Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
I've been working on loading my mare into a two horse trailer lately. Two days ago, she would get in and out very well… she only had a bit of trouble/panic backing out, because it's a step-up trailer and is a little higher than most trailers, but she did it fine. My cousins were helping me, and at first we had to tap her on the bum to get her to step up, but by then end of our session, Gypsie was loading by herself just fine.
I left her alone yesterday and got her and Dakota back out today to load them again. Whereas two days ago they both loaded fine, it took about fifteen minutes to get Dakota in the trailer today (it wasn't too hard, he just kept chickening out on the step up… but he finally got in fine).
Gypsie, on the other hand… at first, she refused to get within twenty feet of our trailer. I had Dakota tied inside it and he was fine, so I just left him inside. Using feed as a bribe, I got her close enough that I could tie Gyps to the side of the trailer, but when it came to loading, she'd lock her legs, jerk her head, roll her eyes, and then fly backwards.
I got so annoyed with her… I finally had to grab a lunge line and whip and lunge her behind the trailer. I worked the snot outta her and let her rest beside the trailer and after a while she caught on that "Trailer = Rest Zone"… and she got to where she'd stop there and rest.
But she still wouldn't load.
So I had to work her more. When she wanted to stop again, I made he keep going and let her stop on my terms beside the trailer, and she got to rest when she got a little closer to it. Finally she started stepping up into the trailer, but would back off very quickly.
We worked some more.
I had to lunge her for about an hour and a half total at a trot before she finally got in the trailer. She was dripping sweat and breathing so hard, but she finally got in. I still had to push her, though… I had to keep pressure at her with the whip to get to her to go in (I had to pop her on the bum several times at a steady pace with the whip… I wasn't using a lunge whip, but a smaller riding crop).
After she got inside the trailer, I tied her like I had Dakota (poor boy stood inside the trailer the entire time I was trying to get Gypsie in) and left them in there for about fifteen minutes while I got a little feed for them (I left them there to enhance the idea that "Trailer = Rest Zone").
Upon unloading, they both got a little bit of feed and I let them go. After all the trouble it was to get Gypsie into the trailer, I figured that might be best, since she did get in it in the end…
Did I do the right thing? Am I doing the right thing?
For the record, all of my horses will load in a 4-horse stock trailer just fine… and I haven't even started working with Jaxxon on loading into the two horse trailer… that's going to be fun when I do, though… he's terrified of it…
Really though, right now I'm focusing on my mare… so… help!?
Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (1994 TWH mare), Dakota (2006 TWH gelding), Jo (2012 TWH filly) & Minnie (1992 Paint mare)