Originally Posted by Countrygal892000 View Post
I had a horse that was 17 hands. When I was breaking her she absolutly refused to load. What we did was we put her in the round pen for a day with no water and no food. Then when we did lead her into the horse trailer we had set hay and a bucket of water in the horse trailer. (If you have a horse trailer that you open the door to the tack room and you can walk back and forth from the trailer door to the tack room door it helps a lot) open the tack door, it gives a horse an idea that its just a wall that its walking into. When/if the horse climbs in the trailer shut the back and tack door and leave it in the trailer for four or five hours... not tied just let him roam... Give him more food and water if he wants it... praise him... give him treats.. he needs to establish that the trailer is a good thing... just loading him and unloading him can be effective but letting him stand in it and get used to the smells and how it feels is a big importance. The horse I had was so tall that she couldn't raise her head quite all the way.. the first time we put her in the trailer she freaked and banged her head and she had a bad experience so she became trailer shy... we worked with her for a grand total of four days, like I stated above.. and she was fine with the trailer ever since...
For witholding food/water completely, I'll have to pass on that tactic. Partially because of the obvious, partially because this guy has been known to break through fences when he's penned without food. And at any rate, he has no problem being -in- the trailer. Once he gets all four feet up there, he'll stand quietly without a problem. Won't even try to back out, and I've caught him crawling into open trailers and laying down for a nap even. The fight is in getting him to get into the trailer when I ask him to.
He does usually hit his head on the cieling of the trailer, but only when he's refusing to step into it. While he's inside, he keeps his head low.
An idea that we sometimes used when we had a horse that would not load was to back the trailer up to a small hill so the base of the trailer was flush with the ground. This way, the horse did not have to step up and could just walk right in. I didn't read what type of trailer you have, but generally speaking it works better with a straight load.
We've actually tried this, more under the impression that he'd be going downhill, and so we'd have a bit more momentum behind him. And yet, he came to a dead halt two paces from the edge of the trailer and practically sat down in his attempt to not enter the trailer.
I've worked with quite a few horses that don't load. A friend of mine bought two Arabs at an auction awhile back, and it took us about three hours to load them both. She had a small-ish straight load but definitely big enough for the 14 hh horses. The mare only took about twenty minutes, but the gelding just refused. We had two guys with two lead ropes that had threaded the line through the window in the back and used the leverage to stop him from pulling back [that's how the mare went in] and we had another lead rope running around his bum. None of that worked. Two and a half hours later, after everyone was thoroughly exhausted, we blindfolded him and walked him right in.
I've really never thought of blindfolding... but how would the horse know to step up? I know I desensitized him to being blindfolded a long time ago, so I don't worry about him getting upset, but I remember him throwing the biggest fit the first attempt. This horse was totally comfortable with it though? Must've been a pretty level headed little mare.