Trailer Training - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Red face Trailer Training

For those of you who have been following me and my horse Andie on here, our training has been going very well. At the end of the season last Fall I got her to load into the trailer by myself ( I'm 16 I might add ) we had a small set back when we took her down the road in the trailer. Not knowing it was to long of a distance we ended up spooking her to the point she did not wish to load again.

This season she has done way better than I expected. Just two days ago was the first time we brought her out to the trailer again and she loaded right up! ( We keep the doors open for now). She is doing very well but It's obvious she's nervous standing in there even with her pasture pal, a 30 year old pony who is very calm.

What would be the best way to work her up to being able to stand with the doors closed? Right now she will step in and stand for a while before backing out. With in 30 seconds she steps in again and repeats- She's happy doing this routine but I'm not sure how she will react with the doors closed. Also, if we do get the chance to close the doors, should we latch it?



Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated! :)

"Even the greenest horse has something to teach the greatest rider."-Anonymous
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 02:37 PM
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What 'spooked' her?


If she gets in- id just clip her to the bunjee tie (or what ever you use to tie her) and take her for a ride around the block-- then let her out. No biggie.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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When we took her for a ride in the trailer last rime we went about a mile or so and turned around. I'm guessing it was the trailer it self moving because when we let her out she had been pulling at her tie and making a fuss.

So should we just tie her with the doors closed and take her for a drive the next time we work with her even if she fusses about it? - I've never trained a horse to load before so I wasn't sure what the best ' approach' was.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 02:50 PM
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What kind of trailer? Might make her more at ease to go untied.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of trailer? Might make her more at ease to go untied.
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It's just a 2 horse trailer- It's not a slant or anything just a straight load.

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post #6 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 03:15 PM
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I think your babying her too much. Your expecting behavior before it even happens which your horse will feel. If your anxious why would she be calm? Put her in the trailer tie her head if she stands tied and act like its not big deal. Give lots of praise when she gets in. If she gets a lil anxious let her fuss a lil bit as long as she's not having a complete and total meltdown she's fine. The more she rides she'll get used to it. Or borrow a seasoned horse who trailers great to show her she's just fine.
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Last edited by Peppy Barrel Racing; 03-31-2013 at 03:17 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Peppy Barrel Racing View Post
I think your babying her too much. Your expecting behavior before it even happens which your horse will feel. If your anxious why would she be calm? Put her in the trailer tie her head if she stands tied and act like its not big deal. Give lots of praise when she gets in. If she gets a lil anxious let her fuss a lil bit as long as she's not having a complete and total meltdown she's fine. The more she rides she'll get used to it. Or borrow a seasoned horse who trailers great to show her she's just fine.
Okay, I will keep that in mind. I've tried not to baby her like I used to when we first got her a few years ago. I'll try these things the next time I work with her.Thanks for the help!

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post #8 of 10 Old 03-31-2013, 04:49 PM
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Short trips are good to help her get used to movement - keep that up and try to use a smooth a road as possible to minimize shaking your horse. Also, some horses (especially when they are new to trailering) don't take well to standing around idly in a trailer for any length of time so it wouldn't hurt to take that into consideration when planning your trip.

With regard to closing her in, if you have a butt bar close that; when she becomes comfortable with that step then move onto the next - closing of the door. Leave her shut up for very short periods at first (we're talking progressing from seconds to a minute type of thing) then open it up and let her out again. By doing this you are getting her familiar with, as well as practising, the loading/unloading part of the trailering process. The more any of us (human or horse) practise, the better we get.


Some tips that have proven useful to me over the years:

> When travelling always try to accelerate slowly and brake slowly to minimize the risk of throwing your horse off balance.

> Remember to do corners slow and wide; do not accelerate until after the trailer has cleared the corner and straightened out (it's the balance thing again).

> The most important thing of all - it can and will prevent disaster: Loading the horse close the bar/gate/door first and then tie the horses head; Unloading the horse untie the head first then open the bar/gate/door.

Good luck and I think you're on the way to successful trailering.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-01-2013, 06:34 PM
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I had problems with my greenie when we fist started showing, and I can tell you

HANG IN THERE

It took forever to even get Bex to put a foot in! It gets way easier as you practice more and more.

What we did, a week or so before a show we had to trailer to, we fed him every meal INSIDE the trailer. Meaning, up at 7, feeding grain in the trailer once he is clipped and latched in. Lots and lots and LOTS of praise for getting in, and then his breakfast. Then at 5, repeat the process. Everyday! It took a lot of patience but now he loads like a dream and no more fights and no more nervous horses.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 08:20 AM
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Put horse in and go for drive. The more you are dragging this out, the more you are "training" her that all she is going to do is stand in there.

Trailer training should not take long at all. We work with one that is hesitant but when it loads? Off we go.

And horse needs to be tied, especially in straight load, as too easy to come up, slip back or pop head on trailer roof.

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