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Just Load Please Charlie!!!!

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  • Horse trailer loading techniques
  • Can you use stud chains on mares

 
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    08-24-2009, 01:57 AM
  #11
Weanling
Well it may be a little forcing but it isn't as harsh as other ways. When we tried the butt rope and when he kept raring up, he cut his head on top of the trailer. Then we just tried with pressure and even after 5 hours he still refused. I think food and water is a positive way because he realizes while in their eating and drinking that it isn't such a dangerous place and that he can relax. I have seen some ppl just forse a horse in, shut the doors and haul it wherever it needed to go and not even give the horse a chance to warm up. I would like my horse trailer to feel like home.

Just from doing it that way, after 1 month he now loads without even leading him in. Whenever we walk up to the horse trailer with him, we let his halter go and he walks on up and from the side we then clip him to the short lead that is hooked up front. I just feel it wasn't forceful as some other methods.
     
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    08-24-2009, 02:03 AM
  #12
Yearling
Well, my best friend's 17hh warmblood was terribly afraid of our horsefloat. He was only used to big 6 horse goosenecks and this was his first time in a 2 horse straight load float.
We tried just leading him up but he'd always only get onto the ramp before running back. We think he was afraid of hitting his head.
We eventually used a butt rope. A white one, so that he'd think it was an electric fence. This sort of worked because he wouldn't run away. He just wouldn't load.
Eventually, I ended up sitting in the other end of the float, looking calm and acting like the float was the best place in the world. This actually worked because the big boy is very much a people person and of course he was curious as to why I was sitting in that small scary box.
After lots of sweet-talking, pets and "Aww, who's a good boy? Just one more step bubby", we got him on.
Now all you have to do to get him on is, click and he'll walk straight on. I guess it just took a little bit of hard work but now its paid off.
     
    08-24-2009, 07:25 AM
  #13
Started
I'm a big fan of Clinton Anderson's method, as Ziggy outlined. With my horses, I actually do the Lunging for Respect to make them work, then rest at the trailer (at first rest as close to it as they will go, and when they work up to it, rest in the trailer). The trick is to let the horse make the desicion to "leave," then make him work after he's committed. My benchmark is, when he's in the trailer, when he backs his hind feet out, I start to push him back and away, then make him work. They learn that it's their desicion to work, but it makes more sense to stay where they can rest. Works whether the horse is afraid or just bull-headed.

Another horse I worked with kinda knew how to push his weight around if he got frustrated, I knew that I wasn't going to hold him on a circle to lunge him. So, I backed the horse up to make him "work," rather than try to lunge him. Backed him until it no longer sounded like fun to him, plus one more step to drive the point home that "it is work out here." Worked just like it does when I lunge them. One person can do it (Although I don't like to do it "Alone," just in case something goes wrong...), without food bribes, without butt ropes. Just takes patience and persistence.

I hope that makes sense, and at least gives you some ideas. Good luck!
     
    08-24-2009, 08:21 AM
  #14
Foal
Hi All
Thank for some great ideas everyone , I really do apprecieate that a lot.. I will try some of these.. The trailer is a 2 horse step up floater type, it is a little small, the neighbor and I talked about that last night so we are going to borrow a larger one to continue to work with him.

When we picked up Charlie from the local horse center, They had to use a great deal of force to make him load onto a 4 horse slant trailer. And by force they used a lead rope tied into trailer and when Charlie gave slack they pulled him in... he was raring up and hitting his head on trailer fell down 2-3 times. Cut himself... It was really not a good thing to see.. At one point 2 hours into this loading technique Charlie was on the ground laying on his side almost like he was dead...just tired ... After about 5 mins. He returned to his feet and about 30 more minutes of pushing and using a snap of a whip Charlie finally gave up and stepped into trailer. The horse center folks were tired as well... I am not sure I agree with how they loaded Charlie and I just knew he was going to be stuborn to load from here on out.....

Thanks again for any insight... we will keep working with him
     
    08-24-2009, 09:45 AM
  #15
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5star    
When we picked up Charlie from the local horse center, They had to use a great deal of force to make him load onto a 4 horse slant trailer. And by force they used a lead rope tied into trailer and when Charlie gave slack they pulled him in... he was raring up and hitting his head on trailer fell down 2-3 times. Cut himself... It was really not a good thing to see.. At one point 2 hours into this loading technique Charlie was on the ground laying on his side almost like he was dead...just tired ... After about 5 mins. He returned to his feet and about 30 more minutes of pushing and using a snap of a whip Charlie finally gave up and stepped into trailer. The horse center folks were tired as well... I am not sure I agree with how they loaded Charlie and I just knew he was going to be stuborn to load from here on out.....
Wow. After all that I'm not surprised he's giving you trouble! I think that this is just going to take lots of patience, take it slow and easy, show him that trailering isn't WW3. That loading experience would have been pretty traumatic, and is going to stick with him. Be patient and persistent, and reward the smallest try that Charlie gives you.
     
    08-24-2009, 11:16 AM
  #16
Foal
I have the same problem with my horse, he's perfect in everyway but doesnt like the trailer, but im thinking its cos he's 16.3h and this trailer is smaller then wot I would like, so im not bothering with the small trailer anymore and going to invest in a bigger one, hopefully that will sort my problems out x
     
    08-24-2009, 12:37 PM
  #17
Showing
I agree with Wild spot about the butt rope. I saw a show with Tom Dorrance awhile ago where they had 3 people loading the horse. One on the lead rope with the horse, and 2 holding a rope like a gate behind it. The 2 with the rope would put pressure on from the rear while the other just guided the horse. When the horse went forward they dropped the rope to release the pressure. It didn't take any time at all to get the horse in the trailer and it was a first load for it.
If you are alone, and have the 2 hours that this person spends, this is a good representation of what a lot of folks are going to tell you to do. Really pay attention to her body language and the way she will put the pressure on at the right time and take it off at the right time. This is one of the hardest things to learn to do but also one of the most important for just about all areas of horse training. Good luck and I'm sure you will get him loading like a champ
     
    08-24-2009, 01:23 PM
  #18
Green Broke
I like the butt rope method for young and inexperienced horses, but I definitely agree that with horses who are flat out terrified, it can actually cause a lot more problems. We tried it on an Arab mare rehab we had, and same thing happened...she'd coax forward fine, get her front end in the trailer, and then go absolutely spastic, slam her head into the roof and flip out backwards. We actually ended up having to use "force" because even if you coaxed her in with grain, the minute she got her head in, she'd freak out and rear. We ended up using a butt rope, plus two leadropes threaded through the front and out the escape door. On the count of three, everyone would heave as hard as they could and she was small enough, we managed to fluidly "toss" her inside. Now, I'd never reccommend this to anyone, the only reason it worked was because once she was physically inside, she realized she was ok. We only used this method because we had to make her stop hitting her head and scaring herself. For her, it worked. But it's dangerous as all heck because if you don't get it perfectly, you're in for a lot of trouble. After a few times of using this leverage to get her inside without her hitting her head, she would load no problem. Again, she was a very small horse. I'd never try it with a bigger horse.

Anyway, I do personally like the food method. I mean, in that sense, everything we make a horse do is force. We don't exactly give them choices. If you don't listen, I'll make you work. If you don't like the trailer, you won't eat. Obviously if this method absolutely wasn't working, I'd never let a horse starve. But we used this method on a yearling colt, and within half a day Shay-las mom made us remove the trailer from the paddock because he kept her up all night jumping in and out (he thought it was a game). He learned to love being in the trailer. Heck, in his case, I don't think we even needed to put food inside, he was so curious he would have started playing anyway!

For this horse, you'll definitely need to make the trailer as positive as possible. Even little things like setting a pan of oats right at the doors so he can stand outside and eat. Just to reinforce the idea that standing by the trailer is a fun thing. Work him around the trailer, ride him around the trailer, do your best to make it an object of his daily life. Also, TONS of groundwork. Get him REALLY listening to you in the halter, and listening to voice commands. Build that foundation of trust. It may take awhile, but worth it in the end.
     
    08-24-2009, 01:32 PM
  #19
Showing
Ok I'll add a trailer loading horror story too We had a TB that would load in any trailer except ours. It was a dark color and maybe just a tad small for her. We tried everything and I mean everything. We finally got a horse trainer friend of ours over and between 4 people and a stud chain wrapped around the inside of her mouth at the gum line and 2 people driving her from behind, she loaded. It was awful using that kind of pain inducement but it got her in and after that she loaded fine in the trailer we had.
FYI- every time she backed up the stud chain would tighten on her gums.
     
    08-24-2009, 02:12 PM
  #20
Yearling
Hubby and I have a Horse Transport business and we see all kinds. Most of the problems are caused by people trying to force the horse on the first few times. It's only the most forgiving horse that will load the second time after chains on the gums, whips and being dragged on.

A couple of other things to consider.....make sure all the windows are open but leave the bars up. Make it as airy as possible. If it's a hot day let the trailer cool down a bit, better yet start your training session is the cool of the morning or evening. Check the inside for wasp nests, you'd be amazed how quickly they'll take over a trailer.

One day we were going for a trail ride and my guy who you walk up to the trailer throw the lead over his back and say "up" didn't want to go on one day. Turned out one of the boards was a little loose. Check the trailer over at least once a year.

The youtube Vida put up is excellent!! You need to be prepared to take as long as it's going to take.

We have one on our web page but it doesn't go into the same detail. The horse used for the demo had loaded before he was just a little reluctant. Maybe you can get a tip or two........

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