Why won't she load anymore!?!?
Last summer I taught my horse to load into the trailer before things got cold and we had to stop for the colder winter months. She has since loaded about a dozen times this Spring already and was doing fabulous!! As long as we put her pasture mate in first, she would step right in with out a problem and was as calm as could be.
She has not been hurt in any way getting into or out of the trailer the whole time we've loaded her. My mom drives carefully, easy braking, turns etc so it's as smooth of a ride as we can make it for her and her buddy.
But recently she has pretty much done a complete 360 on her progress and it's like she's never learned to trailer before. We will load her pasture mate in, and when it's time to load my horse, she will stop at least 15 feet away and refuse to go any further. She's rearing, refusing, backing and being plain stubborn. My question is why??? She was doing so well and now she's being incredibly stubborn and I don't have a clue to why or what caused her to be like this. It takes 3 people to get her in now and there is only two of us. My mom and myself so we're pretty much stuck/
It's to the point we..well, my mom, has called a trainer for help. We've both seen her (the trainer) work with a horse that acted almost the exact same way and successfully loaded it in a little under and hour with out being harsh or violent with the horse (not that a trainer should act harsh or violent towards a horse, but anyways.. ) I got to speak with this trainer as a seminar before and she's very soft spoken and sweet to both equine and people so I know she won't go beating on my horse or anything like that.
Speaking honestly I am very upset and frustrated about my horse's behavior just because I know that she knows how to load and has gotten away with not loading for the past 3 nights now. She is still kind of young (6 years old) but she was trailer loading like a champ. Is she just being stubborn or do you think it is/was something else??:?
I've seen horses who got kicked while in the trailer not want to go in at all after that. Maybe her buddy kicked her? Or something similar, that's what I would suspect
It's a thought, but my horse is the 'leader' of their little herd. Her pasture mate, my pony, is 30 years old and is more of a "I'll follow your lead" type- especially now that she's not as spunky.
When you load her and go somewhere are you hauling somewhere to ride? If so I'd bet she now associates the trailer with going to get worked and she would rather stay home and hang out. Just another thought :-)
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Having to load another horse first really isn't any different than bribing the horse with food to go in. What happens, especially since her "buddy" is getting up in age, when you don't have another horse to load first?
It could be that she relates the trailer with having to work. Do you unload her and put her right to work or do you let her settle a little first? Also, when you are done "working" her away from home, do you load her right away and head out? I know that sometimes we rush with little time we have. Plan on giving her a little relaxation time before and after. Also, you could give her a little feed before you head home, a reward for working.
It could also be her testing you to see if she really has to listen. Has any other small issues come about while leading or handling her. Are you letting any small misbehaviors to happen: nudging, pulling or such?
I think you are on the right track having someone help you. You really don't want her to load only when certain circumstances are met, meaning having her buddy in first.
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I agree with usandpets.
"It could also be her testing you to see if she really has to listen."
"Having to load another horse first really isn't any different than bribing the horse with food to go in."
"I think you are on the right track having someone help you. You really don't want her to load only when certain circumstances are met, meaning having her buddy in first."
These were the same things I was thinking as I was reading your post. Also, Not saying your mom is a bad driver, but we don't always know what goes on back there while we are driving. But mostly I think she is just testing you to see if you really really mean what you say. I think a trainer is a good idea. Let us know who it goes.
Horse has not done 360, that would be back at starting point, full circle.
Horse has done 180, meaning horse is opposite of what was.
I disagree with the whole concept of "horse equating trailer with work, give horse time to unwind, don't just load and go".
We load, ship and work horses all the time. People bring their horses to barn to work in arena and be fine tuned. And are loaded and hauled out when done.
With young horses that have not been trailered before, it may take longer. Maybe 30 minutes at most. With a spoiled horse? 3 hours as horse had been babied and petted to where it didn't think it had to do anything but what it wanted to do.
Does that same horse now load nicely? Yes. We got it back to barn, it was worked daily, not babied period, and after couple of months, show season going and she wasn't on show string, so no hurry, we hooked trailer up, pulled it out, got mare out and taught her to load nicely in maybe 30 minutes. And that was extent of it. Loads like a champ now.
I would imagine that this horse may have been spoiled over the winter months, and attitudes and behaviors that would have been view by some of us as challenging, have either been missed or ignored.
Horse, of course may have just been left out to eat off of round bales and not messed with much, you didn't say what your situation is?
But horse has your number, and mom's. Knows you all aren't the boss in other words. Horse is fine with whatever you want it to do IF it suits the horse's program that minute. If horse doesn't want to do something, as in this case? You will see exactly what you are seeing.
And horse will carry this over to everything else too, if you don't learn better horse handling skills. The fact that it is acting up that far from the trailer, 15 feet? Tells me horse isn't scared, horse is telling you it's boss.
And the whole concept of "oh, horse equates trailer with work" and "let horse unwind" is malarkey.
What's next in the mode of thinking? Standing at window to see if horse is equating being caught means work? Oh wait, that is being done elsewhere....maybe seeing if horse is giving off vibes that it would fancy a quick trip around the yard?
Horse knows you aren't going to be serious about it loading, and is showing you who is boss. And it is not you.
The things I would do, or Bob or Cherie for that matter, I hesitate to suggest, because without someone there that knows how to handle horses, it would probably be a disaster.
If this were my horse? And it KNEW how to load? I'd either drop loop over haunches to rest above hocks and tell horse to come up, tighten loop to make my point and load it.
Or if trailer configuration permitted? Run lunge line from halter through front window and back on outside of trailer to me, put steady pressure on it, and take a lash whip to hind end.
And no, you don't have to "beat horse like a cheap Sears rug", merely showing it to one is enough, and with others, a good pop works wonders.
Horses are very quick to figure out who they can buffalo.
I've only ridden her once after hauling her some where. And even then I made sure she had time to cool off after the ride before we tried to load her up. I don't let her nudge at all and she used to pull really bad when we bought her 2 1/2 years ago and I did a lot of groundwork with her. Whenever she does pull, which isn't very often, I make a point to correct her- make her back before moving forward again.
We purchased her through our farrier. She lived with her mother, little brother and a few other horses on a small Amish farm. The man said she was going to be trained to be a cart horse but didn't have time to train her- so she sat out in the pasture until she was about 4. Where she is now ( at my house), we live on 2 acres. She and our pony have and acre and a half, with a small barn they can walk in and out off. It's not big enough for stalls.
As for winter, I do not ride because I usually ride on our back acre but it gets very drifted and , obviously, covered in snow :P We make sure the horses have hay to eat when it's cold but we only give treats after a ride, or when we've finished working with them.
What is your destination each time you load? A horseshow? I suspect the destination is the problem which she is anticipating. Think of it from her perspective. She leaves her secure area and her herd member and goes to this new place with so much going on which is highly stressful to her.
We haven't taken her to any shows yet. So far, We've taken her to the fairgrounds to ride in the out door arena once and we were the only people there. And then a few other times we've just been taking her down the road 2 miles or so and turning around, coming back to the house. We haven't been able to take her to any shows yet because of the way she's acting.
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