Trailering--Help?? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-15-2012, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
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Over the years here are the things that have worked most consistently for me across a number of horses.
- For a straight load, park next to a building or a fence/panel so that when the back door is open, you have a 'chute'. This prevents horses from trying to 'escape' around the sides of the trailer.
- Put some bedding material on the floor. I've found that even for horses that are never stalled, many find a floor with bedding (pine shavings/straw/etc) more 'inviting' than just black trailer mats.
- No rewards for anything less than completely loading. These critters are very smart when it comes to food. Years ago, I tried the reward for loading half way and it took our mare, Lady, 2 minutes to figure out her strategy... half load, get treat, back out, half load, get treat,.... I think you get the picture.
- The longer you let them think about it, the longer and harder it will be. You want to walk them right in just like you are leading anywhere else. A horse that stops for more than a couple seconds gets wacked with a straw broom on the butt.
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post #12 of 21 Old 06-15-2012, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Posts: 473
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I used the feed in the trailer technique for my paint mare and it helped a lot. Just make sure all wires and anything 'chewable' are covered. My mare was afraid of the hollow sound of her hooves on the ramp but her stomach won out pretty quickly! Lol
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post #13 of 21 Old 06-15-2012, 01:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Alabama,USA
Posts: 3,909
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The whole "lunge them outside the trailer and let them rest inside the trailer" is a HUGE no-go for my girl. It makes things 10 times worse, instead. Any sort of "force" would cause her to shut down.

Sunny eats on the trailer(when I have time) and we also practice a lot of loading with treats. Some may not like this, but I could care less. It works for my girl who had a bad trailer experience.

Food = positive reinforcement. By feeding her in the trailer she associates the trailer with food. WHENEVER I have to load her I give her food. However, I don't let her "know" I have it until she's in, she just assumes I do. She gets the snack once she's in. This way, if there is ever an emergency where she has to load and I don't have food, I know she'll load because she THINKS I do.

My girl went from flipping over backwards when you walked her towards a trailer to quietly loading with minimal hesitation. We actually went on an off-property trail ride yesterday and she loaded like a champ.

This is what worked for me and my particular horse.
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Last edited by Sunny; 06-15-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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post #14 of 21 Old 06-15-2012, 01:20 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: middle of nowhere
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Question, when you unload from the slant do they come out backward or forward? If you are leading them out of the slant, I think the issue may be unloading not loading. If so just work on backing, put them in the slant but make them back out.

My Vet and Farrier are currently splitting my childeren's inheritance.
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post #15 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: The Beaver State
Posts: 203
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Whoo, ok!
Thanks guys! :)

Haven't been on in a while, be here's my update. I went to a 4-H meeting a week ago and had some experience horse friends help me. We (4 adults, 3 teens, including me) did the lunging idea with him. After 2 1/2 hours of lunging and refusals, it started getting dangerous. He almost hit my mom in the face when he reared at the opening of the trailer. One of my friends that was working with us (she's grown up with horses, I trust her) told me that she could tell by his body language that he wasn't scared, he was just being a little sh!t (excuse my language). We finally gave up and just loaded him in my friends slant load. Now we've put him in his own little pen and have started feeding him in the trailer in hopes that he'll think of it as a "good place."

I have to get him used to this trailer, because we're moving soon and have to be able to transport him ourselves. He has loaded 2 or 3 times in this trailer with no problem. At the moment, we can't afford a new trailer.... He's going to have to learn to load in it :/

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post #16 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: The Beaver State
Posts: 203
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Originally Posted by longshot View Post
Question, when you unload from the slant do they come out backward or forward? If you are leading them out of the slant, I think the issue may be unloading not loading. If so just work on backing, put them in the slant but make them back out.
He unloads backwards, but I've really had no problem with unloading him. When he starts to back up, I just say "down" when he gets to the step, and he knows to step down. He's done this many times, and is perfectly comfortable with it.

Fléctere si néqueo súperos Acheronta movebo
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post #17 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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The straight haul configuration distresses this horse, the more he rides in it, the more it sores him, eventually if he is anything like my mare I had, he will go down in it. Switch to a slant or stock, which he loads in (clue!) and everyone is happy. Funny how peops never ride in a saddle which sores a horse but they will force them in a trailer which the horse is clearly telling you, hurts him. After you make the switch & you haul him to an event, he will go better as he will not be distressed & bodysore. I say this from 30 years of loading & hauling horses, I had to bite the bullet & sell the handy dandy 2 horse I loved pulling & got a stock. Sold the straight haul to my friend, her horses loaded & hauled fine in it, different horses, different body shapes.
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post #18 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Not to hijack this post but my horse loads perfectly fine but when I close the door he is trying will all his might trying to get back out, like a bat out of hell. Should I just let him do it till he clams down and then let him out? btw I have a 2 horse straight.

Sorry for hijacking.
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post #19 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: The Beaver State
Posts: 203
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Ok I don't mean to be rude but

JSMidnight-why don't you just post a new post? I don't appreciate that at all, and you can just do a new post, which will get more attention I think. Please don't hijack my posts.

Waresbear-if you read my recent post, you'd see that I can't afford a slant load. I would appreciate advice any advice you have to loading in a straight load, and thank you for telling me that, but I have to work with what I have at the moment.

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post #20 of 21 Old 06-22-2012, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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The first thing that jumps out at me is that at first he loaded. Then, he stopped wanting to go in.

I have seen this the most when people drive too roughly with a horse in a straight load. When a horse is in a slant load, they can hold their balance much better because their right front foot is out there to balance on. If you haul horses in an open stock trailer, they will stand that way any time they are tied with their heads at the front. If they are untied, they will usually haul standing backwards.

When a horse is hauled in a straight load, you MUST drive around corners and curves MUCH slower and more carefully that when pulling a stock or slant trailer. If the divider goes all of the way to the floor, it should be cut off, replaced with a padded pipe or swung to one side so the horse can stand with a wider stance and keep his balance better. Horses liking the divider swung over usually has more to do with standing wider than loading. This alone makes most horses happier in a straight load.

Also, when hauling, you can slow down, or speed up or carefully go around a curve, but you can combine braking and taking a curve at the same time. Slow down and /or use your brakes BEFORE the curve and then keep a steady speed going around it. You must slow down to a much slower speed if you approach an S curve. The horse will be balanced for the first part of the curve and will not be able to switch to the other direction very well so you have to go slower. If you haul horses too roughly very much, you will end up with a 'climber', 'leaner' or 'scrambler' that tries to climb or lean on one of the walls of the trailer. This is a real hard vice to ever cure. I have seen several horses back in the 60s (when only straight loads were around) that had open sores exposing their hip bones from leaning so severely.

Secondly -- If a horse leads properly -- not just follows when it wants to -- IT WILL LOAD! I have trained horses to load for 45 or 50 years now (and they continue to load if they are not hauled too roughly) by 'fixing' the leading problem.

I use a 'draw halter' or a lip string and apply 'light ' pressure until the horse takes a step forward and then instantly release the pressure after each step. I have never had it fail and that is with flippers, horses that have 'struck out at' and hurt people and horses that have tried to 'self-destruct'.

When I get time (I have to get a set of trail horses ready to ride this morning (and also on Saturday and Sunday) I will put together a post on exactly how I do it. The key is to apply 'light' pressure and not let the horse get reactive and 'on the fight'. It works every time for me and for others that learn to keep their temper under control and never yank or jerk the lead but simply use 'pressure and release' in a very calm and light manner.

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