Trailer Loading Problem - Emergency!
So, we trailered Chili to go see Jennifer (Remi here on HF) and she loaded with a slight hesitation into a 2 horse, straight load bp trailer. Ride was fine except for one small problem when the colt we were bringing for Jennifer (not tied in the trailer) stuck his head into Chili's manger and she didn't like it - then we tied him, no problems after that.
We got there and she unloaded fine. No problems.
Tried to load yesterday to go home and she would have nothing of it. I know we probably did a few things that were not correct and I can only hope they do not hinder our being able to load her in the future.
We started out with obvious encouragement - tapping her on the backside with either a dressage whip or lead rope while trying to pull her into the trailer (now know NOT to pull)....
Worked her every single time she refused to load by circling first then trotting her. Never yelled - at least, not at her.
Put her in a round pen and led the trailer up to it with the doors open and feed in it - and she did put 2 feet into it but then backed out quickly and never put her feet back in.
She kept yanking her head up - and at one point hit her head on the trailer and another time got her halter stuck on the trailer door latch.
We got her in ONCE (in the beginning) but she turned around before we could get her tied (a TIGHT fit) and pretty much - sat down in the trailer like a dog - which I'm sure obviously scared the crap outta her and caused her not to want to come to the trailer at all.
After that, I just kept talking to her, leading her up to the trailer to snif it/walked around it, worked her - nothing would get her back in.
Called a friend of mine out of state and they suggested more - forceful means - but we couldn't get her head down, so it was useless to try pulling her in from behind. We did have a slight bit of success blindfolding her - but after she got 2 feet in the trailer at that point, threw her head up and hit her head - again. (these methods are all mixed up and not in any order btw).
When she was in the round pen, as a last resort, we were coaxing her in with feed, I had a hold of her lead rope and my husband touched - not tapped or prodded - touched her backside with a stick and she kicked him, full on in the groin. He walked away so I worked her in 2 quick circles in the pen and then went to tend to him. I'd have worked her longer but after he jumped the fence, he went down on the ground, so I wanted to make sure he was ok - obviously.
We ended up leaving her there with Jennifer's horses in the pasture. We are taking this smaller trailer back to where we borrowed it and borrowing a stock trailer, but I'm petrified we won't be able to get her back in and want to know what we can do - with limited time and resources - to get her loaded????
I think originally the problem was that the trailer was small for her - she had room to lean to each side but her tail was touching the trailer door. Then, with her getting stuck in the trailer and then hitting her head on the trailer a few times- I'm afraid I've created a worse problem.
It's been suggested that we sedate her enough to get her loaded. We will have *some* time to leave the trailer there with the doors open so she can get used to it being there but not for several days. It's not like we can set it up and let her get used to it again and work with her over a few days. We have one day to get it done.
I know - as I stated - that there are things we shouldn't have done, so please, just give suggestions for what we can do NOW to get my girl home.
On a side note, I thought for sure my hubby was going to say we had to get rid of her bc she kicked him but he said no. That it was his fault and she is coming home.
Jennifer is a saint for letting Chili stay there with her horses and taking care of her until we can come get her.
and other than that, my birthday was a definite adventure!
Comments can be posted, pm'd or even emailed to me directly. I'll even accept text messages at this point. And I don't care about my phone # being on the board bc I have a business with the same phone #, so it's all over the Internet anyway!
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE
O dear that sounds awfull!! bless you.... sounds like she may have just got soo worked up by which point nothing would have worked! well done for persisting tho... have you tried 2 lunge lines attached either side of the trailer? with 2 people crossing them behind her to push her in? That way you don't have to pull her and people helping you are not in the way to get kicked... fingers crossed for you xx
I'm sorry to read your story here, what a nightmare for everyone, but the good news all is not lost.
When we bought G Man he wasn't keen to load to start with, then when he got two feet in then reared and hit his head he REALLY didn't want to load.
After much struggle we put him in the doctoring chute that they had, backed the trailer up and then loaded him from there, so if they have a chute that may work, failing that..
We don't have anything like that here and the way I eventually found to load the boy was with two people, one on his halter and one on a lunge rope.
I put a lunging surcingle on him, and then put a standing martingale on him onto his nylon halter, so he couldn't throw his head way up. Then a rope halter on top for the person at the head to actually control him with. Then I ran a lunge line through the lowest rings of the surcingle, round his butt back through the ring on the other side, and I had both ends in my hands, effectively making a butt rope that you can use from way up the front there.
We would lead him up the the trailer, then as he stood thinking about it, kept steady on the head rope, and pulled up on the butt rope, and he would jump on. After two or three goes around with that he jumps on as good as gold these days (touches wood and makes other signs to whatever gods I may need to) I haul him to shows and lessons and he just pops on and off, so they can get over it.
Good luck, I'm sure someone will have an idea that will work for you.
Trailer loading training can take awhile and seeing as your time with borrowing a trailer will be limited you could have a vet come out and give her something to calm her down, just so you can get her home on that one day. When you can have longer to work with her on trailer training do that, but I completely understand that you are in a pinch and need it to work on that one day. I think getting the stock trailer will help greatly too, side-by-sides are so tiny and the horse will think they can't fit and it's too confined. Good luck!
We have a stock trailer, so both handlers were in the trailer, both in front of the horse.
oh thats no fun :( just try not to circle her because then she will realize that she can get away with it.
Also use a lunge line and put the chain over her nose. You can be a little rough have someone stand on both sides with a lunge whip and give her taps
use grain just like you were and just don't give up!
I have a two horse closed sides not a stocktrailer so i have a loop on the outside right & left sides.Can i put a couple of cotton ropes crisscrossed to the opposite sides and one pull right and one pull left and get him in?
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This sounds soo much like what I just went through a few weeks ago. Long story short: I rode her home down the highway -- 5 hours. This was fine for us as I knew the highway and knew the horse had issues only with highway trucks and school buses. Years ago, my mother did the same thing, but it took her 10 hours. Unfortunately, this isn't always an answer when the object is just to get the horse home and no time for training.
I like Golden's idea. Maybe in conjunction with a calming supplement???
I have to retrain my mare now, so I hope to remember Golden's method. Very nice.
Well I will have to go out and buy the surcingle and another lung rope to do this.hate to be out the expense for a few uses.
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