Pulling back in trailer? Any advice?
 
 

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Pulling back in trailer? Any advice?

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  • Horse standing in trailer in heat
  • Trailer aides for backing 5th wheel horse trailers

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    06-23-2012, 02:18 AM
  #1
Foal
Pulling back in trailer? Any advice?

My horse (14yr) has a problem trailering. He will literally get in ANY trailer without hesitation but once he's in there he gets a little anxious and once he settles down and I tie him up and leave he freaks out that he can't follow and starts pulling back and thrashing around. I think his whole issue is he panics when he feels the resistance from pulling back and he feels stuck. I'm mainly scared cause I don't want him to get hurt and this is a huge problem because my goal with him is to be a trail horse and haul him places. Here is what I've been doing an you tell me if I'm on the right track and any added advice.
I've been loading him in the trailer and then standing in there with him(I trust him to be in there with him, he only gets dangerous when I leave)and rubing and petting on him until he calms down then backing him out and doing it a few more times when he gets better ill start closing the trailer and everything like that. I've also been practicing with him standing and staying tied without me around in the barn and other places like that, to get that in place before I move him to a more dangerous situation like in the trailer.
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    06-23-2012, 02:53 AM
  #2
Weanling
I don't know what type of trailer you have or use, which does factor in, but if the horse panics when tied in one, there's nothing wrong with leaving him untied. Something else you can do is just "pretend" to tie him and use a shorter lead and leave it loose. See what he does.
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    06-23-2012, 03:21 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRichmond    
I don't know what type of trailer you have or use, which does factor in, but if the horse panics when tied in one, there's nothing wrong with leaving him untied. Something else you can do is just "pretend" to tie him and use a shorter lead and leave it loose. See what he does.
We would be using a 14 ft stock trailer most the time but also a straight load too. When I go with my friends it'll be a 4 horse slant so I need him to be down with whatever type of trailer :P I would leave him untied but we will be traveling with other horses sometimes and I'd really prefer to tie him. I'll also try what you suggested, thanks.
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    06-23-2012, 03:38 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Don't rub or pet him until he acts calm. You are actually rewarding him for acting up. Horses don't think like us. Trying to calm him probably is making it worse. If and when he acts up, use a firm voice, a correcting voice, for him to knock it off.

Personally, I would work him outside the trailer and let him rest in the trailer. Get him to the point that he WANTS to be in the trailer. You'll know he does when you try to back him out part way and he springs back into the trailer. At that point, I don't think you'll have any more problems with pulling back.
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    06-23-2012, 07:46 AM
  #5
Green Broke
There is no reason, in this heat to be leaving a horse tied in trailer, if you are not going anywhere. Loading and unloading is one thing, but trailers are hot, and you need to be getting him in there, and going someplace, even if just a 30 minute ride.

Leaving him in there while you walk away, in the summer months, is not the way to do this.

Load him, drive around 30 minutes, and come home and unload him. But don't leave him in one otherwise.

Good way to ensure horse won't load willingly one day.

And as another poster wrote, quit all the praising. And the petting and babying. All that does is make a fool.
     
    06-23-2012, 03:28 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
There is no reason, in this heat to be leaving a horse tied in trailer, if you are not going anywhere. Loading and unloading is one thing, but trailers are hot, and you need to be getting him in there, and going someplace, even if just a 30 minute ride.

Leaving him in there while you walk away, in the summer months, is not the way to do this.

Load him, drive around 30 minutes, and come home and unload him. But don't leave him in one otherwise.

Good way to ensure horse won't load willingly one day.

And as another poster wrote, quit all the praising. And the petting and babying. All that does is make a fool.

I don't know where you read that I leave him in the trailer or want to leav him in there for no reason? I said I tie him in the barn to practice on standing tied. The whole purpose of this question is to get him to be able to load and stand tied in the trailer so I CAN take him somewhere. I would never leave him standing in the trailer without going someonewhere but I can't go anywhere if he doesnt stand tied without pulling back and thrashing. I came on here as a meeting place to get and give advise and support not rude comments. In my mind horse people and communties are here for support and encouragement to others not for rude comments, judgements and getting talked down on.
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    06-24-2012, 03:54 PM
  #7
Foal
Try the Clinton Anderson Method, it works GREAT. Lunge him,and make yeild his HQs, other wise, do LOTS of work outside of the trailer,then send him in in,and let him rest,and as soon as he gets restless, or trys to get, LET HIM, but as soon as he does, work his butt of around the trailer,then let him stand inside,and rest, he'll learn, trailer is rest, outside, is hard work lol
     
    06-24-2012, 08:26 PM
  #8
Trained
Hi,

Firstly, have to comment on...
Quote:
Load him, drive around 30 minutes, and come home and unload him. But don't leave him in one otherwise.
Really??? I'm just confused by your suggestions & apparent ire at OP. You're going on about it being too hot for the horse to stand around in the trailer for minutes here & there, but you reckon going for a 30 minute(!) drive is OK?? Not to mention the point of the thread seems to be that the horse is not up to the stage of going *anywhere* yet.

Trailers can potentially be one of the most dangerous situations for a horse and after seeing a few serious 'accidents' one thing I will never do is tie a horse firm to something unyielding in a trailer. Instead I use a long rope and a 'Blocker Tie Ring' or such, to 'tie' the horse, but in cases of panic or accident, the rope will yield. This is also an excellent way of teaching a horse to tie safely & without them feeling trapped & panic too.

While I think negative reinforcement is a very valuable training 'tool', I personally want them to learn to be truly *comfortable & confident* in there, not just look upon it as 'the lesser evil' because you work the crap out of them outside. I also use 'lunging' type exercises as a communication tool and don't want to turn these sorts of 'games' into a punishment. Therefore I personally disagree with a couple of suggestions above.

So... I think you've got a great start, having the horse comfortably going into the trailer & standing tied with you there. He obviously trusts you a fair bit - well done! Now you've just got to teach him to trust that it'll be OK when you're not there.

I'd do this in 'baby steps'. Eg. I'd teach him to load without you in there & stand untied - drive him in rather than lead. Then go 'away' - eg out of sight - but for only a second & get back there *before* he gets worried. Lots of repetitions at this, getting gradually longer 'away' as he becomes comfortable with easier 'steps'.

If/when he gets upset/comes out without your asking, I'd allow it, give him a second to 'recoup' and then send him back in again. I wouldn't try to prevent it or punish him for it, because it is a fear reaction & punishing him for being fearful will only give him more to be nervous about. I would wait until you're sure he's confident about everything before teaching him, with negative reinforcement(putting pressure on him outside, dropping that pressure when he is in) that he needs to stay there until you say.

I agree with the people that say don't baby him(or pet or reward) when he's worried either - horses learn by association & it's pointless for your 'nice' noises or gestures to be associated with his fear. I do think *appropriate & well timed* positive reinforcement is a very effective 'tool' though and I'd personally have a pocket of diced carrot or such, to give him a bit when he's *confidently* doing the Right thing. Just be aware of what you might be reinforcing, so it's best to avoid rewarding if you're not sure he is indeed confident.

Once your horse is *confidently* loading & standing with you out of sight, then I'd start 'tying' him - again, not firm, use a long lead wrapped over the rail, a Tie Ring or such. I use a rope long enough that I can loop it through the ring & hold it while outside & put/hold some forward pressure on when necessary. One of the behavioural principles of effective teaching is that when you add a 'criteria'(such as tying the horse), it's more effective to 'relax' other criteria(such as the time you're out of sight). Therefore I'd start out getting him comfortable standing tied in the same 'baby steps' as previously. Although the more of this sort of thing you do, the quicker it becomes & I wouldn't anticipate you'll have to spend long at this until your horse is confidently standing tied just as well as he was loose. I'd do the same with closing him in.

Anyway, this is the method I've used for years with full success, be that young horses who have never been trailered or ones that have had bad experiences. It sounds long-winded & it does tend to start out that way, esp if the horse hasn't learned beforehand to trust you, but once they learn that you are going to look after them & not force them into what they perceive as dangerous situations, then training comes along in leaps & bounds!
ringosmomma and DRichmond like this.
     
    06-26-2012, 03:40 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
Hi,

Firstly, have to comment on...

Really??? I'm just confused by your suggestions & apparent ire at OP. You're going on about it being too hot for the horse to stand around in the trailer for minutes here & there, but you reckon going for a 30 minute(!) drive is OK?? Not to mention the point of the thread seems to be that the horse is not up to the stage of going *anywhere* yet.

Trailers can potentially be one of the most dangerous situations for a horse and after seeing a few serious 'accidents' one thing I will never do is tie a horse firm to something unyielding in a trailer. Instead I use a long rope and a 'Blocker Tie Ring' or such, to 'tie' the horse, but in cases of panic or accident, the rope will yield. This is also an excellent way of teaching a horse to tie safely & without them feeling trapped & panic too.

While I think negative reinforcement is a very valuable training 'tool', I personally want them to learn to be truly *comfortable & confident* in there, not just look upon it as 'the lesser evil' because you work the crap out of them outside. I also use 'lunging' type exercises as a communication tool and don't want to turn these sorts of 'games' into a punishment. Therefore I personally disagree with a couple of suggestions above.

So... I think you've got a great start, having the horse comfortably going into the trailer & standing tied with you there. He obviously trusts you a fair bit - well done! Now you've just got to teach him to trust that it'll be OK when you're not there.

I'd do this in 'baby steps'. Eg. I'd teach him to load without you in there & stand untied - drive him in rather than lead. Then go 'away' - eg out of sight - but for only a second & get back there *before* he gets worried. Lots of repetitions at this, getting gradually longer 'away' as he becomes comfortable with easier 'steps'.

If/when he gets upset/comes out without your asking, I'd allow it, give him a second to 'recoup' and then send him back in again. I wouldn't try to prevent it or punish him for it, because it is a fear reaction & punishing him for being fearful will only give him more to be nervous about. I would wait until you're sure he's confident about everything before teaching him, with negative reinforcement(putting pressure on him outside, dropping that pressure when he is in) that he needs to stay there until you say.

I agree with the people that say don't baby him(or pet or reward) when he's worried either - horses learn by association & it's pointless for your 'nice' noises or gestures to be associated with his fear. I do think *appropriate & well timed* positive reinforcement is a very effective 'tool' though and I'd personally have a pocket of diced carrot or such, to give him a bit when he's *confidently* doing the Right thing. Just be aware of what you might be reinforcing, so it's best to avoid rewarding if you're not sure he is indeed confident.

Once your horse is *confidently* loading & standing with you out of sight, then I'd start 'tying' him - again, not firm, use a long lead wrapped over the rail, a Tie Ring or such. I use a rope long enough that I can loop it through the ring & hold it while outside & put/hold some forward pressure on when necessary. One of the behavioural principles of effective teaching is that when you add a 'criteria'(such as tying the horse), it's more effective to 'relax' other criteria(such as the time you're out of sight). Therefore I'd start out getting him comfortable standing tied in the same 'baby steps' as previously. Although the more of this sort of thing you do, the quicker it becomes & I wouldn't anticipate you'll have to spend long at this until your horse is confidently standing tied just as well as he was loose. I'd do the same with closing him in.

Anyway, this is the method I've used for years with full success, be that young horses who have never been trailered or ones that have had bad experiences. It sounds long-winded & it does tend to start out that way, esp if the horse hasn't learned beforehand to trust you, but once they learn that you are going to look after them & not force them into what they perceive as dangerous situations, then training comes along in leaps & bounds!
this sounds great, thanks so much for the reply it really sounds like a method he will respond to.
     
    06-27-2012, 03:23 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ringosmomma    
i don't know where you read that I leave him in the trailer or want to leav him in there for no reason?
I think they were referring to when you said you tie him and try to leave (as in leave the trailer). They probably thought you meant you tie him and leave the whole area lol. Just a little misunderstanding.

I disagree with the driving around part. There are four parts to trailering: Loading (getting in), Standing (staying in), Hauling (staying calm and still during the ride), and Unloading (getting out). His problem is standing, not hauling.

Teach him to get in by himself. Take a long line, like a 30ft lunge line, feed it through the window at the front of the trailer. Hold on to one end, and clip the other end to the horse. Stand at the mouth of the trailer with the horse and have him load himself. Every time he tries to back up, wave a buggy whip and pressure him forward. Don't hit him, don't scare him, just put pressure on him till he moves forward. Using pressure on the halter helps too. Once he feels that pressure release, he'll start to understand that staying in the trailer is easier than trying to back out of it (on his own terms).

Also, once he gets in, I mean as SOON as he gets in, just give him some slack. Work on getting him all the way to the front later. For now, once he gets all four feet in, let him stand there with no pressure on the halter. Then gradually ask him to move forward by tugging gently on the long line or clicking to him.

Keep in mind this will most likely affect how he perceives backing out of the trailer when it's actually time to unload. Don't make him think leaving the trailer is BAD because then you'll encounter issues when you really want him out. Teach him to unload slowly, calmly, etc.

Feeding in the trailer helps sometimes too. All in all, there are a lot of different ways to approach this. The main thing is keeping him calm, and not over-working him on the issue to where he's got more anxiety than when he started. Take lots of breaks.
     

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