I've been having a lot of trouble loading my horse into our straight load trailer, and need some advice/training tips for how to help me and him make this a better situation and train him to load properly.
We have had our straight load for about three months now, and he's loaded in it fine the first two times. Two weeks ago, I took him down to the arena, not too far away from were we board. It took about a half hour and lots of coaxing and grain to get him in the trailer (I know that's a no-no, but I didn't know that at that time). It seemed like he had trouble putting his feet up into the trailer, but I'm not sure if he's really having trouble or if he's just messing with me. After going through all that trouble, I looked up some tips about trailering horses. Last night I had to take him to a 4-H meeting, so I tried lounging him a bit around the back of the trailer (I've read that calms them down?) and he still wouldn't load. After about 45 mins, I finally gave up and had my friend trailer him to the meeting in their slant load. He did fine in the slant load, but he still wont load in my straight load.
I really need some advice, if you have anything to say. I have to teach him to load by himself, because when we move I have to be able to transport him. Is he just buffaloing me, or does he really have a problem?
Have tried removing the center divider in your straight load? Maybe try taking that out and work on getting him in and out of the trailer that way. Get him comfortable in your trailer before adding the divider back in.
The idea of lunging him outside the trailer is not to calm him. It is to teach him that inside the trailer is a resting place. Outside is the working place.
Work him a little away from the trailer and let him rest next to the trailer. Slowly get closer to the trailer when working him and try to get him to go in to rest. If he backs out or away, put him to work right away. Then back in the trailer to rest. Soon he will load easily.
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I'm not sure if you have constant access to the trailer, but if you feed him, then I'd start feeding him inside the trailer. If he's uncomfortable with this at first, then do it near the trailer and gradually get closer to it, feeding him off the ramp, and the moving inside after he's comfortable with that. I had a lot of problems with my first horse and loading so this is what I did and she came around and accepted it quite happily after realizing that it wasn't going to eat her.
That's just how I'd do it, every horse is different though, so what worked for mine mightn't work for yours
I know I shared this vid on another post, but it's the result of doing what I said in my other post:
Loading a horse - YouTube
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By any chance, does your straight load trailer have hay mangers?
My friend had a similar problem with her TB. Make sure the divider in the middle is open, so your horse feels they have enough space.
The best advice I can give you is be patient and give it TIME.
It took 2 hours of practice to get my friend's horse in the trailer.
1) First get her used to the trailer, take her around it, let her smell it.
2) Bring treats!
3) Progress may be slow, and it may take a few days of work, but remember to be patient.
4) Try putting the trailer right by the opening of the barn, so the horse thinks it is a continuation of the barn.
5) Slowly lead her upward, try bringing a crop.
I hope this helps--good luck!
not sure if this might help... but my new arabian is tricky to load but when he has his diva ways met he loads like a dream.
he has to load first into my two horse straight load trailer. i tie the divider end by the loading door to the left side leaving the whole right side with a big opening.
i have the door itself open so its like a chute the horse has to walk thru. then i walk in infront of him and open the chest bar so i am not in his space of the trailer. put a little pressure on the lead for him to come forward and he will take a few steps in a prance as to fight me and then jumps right in... he will stop right in front of me so i can hook the chestbar back up then give him a treat. then walk down the side where the other horse would be and untie the divider . close it slowly so it is back to the center and then put the buttbar up.
once he is in he settles but he likes to be a butt..lol
i leave all front doors open for lighting, take out all haynets etc to make it look bigger, open top air vents, and side windows. once he is in i put the haynets up and he starts munching right away.
the big thing is to make that trailer not look so small lol :p good luck
Make sure your timing/finesse is right with the trailer loading. I see so many people that have the timing of forward aids down incorrectly. They will tap the horse with the whip when it's moving forward and not when it's backing up, etc. You should only use the aid to get your horse to move forward, and back off when they do. Not loading in the trailer is really just ignoring the aid to move forward.
That said, I usually have to load my mare alone or with other people standing well away. There has been too many times a "helper" has wanted to whack her or what not, so if she sees someone walking up to her while I'm loading, she gets nervous and it turns it into a big deal. When I first got my ramp she was unsure about it, but now she practically trots up the ramp :)
Also, how's your driving? If a horse gets jostled a lot in the trailer, they won't want to get in again. Make sure you are accelerating and braking slowly, and being caution/slow on your turns. Also make sure it is cool enough back there, trailers heat up significantly when you put a horse in them, open all your windows to the max, etc and put a flymask on if you have to (for blowing shavings, hay and what not).
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