing the window again and she was able to do it! I was SO HAPPY. We then backed her out.

Coming home from the ride we put her in the middle compartment in case she tried to turn around again she would have room and not get stuck. But she actually backed out willingly that time.

So now I'm afraid I have to always get her in the habit of backing out, even though I don't like it either, because there are times she might be in a trailer she HAS to back out of. So she has to be willing to do it and not always assume she can turn around.

But I really feel for her, because I can tell she is so tense and scared about backing out. She always squats when she backs out, expecting the drop. And like someone else suggested, I tell her "back, back, back, down, down, down" right before she is about to go off the edge. But I don't know if she knows what that means.
     
    03-05-2012, 10:44 PM
  #18
Weanling
I'm not sure what to do about the head hitting but I know for me I have always turned my boy around in the trailer for unloading. I much prefer it to backing. I use a voice command and he knows even though I unclip him from his trailer tie and snap on his lead he cannot move or start to turn until I give the command. Same applies to actually stepping off trailer. We stop, stand, and wait a moment then I give verbal command to walk off. This way if I ever did need to back off I know I have ample time to unclip, situate and give a back cue and direct him if necessary as he is waiting for direction rather than just reacting. This has just seemed to work well for me personally. I would also second whomever suggested the ramp if he is going to be backing off.
     
    03-06-2012, 12:39 AM
  #19
Trained
I understand about not owning your rig. But again I will iterate, in all the years of owning & hauling horses around, I have never had a problem with loading, unloading, nothing. Always used a stock trailer or slant load and always walked them in & led them out. Although for a year I had a straight haul, my horse at the let me know, in no uncertain terms, this was not her idea of travel. I sold it & went back to the stock, problem solved. Maybe I am just lucky or my horses like to load & unload without problems.
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    03-06-2012, 01:27 AM
  #20
Banned
Your problem is unloading him not loading him right?

Unless you have a one horse trailer, why can't you remove the dividers, turn the horse around and walk it out?
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