training my horse to get on a trailer
My eight year old mare has had three trailer injuries before i got her. I knew this but hope thru patience i could regain her confidence in loading. no such luck-- any and all advice is welcome
my mare had a very nasty first time trailer incedent at the hands of my sister in law and her husband who thought they knew every thing.......they ended up knocking abby out cold flat on her side, tried to drag her up on to the trailer, drugged her in the end gave up and left her there...told them i would get the sheriff if they did any thing else ( i was about 6 months pregnant and they wouldn't let me load my horse), my husband took the next and spent the whole day with her just talking to her and finally talking in to our horse trailer, we have a one horse trailer right now with a 4 horse trailer on it's way but borrow my friends for abby's 4'h stuff, abby with a little work now loads with out any problem's .....she also knows that there are treats on bord (grain, apples, hay, cookies)
our nieghbour has the same problem but is now teaching her horse to eat up in there featherlite 4 horse trailer......bribing is the best way to make a horse forget some times
Very sad to hear. Just wondering: did you try grain inside as well? I know many people are against that, but sometime it's the only way to work.
try taking the middle petition out or opening it up,and walking up the float with her,having feed in the float can also help aswell.
i had a similar problem with my old horse,this is what worked for him.
remember lots of praise and encouragement when she does go foward even if it is 1 step.
Getting a horse to load on a trailer is no big deal, you just have to know how to do it "right" the easiest way is to just put there feed in it, but not letting theme eat until they go in and eat, you can't say your food is in there if you want it go in, and then 10 mins later give her feed out side the trailer, and don't let them eat until they have all 4 hoves in the trailer because the next time it will be harder to get all 4 on, because they think just 2 is ok.
put her in the trailer and feed her or do something she likes like grooming so she associates being in there with good things
More often than not, the temptation of feed cannot overcome the fear of something tragic that has happened inside the trailer.
Take your horse on a long lead-rope or a lounge line. Open the trailer door, and take something like a long stick with a plastic bag on the end or a rope on the end or something similar, even the end of the lead rope or lounge line works well. Begin to circle your horse in the entrance of the trailer, as near it as possible. Make sure he/she stays at a fast trot. Stop your horse by stepping in front of he/she at the entrance of the trailer. If he/she is willing to sniff the trailer, look inside, step inside, whatever, just don't do anything. Don't pet the horse, just let him/her relax completely. Once the horse looks or steps away from the trailer, circle them again, 2-3 times, and stop them again. Eventually, your horse will learn that they can relax at the trailer, and work away from it, and will look forward to relaxation near the trailer. This takes more time with some horses than with others. The point of this is that you are letting the horse overcome it's fears and make the choice, not forcing it. Ideally, your horse will circle, see the trailer entrance, and step inside eagerly. Be patient if your horse is very resistant and keep working on it. Once your horse is willing to be inside, spend meal-times and grooming-time in there and once your horse is very used to the trailer, just tie he/she up in there and just let them relax. Good luck!
thanks so much for your detailed thoughtful advice, i have gained a little ground with loading , she will get half way in and not freak out and rear up but i will try your technique too
I have had good luck with making the trailer the place where they are fed but I did have a horse that didn't eat for 3 days before I gave up and fed her outside the trailer. We ended up resorting to pretty harsh methods. A trainer (not me) used a stud chain across her gums so everytime she backed up it put pressure on her gums while someone else drove her from behind with a whip. It took about 15 minuites and she was in the trailer. That is a last resort method. :twisted: Remember they have to be able to go down the road too. Once the horse is loading well take a few short trips. I start by going up and down the driveway (about 200 feet) and work my way up to around the block (that would be 4 miles in country blocks!) A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that once the horse will load the work is over. Getting them comfortable going down the road is just as important. I ride with a horse new to a trailer just to make sure they don't freak out too badly. Driving GENTLY and not forgetting that you have your beloved horses behind you helps too. No slamming on the brakes and taking corners slowly.
I want to add that we did try the lunging many many times for days and she still wouldnt go in. She would go into any other trailer but not the one we had. it was a dark color and an average size 2 horse straight load. I never could figure out what it was about that trailer she was afraid of. We have since sold the horse and the trailer :)
Trailering is always fun with my ol' boy!
As far as trailering goes people make it sound like it is a piece of cake. Well, its not when you have a 1250 lb horse that just decides he dont wont to go in. We spent over 4.5 hours trying to get my 9 yo gelding into a trailer back in March of 07. Feed doesnt matter. Treats, hay, whatever. The majority of gelding do not have moody day but mine (Poco) is somewhat stubburn. He has had several trailer accidents because people have tried to force him in. Every time he has ended up at the veterinary clinic and someone in the hospital. When it comes to physical force he can win and he will. I trained him when he was 5 1/2 years. In the spring time he became overly excited. So, I hooked a stud chain to his halter just to make noice, not to touch him. Well, that was the key to loading him. We snapped the stud chain on and he walked in the trailer like a charm. Force doesnt make a horse go in and feed or rewards doesnt alway do it. But step back and take a look at how you train and work with your horse. Look at the littler things. How you control them when they get hyper or just plain out of control. How do you regain your ability to control them? Is is strength? A way of training? Or just plain bounderies? Every horse is trained different. If I give Poco any sort of voice command he does what I ask. I never tell him to do something. I ask and he responds. Hes a very respectful gelding and gentle as can be. I have never laid a hand on him, raised my voice, or used any kind of harsh bit, whip, nothing. Just a side pull and a calm voice.
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