EEK!!! We have a 10 year old mare, who is well trained and very sweet! She doesn't spook at anything, and my 6 year old rides her with no fear. We bought her late last fall, and couldn't afford a trailer until a few weeks ago. The first trailer we got was a nice 2 horse side by side. It had a ramp, and we quickly figured out that perhaps she had never gone up a rmap to trailer before. We worked and worked with her, until one day she fell down on her knees and slid . At that pioint we knew that we wanted to try a step up trailer. So...we found one, put the other trailer up for sale and bought the new one.
Bottom line...she won't get in this one either! Maybe gun shy from the slip and fall with the last one? Maybe she is being stubborn? We have put a rope around her haunches, coaxed, talked softly, talked loudly, cracked a whip behind her, and even (against our better judgement) put grain and hay in the manger for her to come eat. Nuthin' works! Any suggestions?
Well, is she afraid of it or just stubborn? Could you possibly park it in the field with her? When my horse was having trailering troubles she wasn't afraid, just adamant about not getting on. I spent a lot of time near the trailer, put food in the floor of the trailer, right near the doorway and just sat in there, letting her think about her options. Within a day or so she would put her front feet up, got HUGE praise, then we left. Just remember never give in-if she wants to stand there for 6 hours so be it, but she only gets to relax when she takes a step towards the trailer. A lot of people suggested I lunge her near the trailer, and relax only when she got near it-eventually she'd learn trailer=rest and outside=work. I didn't do that, but took that basic principle and when she is outside hassle her, and crowd her and make her turn around etc etc, then take a step towards the trailer, suddenly totally calm. I still do this when she has second thoughts about going on, and it works every time. I know a lot of people don't condone "bribing" them on with food, but when we were getting over the problems I always had food and treats in there as an incentive to get on. I guess as long as that's not the only reason she gets on it's ok to use food, but now Tango doesn't care whether there's food or not-she gets on regardless.
I really do not think she is afraid. She is very calm around it. The trailer is parked in the field with her, and we have kept the doors open for her for periods of time. I guess we will try feeding her out of it, where she can reach the food.
Here is a great method to teach your horse to load- not just how to get your horse on the trailer.
Full article here: Training ~ Trailer Loading And Unloading
Most of the text:
Before you can even begin to approach trailer loading you must be able to longe correctly and ground drive your horse. This also implies that you also can yield, stop, and ask your horse to stand quietly.
What you are after is a horse that will walk into a trailer without you having to get in with them. You want a "self-loader", this is not a lot to ask. This if for your safety. You're probably thinking, yeah well you've never met my horse. But, this doesn't just happen overnight. It may have taken 4-5 years for your horse to learn to be a "bad loader". You, or the previous owner didn't mean for this to be the case but this is what you have to work with now. Or maybe you have a young colt, the training is all the same - proper groundwork equals reliable loading.
We have all seen some real interesting trailer loading scenes - the person who "bribes" their horse into a trailer with food, or the two person loading ordeal where one person pulls on the lead rope and the other pushes on the rear of the horse, and my personal favorite - "the threesome" where two people use a rope on the rear of the horse as a sling with the person inside the trailer using a come-along or winch to pull them in. You are never going to pull your horse into a trailer with a lead rope.
Let's do some simple math and physics. Lets say that our sample human weighs 165 pounds and his horse weighs 1200 pounds. Do you think that you could pull a Volkswagen Rabbit automobile into your garage with a 12 foot rope? What if the car was in park, or even worse - reverse gear! What were you thinking? Buck Brannaman does a demonstration at his clinics where he teaches a horseto trailer load while he is sitting in the cab of his pickup truck. This is no gimmick, a properly trained horse will do what you ask if it knows what you are asking and they know how to respond.
Trailer loading is not about eating. Don't bribe your horse with food to get into the trailer. You may be able to get them in this way, but the horse probably doesn't want to be there for any reason other than the food. This is where you can get into some bad behaviors such as the horse rushing out of the trailer, stepping on or over you, etc. Besides, what are you going to do if you don't have any grain or hay to get them in after the trail ride or horse show?
Don't hit your horse in the rear with a stick or crop- make this a good experience. It is OK to let a horse know that he is in your space. This is probably the most common thing we see people do, pester their horses to the point where they get some attitude and now they really don't want to get into the trailer. On the other hand, if you have to use the lead rope to direct energy at the horse to keep them out of your space - DO IT. Be safe. Approach trailer loading in steps, again you have to be able to longe and ground drive to effectively teach this technique. There is no magic time limit to any of these steps. Some horses can learn in five minutes while some may take two weeks. Be patient and make time work for you. Most of all remember to reward your horse for appropriate behavior.
Step 1: Show your horse the trailer. Open the doors. Make sure that everything is safe. Let the horse look around. REWARD your horse. Is your horse calm? If yes proceed to step 2, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
Step 2: Longe your horse at a walk at the door of the trailer. Have the horse back-up, change direction, and stop. REWARD your horse. This is a new environment, make sure that this is a good experience. Is your horse calm? If yes proceed to step 3, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
Step 3: Drive your horse on the ground at the door of the trailer. Ask for a halt. Drive them by the door and around in a circle, stop. REWARD your horse. Is your horse calm? If yes proceed to step 4, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
http://www.naturalhorsesupply.com/images/trailload2.jpgStep 4: Drive your horse into the trailer. Don't worry if they stop. Ask your horse to stand. REWARD the horse for appropriate behavior. Don't allow your horse to move into your space. Use the lead rope as a tool to ask for direction and keep the horse out of your space. Ask your horse to back out of the trailer. Don't let the horse turn around to go out head first, this is dangerous. Is your horse calm? If yes proceed to step 5, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
Step 5: Ask your horse to stand in the trailer. Start with 5 seconds. REWARD the horse. Work your way up to 30 seconds in 5 second increments. Remember to REWARD your horse. Ask your horse to back out of the trailer.Is your horse calm? If yes proceed to step 6, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
Step 6: Drive your horse into the trailer. Tie your horse in the trailer. Let them stand for 10 seconds. Do this several times, and work your way upto 5-10 minutes. REWARD the horse. I s your horse calm? If yes you have ahorse that will load quietly, otherwise work on this and reward your horse for standing calmly.
Reinforce this every time you load your horse.
Hope that was helpful, Good luck!
I am not the biggest fan of Clinton Anderson but his method is the same as some that have ben mentiond already. Work the horse around the trailer. The closer the horse is to the trailer the less pressure in your driving and body posture. making the trailer a safe haven of no work. and remeber that each step into the trailer gets lots of praise and then pull the horse back out and work him again. Then ask for another step farther in.
Also keep in mind that a two-horse, ramp or no ramp, will look like a bad place to be for a horse. It's not that she fell on the ramp, the front wall of the trailer is practically in her face as she approaches. The methods outlined above will help.
Its funny, but years ago we had a two horse and always had issues getting horses into it, even horses that load easily in a 2 horse. I look at some of the older 2 horse trailers and realize just how skinny an small they are, most big QH would be squished in one.
We have a slant load 3 horse GN now and have no problem loading horses in it, even horses that give problems in smaller trailers.
Have you ever loaded the mare in a stock or slant load big trailer? Try and see if she will load easily in a bigger trailer. Now days some horses never even see a 2 horse trailer and if they have been in a big trailer, going into a small two horse is very scary.
Just a thought.
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