Started training now horse won't load in trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Started training now horse won't load in trailer

I have a 4.5 yr old Arabian gelding that has been trailered many times. Recently, we started taking him to a training facility where he is being started under saddle. The first week of training he loaded fine. At week two, he became slightly hesitant. Before we start week three, we thought it would be good for him if we took a couple of days to just load in the trailer and go to a fun place where he could graze and run. But when we tried to load him today, he refused to get in the trailer.

We tried treats, and other means such as rest/work, but nothing worked. Tomorrow we will take the whole day to work on this because he has a full week of training sessions.

We are very careful slow drivers so he's had no bad experience there. I'm fairly confident that he's associating the trailer with his training.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 11:24 PM
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My new mare, Daisy, had a 10 hour ride to get to Colorado 3 weeks ago, then the next day had a 1.5 hour ride to my house. I went to load her today, and she wasnt having any of it... but that isn't an option, as she will be my show mare.

So we asked her nicely, let her think about it... then we backed her hard. Walked her to trailer. Stopped her at the trailer. Backed her. Walked her to trailer. Stopped. Repeated several times. Asked her again and she refused, so we backed her hard and lunged her tightly for 5 minutes then took her right back to the trailer and asked again. She still refused so I went to plan B. Broke out the lunge whip and smacked at her heels until she decided the only safe place was in the trailer. She jumped in.

Went to my lesson, worked her butt, and on the way home she hesitated only slightly before hopping in.

So my advice is ask nicely, then keep upping the pressure until they get in... it seems if they figure out that they can refuse they will keep refusing, so you have to ensure that once you decide they are getting in - you can't stop until they get in.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 11:43 PM
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I agree with Ace, ask and increase the pressure. I don't know how long you worked him outside the trailer but normally that does work. Some horses take a lot longer than others to get the message about work outside, rest inside.....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies. We worked him outside the trailer for about two hours until the weather forced us to stop. He learned how to plant himself sideways making a straight walk in, impossible.
Tomorrow the pressure will increase and he will get in that trailer.

This is my dream boy and I waited what seems a lifetime for him so we will overcome.
: )
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 12:31 AM
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I would bring him to the trailer, take a lariat rope and place it as a butt rope on him. Try to make him load, if he won't, pull the but rope and it will become uncomfortable for him. With a but rope, he can move sideways, it works, I've fixed dozens of almost impossible to load horses with it when everything else failed.

~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 12:32 AM
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Oops, I meant he can't move sideways.

~Started young horses in Bosca te Ador, unto the two rein the old Spanish spade, brought them along with two hands that were gentle. Some fine reining horses as ever were made~
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 01:25 AM
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does he know how to send back and forth from side to side? You stand at the end of the trailer by the door and send him to the right and then back to the left? Sounds like he's pretty stubborn LOL
Do a search on Youtube for Clinton Anderson, he has a video of hard to load horses and I think there is one on there...
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Thunderspark View Post
does he know how to send back and forth from side to side? You stand at the end of the trailer by the door and send him to the right and then back to the left? Sounds like he's pretty stubborn LOL
Do a search on Youtube for Clinton Anderson, he has a video of hard to load horses and I think there is one on there...
Stubborn, for sure. After a certain point he just closed his eyes and tolerated the tapping. I think he was praying for rain LOL! We've not had loading issues prior to the new training sessions but we did see that CA loading video. We will be more assertive tomorrow.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 01:54 AM
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good luck and let us know how it goes.....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 11:22 PM
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I always feed my horses some sweet feed or hand treats after they get in the trailer. It seems to sort of "grease the skids" a little. I always make sure they have some fresh hay to munch on en route. The act of munching helps calm them and use up nervous energy. I sometimes brush a horse in the trailer during trailer training. Those things help them not hate the trailer.

Make sure there isn't something in the trailer that's hurting him, like a screw sticking out of the side or a loose rivet poking him, and that the floor is solid. Also, I've seen a horse get that way from riding in a trailer that had no springs. The axle was mounted solid to the frame and the ride was so rough and loud that the horse was beat to death riding in it (not literally).

Also, watch the temperature. Cold doesn't bother them so much as heat, but I've seen horses get way overheated while standing in a trailer that was not moving. Obviously not a problem this time of year. Just thought I'd toss that in there.

It's odd to me that he gets worse every time. A horse that will not trailer is pretty useless in my book.
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