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Anxiety while loading horses...
I try not to say this because I feel like a wuss, but here's my problem.
I have a huge anxiety about getting in the trailer with a horse. Even calm horses like my mare. I had a really big accident involving a normally calm horse pulling back and jumping ontop of me a year and a half ago and since then I've just been really, really nervous. I won't tie a horse in right away, I will shut the divider and then get out and crawl onto the window to tie them from the outside because I'm scared they'll pull back, hit the end of the tie, and panic.
We also had an accident where a horse pulled back, got severely hurt, and had to be put down at a barrel race. She was tied in and the owner got out, only the horse pulled back before she could get the divider shut. I won't go into details but I watched the whole thing and it freaked me out.
Being someone who works with difficult horses a lot of the time, I do my best to power through this. I can still get my horses in the trailer but I'm nervous the whole time and I feel really bad about it. Ever since these things happened I used to never be scared.
I dunno. Just a little voicing of my thoughts I guess o.o
Many big time trainers suggest that you load your horse without getting into the trailer yourself, so it is possible to do so. I can understand that it's scary getting into an enclosed metal box with a 1,000 lb+ animal!
When I watch LOTR, I still cringe when the horse lays down next to Aragorn!! Please, PLEASE don't squish him!! He's too PRETTY!
You should look into online videos to help you to teach your horses to load themselves, and don't let anyone tell you that this is wrong. =D
Subbing to hear what people have to say because I have trailer anxiety yet nothing bad has happened except for my horse pulling back and snapping a rubber trailer tie. It was enough to freak me out, even though nothing horrible happened.
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Absolutely normal!!! You have a healthy respect and fear and have a healthy attitude towards horses and trailer safety. The best thing you can do is teach your horse to self load and pop that divider or butt bar up THEN reach in the man window and tie them. Sometimes I don't even tie......wear are they going to go?
I have never liked being in a trailer or any tight space with a horse......I do it if I absolutely have too, otherwise I work a way around getting myself in that predicament:wink:
This is why I have to have horses that will self load. Too many things can happen when you're in the trailer and there's no room to escape easily. If I need to be in there with a horse, I'm as fast as possible to get what I need done and then get out of there.
We had a couple horses who would load by themselves...But then we just kinda didn't. Selena is a great loader, but my Mom's mare Lexi has been in two (Yes, two) trailer accidents where the trailer has been hit and is very anxious in one. (For good reason!) So I refuse to get in the trailer with her, or if I do, I put her in the second slot and dart out the escape door. I'm not sure if I can get her to the point where she will self load...And I would still have to get in to do the divider, and butt bar too, the way my stock trailer is.
I had been playing with the idea of it with Selena...Thanks for the advice guys.
I don't tie them before I have the divider shut either. It just seems like an accident waiting to happen if they were to pack up, hit the end, hit their head...Ugh. I throw the lead rope out the window (slant load) and practice walking out with them standing so they know not to follow me out.
I hate loading into two horse straight loads or loading the last horse on a slant. I'm always afraid they are going to step back while tied and off the ledge and catch their leg under the bumper...
Oh, I also practice her being half in and half out of the trailer.
^ Yes, that.
I'm only almost 18, I have been lucky enough to have a two horse straight load given to me to pull behind my truck (It's a little truck), and I always put the horse in with food and a couple cookies up front, throw the lead rope out the window, and hop out to shut their butts in while they're happily munching....Just my own paranoia, give them incentive to stay in there. I don't really have a choice with that trailer.
I agree, I'm scared of them getting stuck under the trailer too. Even calm horses, anything can happen.
Sometimes Selena bothers me because while I am confident she won't pull back, she turns her head back to look at me when I shut the door or will stick her head ALLL the way out the window. She's tiny so she fits, but I worry about her getting stuck with her head backwards or hitting her head on the window pulling it back in before I can get it shut. :oops:
I'll add a litle something to the thread.
First get the wheels on the trailer ballanced. Most don't, and if you want to know why, just get into the trailer while it is being towed at highway speed. It shakes and rattles and the road noise is deafening. And we expect the horse to enjoy the experience.
Loading. I never lead a horse into the float its a recipe for distaster, and I never stand behind the horse either. I have been taught to load the horse from behind, while standing well out of the way. Train the horse to self load but first it has to be a good experience for the horse. Teach it that a trailer is its safe place and it will self load.
The two photos are one the young lady a parelli trainer teaching the horse and me to load. You will notice she stands at the left side of the float and the horse is loading on the right. Its a two horse float so there is some considerable distance between them. The other photo is me (not my best side) getting taught by the youngster how it should be done. The other thing is, don't be in the frame of mind the horse is going to back out, because it will. If it does just put it back in again. Once it learns its a safe place to be then close the bar. Once the horse is doing it the way you want, load and unload for 10 days so it gets it firmly into its head.
That's one thing I was lucky on my old gelding outlaw self loaded like a dream. Chrome on the other hand needs work with trailer loading.
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