Tips for trailer-ing a frightened horse? I guess my horse got in a super bad trailer accident before i owned him. I'm going on vacay with my parents to california for Spring Break and my friend said to bring him and his feed over to her house and she'll take care of him for the next couple weeks. Only problem is, he won't trailer! I've watched Clinton Anderson's trailering DVD so many times! Thing is, i get tired before my horse does! lol! Whenever i start to think we're making progress, we end up right where we started! Whenever i tack him up, i thought that tying him to the trailer might help his trailer phobia. Which, he seems to be completely OK with, it's only when he has to go inside it that he has a problem. I've been working on him with the trailer for the past few months, with little progress. HELP?
Tips for trailering a frightened horse? Don't do it, but desensitise them so they're not afraid. So, I get the idea you were hoping to do this very soon? (It's been Autumn here a couple of weeks...) In that case, I'd pack a picnic & walk your horse to your friend's.:wink:
Why do you think he must have been in an accident? Does he load & unload OK & it's just travelling him or such? If so, I'd be loading him up & asking him to stand there fore *gradually* longer, without & then with the tailgate up. Aim to do it gradually enough so you can ask him off before he feels the need. When he does, I'd just ask him straight back on, with quite persistence.
You need to make the trailer more comfortable. Horses are more comfortable when they are eating.
Put you horse and trailer in a small lot with no other feed than what you put in the trailer. Let him go in the trailer to eat. In the beginning you may need to put some hay on the floor of the trailer, just out of reach, if he is standing outside.
Don't worry he will not starve, it may take a day or 2, but he will start going in the trailer to eat. Keep plenty of fresh water available, and be patient. Don't cave and feed him outside.
Be darn sure and tie the door open so he will not get trapped in there until he is comfortable in the trailer. And make sure the trailer is secure, so it will not move when he goes in. Some trailers are so light they will come up in the front when a horse steps inside.
I highly disagree with the method of leaving the horse's food in the trailer. Not only it is possible that some horses will be so scared to go in the trailer that they WON'T eat, but even if they do go in the trailer, they are going in because they wanted to -- not because you have asked them to load. It teaches them nothing.
I have Clinton Anderson's trailer loading DVD as well. Love it because he explains things so well!
I've never not had a horse load using his method. And if you say YOU are getting tired, it suggests to me that you aren't doing something right. You shouldn't be getting tired because your feet should not be moving -- the horse's feet should be moving, but not yours.
Every time you do a session with him, how long does it last? You shouldn't be working on this more than 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Are you trying to get him all the way on the trailer each time? You shouldn't be. You need to start in baby steps.
Can you disengage your horse's hindquarters simply by glaring at them with your body language? If not, you need to get him more responsive to your ground work FIRST before you try to put the trailer into the equation.
Can you lunge the horse both ways, and easily make frequent direction changes? If not, get that working first.
Can you get your horse to back up simply by jiggling the leadrope? If not, you guessed it, work on that first.
Once you have that mastered, then we can try to do some work around the trailer. Can you work by the open trailer door, and just SEND HIM back and forth between you and the trailer? Do not ask him to load. Just ask him to move his feet as you ask, with the trailer "just happening" to be nearby.
You can also stand at the open trailer door, and ask your horse to lunge from one side of the trailer, to the other, around the back (like in a half circle). Again, you aren't asking him to go on the trailer, you are just simply asking him to lunge with the trailer "just happening" to be nearby.
Any time your horse wants to stop and sniff or investgate the trailer, LET HIM. It is a good thing for him to be curious about the trailer.
When you finally get to the point where you can ask him to load PARTIALLY, you are only going to do one foot at a time. Once he gets a foot in the trailer, change your mind. Ask him to back off. Then change your mind. Ask him to put a foot in again. THen change your mind, Ask him to back off. This is the "pressure and retreat" method. Eventually, your horse will WANT to put that one foot on the trailer because you are making no big deal of it.
Again, make your sessions no longer than 10-15 minutes and never make it your goal to get him ON the trailer, until you are actually ready.
When you can load one foot, you will eventually ask for 2 feet in the trailer, then ask him to back off. Two feet on, then back off. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Or maybe he'll have a bad day. Horses have bad days too. If you need to regress to going with one 1 foot on the trailer, that's okay! Just make it a positive lesson with what you can work with.
Always make sure he is square to the trailer. If his hips go crooked, that's where you are going to use your earlier skills to "glare" at the offending hindquarters, ask him to move it, and straighten out. That's why you can't skip the beginning ground work steps -- you need to be able to control his body.
I have that DVD, beau159 and it worked wonders with my gelding! You gotta make the trailer the BEST place to be and the outside the most tiring place to be.
What do you do when youre trying to load him? If youre getting tired, its wayyy too much effort on your part.
I can get even the most stubborn horse inside the trailer with me in 10-15 minutes, and i just stand inside the trailer, and tug the lead every once in a while-- it sounds weird, but i like to get in, and go out of the trailer a few times to show the horse its fine, then do a few circles in front of the trailer-- theyre all different, but the ones ive tried to load would just get in with me.. after doing it this way, of course..
My names Victoria...We had several horses who hated trailers, lorries basically anything that required them to enter for travel. Unfortunately this method may not suit your situation because you need a quick solution. But we towed our old trailer out into the paddock and fed the nervous horses in the trailer, basically put their feed buckets in the trailer everyday. At first they just scout around the trailer looking at the feed bucket and they can smell their food there... we didnt interfere at all just left them to it and sure enough they would walk up the ramp and feed. Put the bucket right on the opening to start with and gradually everyday move it in further for our most nervous horse it took 3 weeks of feeding him everyday in the trailer. But im telling you after the 3 weeks he literally ran in the trailer to go away, no problem at all.
With regards to loading when you have no time, I found when I had 3 people it worked better than just me some people may disagree, but I felt that when we outnumbered him he felt after a while that he had no choice.. I know it sounds harsh. I also found that the few times we had around 6 people and did exactly this it worked. I lunged him off but pretty strong, I chased him down and got him to join up with me I did this twice to ensure that I had him joined with me as part of his herd and that he saw me as alpha to him... I then led him and three colleagues in front of him who had also been on the outside of the lunge pen as though I was the alpha or matriarch and I was leading the herd. Two stood at the back of the trailer one each side with lung lines clipped to the trailer to reduce the possibilities, we had the front ramp laid down wide open so you had a clear view through the trailer I walked firmly and confidently (he was on a very long loose line) almost so he didnt realise he was still on the line but followed me anyway because in his mind he was still joined up with me I walked up the ramp two of my three colleagues behind me with the heads lowered followed me with the third colleague behind we all walked through the trailer and out the front he walked straight on trusting that the entire "herd" had got on... It worked. It may not always work but they key was the lunge before. Dont over lunge though you dont want him sweaty for travel.
I hope there is a couple of idea that may be of use, horses are like people we are all different and what works with one may not work with another.
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I provide hay for my horses in the trailer too. I feel it keeps them occupied while being hauled. However, that has nothing to do with them hopping on the trailer. They'd hop on if there wasn't hay in there for them. I'll also often give them a few mouthfulls of oats before I close my trailer windows up (I have a 3 horse slant load) as a treat. But they aren't loading into the trailer because they get a treat. They load into the trailer because they respect me and I asked them to load. The oats is just a nice icing on the cake for them.
Clinton talks about the method of putting a horse's food in the trailer in a corral to "teach" them to load, and I agree with his thoughts on that --> it does not "teach" them anything regarding listening to their handler. I've just heard too many people complain "Well my horse will go on the trailer and eat by himself, but I can't get him to load." and it's because you are indeed not working on ground manners simply by providing food or treats in the trailer. Because if the horse isn't hungry, you are SOL to get them on the trailer.
But certainly: Agree to disagree. There's a lot of opinions on trailer loading and its been discussed many a times on the forum.
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