How to get my horse loading. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
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How to get my horse loading.

Hello everybody,
I just wanted to see if I could get some tips hints about getting one of my horses into my new trailer. I'm new to the trailer thing. I've had horses now for about 3 or 4 years. I've always had to ride them on our own private land though because I just now got enough money saved to upgrade truck and buy a trailer. After reading a lot of info I decided to get a 7ft. tall two horse slant load bumper pull. I know it may not be the best trailer out there, but it was new and a good deal so yeah. My truck by the way is 1/2 ton silverado, but it has the 5.3 V8 4 wheel drive and tow package. I like it because I can still average 19 MPG driving to work and on the highway but it has plenty of punch to handle my trailer with no problem.
Anyways, for the problem, I can load two out of my three horses with no problem. I started easy with them and now they will just happily hop in and out. But one of my horses I can't get to go in for nothing! I have tried everything I can think of except tranquilizing her. I didn't want to go that route if I could help it. It is a step up trailer, so I even made a ramp out of 3/4" ply wood and 2x4 supports on the bottom. But she still just walk up to the edge and puts on the parking brake. I have tried annoying her, driving her and encouraging her with the end of the lead rope. Picking up her feet by hand. Of course pushing and pulling is an endless no win battle. I just need any tips and ideas I can get.
Also is it a good idea to put a hay bag in the trailer with them why you are driving? I'm just wondering, it seems like maybe they shouldn't be trying to eat while riding?

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post #2 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 10:16 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Stockton NY
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I HAD the same problem with my boy and what i did was park the trailer in the field and let him get used too it. Than i would hook it up a few times a week and work him around the trailer and work him hard. Only time he got to rest was on the trailer. After a few weeks he was loading like a dream. We have not had a issue since but once and what i did than. Was lunge him by the trailer and it clicked with him " o yea trailer = rest for me. Hope that works. Some ppl say load his buddy horse first because if he wants to stay with his buddy he will load but i never did that one.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pellston Mi
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What we did with a APHA mare that we have that was really stubborn (she HATED being "pulled" on the trailer, or to have someone near her head. She would panic) was we "sent" her on: I put a rope halter on her with a six to eight foot lead with a popper on the end of it. I just looped the lead around her neck and used it as a guide. I also had a lunge whip that I used as a extension of my arm. I first worked her by sending her away from me, around in circles and getting closer and closer to the trailer. She would get better and better at going between the trailer and I, so eventually I cut off her path and she had no choice but to straight towards the trailer. If she didn't want to get on, she would be made to work outside the trailer, going in circles and backing up. The minute she placed a foot on the ramp or in the trailer, she would get to rest. We made it her idea to go into the trailer. Eventually, I could just point her towards the trailer and she would trot right on. It took about three sessions before I got her on the trailer, but I only did about fifteen or twenty minute sessions a day. Pretty soon, she was standing in the trailer, silent, for ten minutes or so without moving. She learned the trailer was a good thing. Hope that helps

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post #4 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
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It really, really depends on the horse and the reason for why he wont go in the trailer.
I have a hard to load horse. He really doesn't like small trailers so we have to make the trailer look as big and open as possible by opening all the windows and such. It doesn't matter if there is another horse loaded, if it is a ramp or step up, etc.. Just the size gets to him.
What we do is have one person leading, one person manning the door and one person with a broom. There is no talking, just touch the horse with the broom when he hesitates or goes backwards and let him stand and figure it out. He eventually will get in. Some trailers he gets on without an issue.

You just have to figure out what your horse's thing is and deal with it. For some people the "work them around the trailer" thing works. For my horse that would get him too worked up and it is impossible to tire that horse without a gallop track. Some people park an old crappy trailer in the field and feed the horses in it so they are used to loading to eat. For some horses you just need patience and a trust bond thing for them to get on.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
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Eh. Like Anebel said, it depends on the horse and what his reasons are.

However, I can offer the advice that got my little mare into the trailer. What I'd do is if she resisted I would urge her from behind and ahve someone hold onto the lunge line (its longer) through the escape door or window of the trailer. And the moment she took a step towards the trail you reward her, give her a good pet and tell her she's a good girl. Then urge her again, and every time she gets closer reward her. Coax her in with a treat or something. Teach her that she only gets the treat if she goes into the trailer.

And as for the hay, its perfectly fine. In faxt, I'd put some hay up there as a temptation. More incentive to get into the trailer ^^

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-14-2010, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Thanks for all the info folks! I'm wondering about trying to work until she is a bit tired and trying to let her rest next to the trailer. Maybe she would finally figure it out and start stepping in. Looks like I've got some experimenting to do.
Yeah, I've got hay and grain in there right now hoping she'd go in for it.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-15-2010, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Two distinct and different reasons;

I don't want to


I am afraid

Each is different and each needs a different approach.

I don't want to: move your feet and keep them moving as the only place to rest is in the trailer.

I am afraid: Lead them in. Have someone else encourage forward movement by adding slight pressure from behind--slight is the key word-- they can be 30 feet behind simply waiving their hand or 10 feet behind waiving a flag. depends on the horse.

Let them stop if they want to--as long as they are thinking about it--pawing, lowering their head and smelling etc. Back them up before they decide to back up on their own and try again. One foot--back them up. Two feet--back them up. This lets them know that you are in control and that you are not trying to make them. Keep doing this until they get all 4 feet in the trailer. Then back them out-BEFORE THEY DECIDE TO LEAVE. Pretty soon they will stand there relaxed--NOW ITS TIME FOR THE HAY. let them stand there and eat a little and back them out.

Pretty soon the fear is gone and they will load like a champ. Takes time so don't rush--act like you have all day and it will take 5 minutes. act like you have 5 minutes and it will take all day. Stay calm and in control of your emotions--they can read you like a book. If you are aggitated then they will go--I KNEW THIS WAS A BAD IDEA.
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