Ok so my 2 year old has a bit of a trailering issue! She walks in just fine and is seemingly calm. She just munchs away like she doesnt have a care in the world. We're still kinda workin on the backin off a step up trailer but she'll back down a ramp great. Anyways back to my problem! She's been trailered alot, back in forth to my place n the stables i work at, to horse shows etc. But while shes in there she constantly kicks the wall! I've tried several differant shipping boots and no shipping boots just leg wraps. She's used to having her back legs wrapped and the boots dont seem to bother her outside of the trailer! She does it with or with out horses next to her! Im worried she is going to damage the horse trailer or even worse break her leg! I mean she kicks it hard and has left small dents. I try to always take her in a trailer with padded walls but still! We had a horse leave our stable just to go a few miles down the road n the horse pitched a fit and ended up breaking his own leg kicking the trailer so this kinda freaks me out. If you guys have any tips to get her to stop or suggestions why she may be doing this that would be awesome! Has anyone else had this problem and if so how'd you stop it?
This sounds like a troubling problem. I've had many horses over the years, and some would kick, but not that hard or consistently. Its usually an issue of them wanting out or being frustrated by being confined in such a small space and having to stand there. In other words, they are bored and want to move around.
Does she stomp or kick when you have her tied outside for long periods of time? If this is the case I believe she gets impatient with being tied, because she can't go where she wants or do what she wants to do. If this is the case, I'd recommend tying her (to a fence, exterior of the trailer, etc) somewhere where she won't hurt herself from kicking or stomping. A tree might be one of the safest bets since its circular, instead of a long flat object like a fence directly in front of her which she can strike. Leave her tied for a couple of hours at a time, with a hay bag so she at least has something to do, and make sure to keep an eye on her while you do something else (yard work, cleaning the paddock, whatever) so you can make sure she doesn't hurt herself. If she is forced to stand tied she'll eventually get used to it and should stop the behavior. Its just like a big temper tantrum.
Another question is, do you have feed inside the trailer when she is travelling, or just before you head out? If you do have feed in when travelling, do you notice it is gone by the time you arrive at your destination? She could be fine while she is eating because her mind is occupied, but as soon as the food is gone she is bored and impatient to get out to relieve her boredom. A hay bag is always a nice choice because it takes the horse longer to eat it all as they have to pull the hay out a little at a time.
If she still won't discontinue the behavior, then installing rubber siding within the trailer may absorb some of the concussion of her kicking. My trailer has rubber screwed to the walls from the horse's chest down. This came with the trailer as a safety measure for kickers. The shipping boots are a good idea if you are really afraid of her hurting her legs.
You may also have her stand in the trailer when it is stationary for long periods of time, and reprimand her every time she exhibits the behavior, unless its an action caused by fear. If while watching her she seems frightened to be stuck in the trailer for so long (it may be the PROLONGED confinement that frightens her, not the initial confinement), then you should take her in and out, leaving her inside for longer periods of time until she is comfortable with standing quietly.
Hope this helps!
She's pretty good about standing tied for long periods of time, but if theres a lot of stuff going on at once (she's kept at a fairly busy lesson facility so it can get hectic!)she will start to paw the cement. So I suppose its very possible that the trailering is about the same, theres just so much going on at once that shes getting anxious and possibly frustrated. But she doesn't ever seem to be nervous or anything like that, she always seems pretty calm in there. I can't think of a time that shes ever had an empty hay bag by the time we get or a show or something. She's usually in no hurry to eat her hay. I could see where it would be a boredom thing as she usually walks her hay in and is often on the move while shes munchin on it. Maybe I should try hidin goodies in her hay bag to give her something to think about?!?! Thanks a ton for your suggestions, it was very helpful!
Hobbles might work for you, but dont use them in the trailer until your horse is used to them just standing around with you. A good safe pair of hobbles are excellent for training a horse to stand still. But you must train the animal how to wear them, preferably in a soft footing arena with lots of space in case it lies down. Check out how to use hobbles on the internet. Good luck!
I wouldn't use hobbles in a trailer, as your horse is going to need to balance. If something should happen and you take a corner to swiftly and she needs to move her back end/spread her legs wide or something, those hobbles will get in the way.
I think I'd still drive behind her and see just where the problem begins.
Here's something else I forgot to ask; what type of trailer have you got? Straight load? Slant load? Is there a divider? And if so, does it reach all the way to the ground?
I had a gelding years ago who couldn't get his balance in the straight load, and it was an older trailer that also had a full divider. We followed behind one day and saw that he'd brace his left hip against the trailer while scrambling up the divider that was to his right with his hind legs. Didn't matter how slow we went, by the time we reached the end of the driveway with him he was scrambling all over the place in an attempt to get his footing.
I think seeing what's happening is going to be key to finding a solution.
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