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terry6970 08-21-2011 09:57 PM

How do you get the back legs into the trailer?
I have a horse who I am trailer training, well attempting it anyways. She is doing quite well, isn't at all afraid of the trailer, goes up into it with her front legs and will go all the way up to the front of the trailer leaving behind only about 5 inches of her back end and her two back hooves. How do I get her to put her back feet up in the trailer? I have tried luring her with treats and grain, but the problem is that she is long enough to reach it with her neck stretched out even without her back legs up in it. I do not want to destroy any trust and do not want to make it a stressful or upsetting experience, I want to keep it completely positive. I have also used praise, rubbing, and scratching too, not just food rewards. We start out at a walk, enter the trailer, she moves up to the front, but the back legs never enter. My trailer is a typical 2 horse side by side.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks! Trish

Jumper4ever 08-21-2011 10:07 PM

I had the same problem with my mare this winter and she is now self loading. What really worked for her to become comfortable with the trailer was for me to sit behind the chest bar on a bale of hay with a 22 foot parelli rope( a longe line will work as well) with a bag of treats and bring a book and be prepared to spend the whole day out there. Sit on the hay bale and hold the end of the rope and let her move around the trailer a little and get comfortable with it. don't apply any pressure let her go at her own pace. When she gets in far enough to reach you give her a treat and let her stay in or go out depending on what she wants to do. Remember NO PRESSURE. the first time i did this i spent 7 hours out there so be prepared for a long day. once she is more comfortable with the trailer and will walk in and out on her own you can loop the 20 or so ft rope through the front door of your trailer and stand be the ramp next to your horse with a longe whip, dressage whip, carrot stick and string, something of that sort and then you can start applying pressure. It all comes with time and patience. If you go to a show or just bring her somewhere and she stands alright in the trailer make sure she has enough hay and go out for dinner or something. Having her stand in the trailer for an hour or so away from home will make her just that much more comfortable. I hope this helped! Good luck and i hope to hear how she progresses.

terry6970 08-21-2011 10:32 PM

Thanks Jumper4ever, good ideas and it's nice to see you also reward with treats. One thing though, my trailer is a 2 horse side by side so there is nowhere for me to be in the front of the trailer. I mean I can stick my head through the tiny escape door but there is no way for me to hang out in there. Somehow I have to teach her to self load while I walk in next to her on the other side. Know what I mean?

Carleen 08-21-2011 10:40 PM

Have you tried physically lifting one of her hind legs and putting it in the trailer? Seems silly, but it worked for my guy!

terry6970 08-21-2011 10:43 PM

I haven't tried lifting one, but maybe I will, thanks!

kevinshorses 08-22-2011 01:02 AM

Whack her on the ass!

Prinella 08-22-2011 02:55 AM

The technique I've seen work is the simple application of pressure to make the trailer easier.

My boss and i went to pick up 2 6yo pony stallions 1 never handled 1 terrified of people. It took us an hour to teach to lead and get on the trailer. Apply pressure until they step forwards onto the door. If nervy let them rest there, after a bit ask for another step forwards, rest ask again.

Now if what your saying is that your mare wont get her back leg in its the same process lead her up you on the other side of the divider when she stops urge her forwards FROM BEHIND using a lunge whip or anything you can use start tapping on her bum get harder and harder she steps forward, rest, then back to tapping repeat this until she is standing nicely in. Then with the door open encourage her to just stand whether she's eating or you're just patting if she goes to move back, back to tapping.

My mare was a HORROR she'd do exactly as yours no back legs in and if pushed would just run back out. she now loads beautifully might need one tap on the bum to step all the way up.

Arksly 08-22-2011 03:57 AM

You could always put a rope behind her like you would when teaching a foal to lead.

Kayty 08-22-2011 05:01 AM


Originally Posted by kevinshorses (Post 1145189)
Whack her on the ass!

Thank you Kevin - I was just about to say that :wink:

Treats are all good and well, sure horsey will come to play for a food reward... but there is nothing established that makes the trailer a comfortable place and outside and uncomfortable place. So when one day you are miles from home in pouring rain and freezing wind, and have no food to lure the horse in with - what are you going to do then????
Pressure, release. That's how horses learn, pressure when they are going backwards or not moving, release when they walk forwards towards the trailer. Second they stop, pressure again. I use a dressage whip on the hindquarters to constantly tap. I'm not hurting the horse in any way, simply being an annoyance until it steps forward, then the annoyance goes away. Horses aren't dumb, they learn pretty **** quickly that stepping forward is comfortable, and moving back or staying still when asked to move forward is uncomfortable. When they go in the trailer, there is no pressure, they can stand and go to sleep. But outside the trailer, there's this annoying tapping their back end that drives them nuts.

Get the gist?

mbender 08-22-2011 07:03 AM

You make me laugh kevin!!!!!!
OP, can you try leaving the trailer in the paddock with her? I've heard of people doing this and feeding in it. Otherwise, slow and easy. She will hopefully get the jest of having half of her body in the trailer isnt killing her so she may become more comfortable with getting all the way in. But dont make her stay in. Get her close to the opening of the trailer, then back her, then forward again, then back, until you get her front feet up the back her off. Continuing this over and over again until she loads all the way up. Even when she loads, back her off it. Then once in, let her rest and back her off. I have done this with success. Good luck

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