How do I fix this? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By JustDressageIt
  • 2 Post By verona1016
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-08-2013, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
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How do I fix this?

Last week was my daughter's first 4-H practice. Trailering to the arena was only the second time we have trailered our mare ourselves. She has always been a good loader and has trailered just fine in the past. Well, last week when we arrived at 4-H, I accidentely backed her out of the trailer without unclipping her trailer tie. I asked my husband to attach her lead for me and I guess I just assumed he would unclip her tie. He's not a horse person, and neither of us are used to having our own trailer. So she backs out and snaps the tie. I didn't even realize it until she was out and I saw the tie hanging from her halter. After the practice she was a little hesitant to get back in, but she did eventually and trailered just fine.

So today was supposed to be my daughter's second practice, but I couldn't get my horse to load. We tried for 45 minutes, but by that time it was pointless to go anymore. I am assuming this is due to the trailer tie snapping in her face, but why would she have loaded right after it happened but not now? I also know she doesn't like the ramp on the trailer, but she's managed before. Taking it off isn't an option.

So what do you do with a horse who knows trailering well, but had a spook, and now won't get in. Either that, or decided to be stubborn and just doesn't want to go?
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-08-2013, 11:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
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There are lots of great trailering articles and discussions on here; I'd treat it as going back to square one. Square one is teaching to yield every part of her body when you ask; loading on a trailer is just an extension of that.
You may have to go back to just having her stand comfortably with her head in, then one foot up and down, two, three etc. and working her around the trailer as other discussions have suggested.
where does she start saying no? Have you watched some videos on YouTube dealing with difficult loaders?
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-08-2013, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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I havn't done much reasearch, I've never needed it. I havn't needed to even trailer her anywhere except a handful of times in the 2 years I've owned her, but she has always jumped right in those few times. This is the first time I have ever seen her absolutely refuse. I planned on watching some videos, but I also thought most of them would be geared towards teaching a horse for the first time. I didn't know if there were different approaches for horses that are scared or unsure, and horses that just don't want to.

I can get her right to the foot of the ramp, even got her to put a foot on, but that's as far as she'll go.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-09-2013, 01:23 PM
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My advice would be to start as if she has never trailered. One of the worst things you can do is attempt to load a horse and have her refuse and give up. She has now won the battle.

Pick a day when you nothing going on so if it takes 3 hours to get her on you have that time. I take a long whip or lunge whip in one hand, horse's lead in the other. I would walk her to the ramp and ask her to load. If she doesn't, tap her with the whip on the hindend over and over. Make sure she never points her nose in a direction other than looking at the trailer. Tap until she puts one foot on the ramp. Stop tapping immediately and praise. Give her a few seconds and repeat. She may get almost in and rush out. That's ok. Just go back to tapping, asking her verbally to walk on and praise along the way. Once she figures out her only way to end this training session is by going in, she will. I would plan this session on a day when you do not need to go to 4h. I would do this everyday until she walks right in without hesitation. Hope this helps.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-09-2013, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I've had good luck with a bit of a "reverse psychology" approach. Lead the horse up to the trailer as far as they'll comfortably go, let them sniff it for a moment, and before they lose interest, back them up away from it ("Oh, you're interested in the trailer? No, you can't go in yet."). Give them a moment to think about it away from the trailer (you don't have to go far), then repeat. IME they tend to go a little farther each time and eventually climb in all the way. It may take several practice sessions- the important thing is to not rush the horse and always end on a positive note. Treats help too
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