Help!! Trailering Issues...
With that "stubborn" polish mentality of my polish arabian, I am discovering that he is much more brilliant and resistant than I originally noticed.
Here is the issue: trailering. Ever since the day he was born, he has been a pain about it. No, he doesn't rear up, bolt away, run side to side, put anyone in danger... But it takes half an hour to get him into a trailer. I can reserve time to get there early, but I don't like standing in the trailer with him frozen and heels dug in. He doesn't show much of fear, just that he doesn't want to get it. When trailering, he is still and quiet, he doesn't sweat or show signs of stress in the trailer, and he'll eat in there. He hasn't had any accidents previously, and has never had a harsh hand forcing him in.
What have we tried?: Eleven trainers that "could certainly fix the problem", a bum rope, a lounge whip (not lashing, but waving behind him and bumping his tail), a stud chain (for extra pressure) and yes, natural horsemanship. Three PNH trainers (highly successful) couldn't improve him. Yes, and a clinton anderson trainer... Then me attempting Monty Roberts methods... He listens great with that, getting in, then backing out and praising, but then when it comes time to get him back in, it takes twice as long.
What can we do?: Give me advice! We are joining the high school equestrian team, 4-h and have a lot of shows coming up, no time for lollying around with trailers!! So whatever you can spitball, I will try ASAP.
Thank you so much if you can help!! :D
Have you tried feeding him his favorite treat before he gets to the trailer, right at the trailer, front feet in the trailer, back feet in the trailer,etc..? This way he might associate the trailer with getting goodies and it becomes a pleasant experience.
Hmm... My boy is the most absolute nut ball when it comes to trailer loading. He though has had some bad experiences with trailers though. He also is very big on getting attention when it comes to the trailer. The more people standing around to watch him the bigger the issue becomes! So what we did was for seven days in a row, me by myself would go to the trailer with him, and make it his idea to get in the trailer. I would just lead him up to the trailer and i would get in and just stand there, and wait. I never forced him in the trailer. He thinks its a HUGE game. He gets is front feet in, sniffs the trailer, than looks around to see if anybody is watching. It took me a half hour with nobody watching to get him in the trailer. Than i would feed him in the trailer. So we did this for seven days, and as long as nobody is watching he is perfect. Now when we get to the show that is a differnt story. Too many people and he won't get in so my friend and i have it all figured out so far, knock on wood hasn't failed. We give him three tries to step in by himself, and if he doesn't, she leads him i get the rope behind his butt, and tap him with the whip and up he goes.
If you have the time i would do it seven days in a row, and make it his idea to get in, i never pulled on my horse or anything i just stood there in the trailer, and just held out a treat.
don't know if that would help any, but like you several people have tried, and a pnh trainer worked with him for three hours before she got him in and could't get him in again.
If your horse is "playing a game" with you I would put pressure on. You have to be boss- this doesn't mean beat him but don't let him push you around and play games. :D Ask him to get in the trailer, then tell him to get in the trailer, then demand if needed.
Is it a slant or straight load?
What happens if you just walk in (not looking at him) and just act like nothing is wrong?
If he won't walk in the trailer in a reasonable time I would def get a lunge whip (like you said you have done) and insist that he gets in- make sure you have someone who will not back down if he tries to back up. If going backwards is uncomfortable and going forwards is comfortable- he will get it and learn that you are boss and that he can't make a game of it.
Also what happens if you feed him breakfast and dinner in the trailer every day? Not sure if you have time to do this but it will teach him that the trailer is a good place.
I occasionally work with a QH who is much the same about loading. There is no fear factor at all, he just opts not to get on the trailer, and has had it proven to him that he doesn't have to (unless it's with me or with the owners' pro trainer :lol:).
What works well for him is to walk forward to the trailer; purposefully and looking straight ahead. Feel for him to falter, but beat him to it. Right before he chooses to stop and plant his feet, stop him and back him up away from the trailer until he starts losing enthusiasm about backing away, then walk him forward again. Repeat until any and all stopping of feet takes place on the trailer. You may want a dressage whip, NH stick, or long lead to use as a popper to get him moving forward after the backing up.
Good luck, I know what a frustrating problem this can be. Sometimes it's all about finding a motivator/method that works well for the individual horse. :wink:
Sounds like you have a challenge ahead. We have one who just doesn't like our 2 horse straight load. He puts both feet up and says no. I take him back out and away a little and chase his butt around for a few turns and give him the opportunity to get on again. usually only takes one go but need to be prepared for multiple efforts. It may work for your guy. Your just going to have to work out the thing that works for him. Sometimes they are just to smart for their own good. Good Luck.
Yeah putting the pressure on my horse shuts him down and i'd like to see someone come out and try to pick my horse up and put him in the trailer. We made it his idea and it's worked for us all summer. My horse has had major major trailer issues, as in falling down, being punched in the face, being backed out really fast and gashing his head open. All this happen before i got him. What we did worked out perfect for him, and instead of it taking two hours to get in a trailer it takes us one min. I wasn't at a show one time and it started stroming and everybody else was trying to load him, and they were there for two hours trying to load him Their way, and i just laughed caused i got there took him to the side to calm down and just walked him in the trailer after everybody left.
The new people at my barn watched him and he looks around for people so he can start to make a scene and when they ignore him he just goes right in. I think he likes drama.
Sounds like you have tried everything – but unsure how much patience & repetition you have tried – you need wait until he gets bored. Practice loading in the trailer when you don’t have to go anywhere - wait until it is mostly his idea to load – slack off lead until he relaxes and then move forward with slight pressure to hopefully get a step – slack off and repeat. Incentive could be feed bag and/or friend in trailer. Eventually he will get bored and load – set your mind that this will take all day. Praise him – feed him – unload him and start all over. Do this as many times as you can – making sure that you end each session on a good note. Do this every day that you can until it is so routine that he just does it. Another thought is to work him away from the trailer such that when he gets to the trailer he sees it as a good place to relax (a reward) – the trick is for the workout to not be related in his mind as punishment for balking at going in the trailer since that will increase his anxiety – make the trailer a reward.
Oh i can help with this!!!!! My mare is the Queen of horses that shut down, she swings her but, kicks and lord you can smack her all you want and she will not do a thing! So what you should do is first get your horse to listen to you. Get a dressage whip and a stud chain. With the stud chain put it through the bottom hole then the side hole over the nose through the whole on the far side of the horse ( right side if you sitting on him) and up along the check piece to the hole connecting the 'throat latch' and 'check piece' and ' crown piece'. This does not hurt the horse but applies a pressure on the pole. What you want to do is grab a dressage whip and lead your horse around and when you stop you want you horse to stop instantly, if he doesn't apply pressure to the stud chain and back him up. Keep doing that until he will come to a sliding stop. When he is really listening to you and knows who is boss lead him up to the trailer. Stand in the trailer and face him and stand slightly beside him. Take the dressage whip and just start lightly tapping his side with it, it should be an annoying tap, this way the horse will not shut down because you are not scaring him. If he kicks give him one big smack if he pulls back make him pull you so he puts the poll pressure on him self. make sure your horse is always facing you when you face him towards the trailer. When he puts one foot in stop tapping for 5 seconds then start again. It may take 1 minute or 30 until he finally load. When he does load pet him and tell him good boy! Give him treats but don't lock him in there! he needs to know that the trailer is a hang out place! Give him his food and brush him in the trailer, get him relaxed and chill. If he tries to back out stop him if you can and then back him out so its your choice for him to back out. If he does not try to back out then back him up after 3-5 minutes of just chilling and standing in there. When he backs out tell him good boy and load him up again. Same as before, use the annoying tap and DONT LOOK HIM IN THE EYE!!! Look past his face! When he loads again do the same as before. Keep on repeating this until he can doing with out barely tapping. Then try with out tapping and see if he loads. After the first 2-3 times he doesn't not have to stand there for 3-5 minutes but about 10-30 seconds. So... When he loads with out tapping back him out and lead him around still doing the stopping thing so he listens. Start walking back to the trailer and kiss and luck to him stop him about 30 ft away from the trailer. DO NOT LOOK BACK AT HIM! Stare straight into the trailer kiss and cluck at him and apply some pressure to his poll. he should load, my horse did!
We tried everything with my horse, smacking her butt, using plastic bags, putting a lunge line around her butt, lunging her a bunch before and then a trainer at my barn did this and ever since SUPER EASY LOADING! The thing is after you spend one day making sure you horse knows the trailer is a chill place and you can make is much worse out side of the trailer and that your the boss your horse will generally load from then on instead of it taking forever using the same tactic or just waiting it out. Just be patient and dedicate one day just to trailering, it will pay off!
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