Have you ever been mistaken?
Well I had a disapointing and frustrating day yesterday, sorry this is long. Have you ever thought you had taught a horse something only to find you were badly mistaken? Or thought you had no respect/trust issues and then found out you did?
My happy little bubble was burst yesterday when I went to load my 3 yo twh gelding for the first time. I have been doing groundwork with him and I thought we were doing very well. He will be going to a professional trainer soon for saddle training so I decided to introduce him to the trailer thinking it would be no big deal. Wrong. He walks up to the trailer fine but stops just short of stepping onto it. So I give him the go forward signal (I point in the direction I want him to go and cluck, if I need to I usually give a tap on the rear end) but no go. He swings his hindquarters off to the side so that he is facing me not the entrance to the trailer and plants his feet. I have never had this problem before, my other horse I taught to load does fine, I just point to the trailer and in he goes.
Obviously he does not respect or trust me enough to go in, I'm not blaming him I'm mostly just disapointed that I was so wrong about what I felt we could do. I have walked him on things that made noise before (bridges, tarps, concrete pads) and he did not hesitate so I am thinking that the fact that it is enclosed is what is making him leery.
Should I go back to doing more of the very basics (giving to pressure, backing up, etc) or should I start working on taking him in smaller and smaller spaces so that we build up the trust/confidence to get in the trailer? Thinking back now I realize that he does tend to rush through tight spaces like the alleyways near the barn. I'm really down/frustrated right now so I think someone elses point of view may help if anyone has advice.
My coming 3yo (will be three on 5/7) saw the interior of a trailer a couple of months ago for the first time since he was a weanling. He was apprehensive, but we had already loaded my friend's 16yo gelding while my gelding watched. I led him up to the trailer and handed the lead rope through to my friend. She put gentle pressure on the halter and I stood off to Aires' side (more toward his butt, though, so I could put my arm out to "drive" him forward) and clucked to him. We *almost* got him in. The only issue was that my friend's trailer was parked straddling a ditch and Aires couldn't figure out to lift his big ol' feet high enough to actually get them up onto the trailer floor.
So, maybe try loading your other horse first while your young one watches. That way he sees that the trailer isn't going to eat him.
Don't be so hard on yourself. A lot of horses are bad loaders. My mare will go into a large gooseneck just fine (the kind I can't afford) - but refuses a smaller straight load. We have used what I call a "butt rope" that loops around her HQ and goes through the halter ring and is held with your lead to add gentle pressure and encourage them to move forward. I would also make sure the trailer is as open as possible, any door or hatch you can safely open to make it not so confined.
I've also seen Clinton Anderson do lunging exercises to encourage a horse to load. I've been told it works - but have no personal experience using it.
Don't be so hard on yourself...
He's a horse...He's designed to knock you down a few pegs when your getting too confident. :rofl:
I did mistakes all the time when I started. It's a part of the learning curve. The best you can do is to admit you made one, think through it (what was wrong, why, and how to fix it), and not make one next time. :wink:
BTW, I had similar issue with my paint in past. So I called the trainer. He worked her HARD next to it, so trailer was the only place to relax. And she did eventually. :-)
Maybe that's my problem with this horse, he has never done anything to challenge me. Usually he just goes along with whatever I say with no fuss so his completely refusing to do something is just been a bit of a shock.
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Not respecting you has nothing to do with not going in the trailer it is a new thing to him you have to work with him going in. Its like saying i have been trailriding my horse in fields and he listens to me but he wont go across water on the first try, i need to go work with him in the field more. NO work with him on that water till he gets it.
don't be hard on yourself... i have an arabian i was doing the same thing as you were when i first got him in november..ground work working on trust etc etc.. i made the mistake of assuming since he loaded so well at the auction house he had no issues with trailers... and when i went to go load him ot meet some friends at the trail that is the day i learned he was not ready lol.. so no hard feelings on yourself!!!
i wouldn't rush it either with my arab the more i tried forcing him the worse he got and when i gave up and just sat in the trailer practically crying within 2 hours he walked in to come find me on his own.. haven't had a problem loading him since :)
Yeah, I agree, don't be hard on yourself. Work him hard outside the trailer and let him rest in it or halfway in, then back him out again. Do it over and over again till he is searching for the rest spot inside the trailer.
I had to do lots of revision re trailer loading with my Arab recently. I practiced trailer loading with my big Andalusian whom was going to my daughter for her to break in. He was doing fine, but I realized I didn't want to get the young horse loaded and then have issues with my more experienced horse. So, we did lots of practice. It was just a great training exercise. One thing, allow plenty of time. Going out to load with a tight schedule is counterproductive, the horses feel the tension of having to be loaded and go.
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