HELP! Horse Won't Load Onto Trailer!
I have a 6 year old arabian horse who will not load. He is an endurance horse but that is a little difficult if he wont get on the trailer. I've tried everything that has come to mind and nothing has worked. He has had a bad experience before but he doesn't seem afarid. Any input would be helpful.
make what you want easy, what he wants hard,
Do you lead him in or send him in ? sending is safer, but some like to be led especially in slant loads.
This is one of those things you can never ever give up on. Even if it takes him all day.
You have to be able to "send" him places, when I raise my arm and point he goes that way. basically a very short lunge. Start by making him step over logs, tarps wierd stuff, If he doesnt go wack him on the withers, tap tap tap progressivly a bit harder. I imagine that gets annoying and then they will go. You have to get to where you can send him over things. Now go to the trailer and send him in the same way. As long as he is still or moving forward keep up light pressure by clicking or tapping whatever command you are using. If he steps back IMMEDIATELY get in front and back him up hard and fast, GET BACK GET BACK! walk back to the trailer, repeat. Eventually he should load. and each time you do it it will get a bit easier.
Our app doesn't load easy because he has been in three accidents prior to me getting him. I have had him for eight years now. We use a rump rope on him. He doesn't act like he is scared or show any fear but he is really stubborn to go in. Sometimes he will walk right in and sometimes he won't. We hook a rope to one side of our trailer and then bring a rope right under his rump and ease him forward with it. You want to make sure though if your horse freaks and begins to rear or back really hard to release some pressure on the rope cause they can flip themselves backwards.
I ride for a few minutes before hand, to get my horse thinking, most of the time he'll walk right on. Does your trailer have a ramp, by any chance? I can't, not ever, get my gelding onto a trailer with a ramp, but he walks right onto one without.
I second that. Ours do great without a ramp. None of ours really like a ramp. Even our horses that we take trail riding every weekend want to walk onto a ramp. They prefer just to step up and get in verses walking a a ramp.
We have tried the lunge thing you mentioned Joe4d, but if i get in front of him and back him up he then refuses to go forward. We have also tried the rump rope as a last resort, and he just tried to rear... Our trailer is a two horse straight load woth a ramp. He has had a bad experience with a step-up and we bought this trailer for the ramp.
I suggest watching the Clinton Anderson DVD on horse trailering. It worked wonders for my Arab gelding. The video actually uses a ramp trailer.
Has he ever been in a straight load? Can you take the partition out? Some horses are scared of the tight quarters. For teaching it might be beneficial to take it out until he's loading and unloading.
I've had horses with trailer trauma, and each one of them has something new to teach me about getting them to load.
There's the get their mind working before loading, the rump rope, the grain can, the trail-of-grain, the stand at the back and let them sniff until they get in, and so on and so forth.
I've had to use rope halters on horses who wont budge, so it hits the poll more and gives them a better "go" cue. I don't like tieing them in the trailer in one, however.
Usually, I lead them up to the trailer casually. If they stop, I keep going and wait for them in the back of the trailer. I let them sniff if they need too, then I ask with an even pull to come forward. With each step, they get a release of pressure on their halter and usually a nibble of grain if they continue to be willing. Then I ask for another step, and another. If they take a step backwards I tell them a firm "NO" and cue to go forward. If a horse is really stubborn I've had to use a rump rope (and have had horses lunge forward on me, not my fav) or have someone standing somewhat behind them with a lunge rope so they can smack the ground with it when they step back.
Usually the horse realizes, "Hey, everytime I even lean forward I hear 'good boy' and if I step I get food, when I go back I got crazy back there with the whip." And they give up and come in for me, where they recieve their grain.
If they get a foot in, or both front feet, and they want to back out, don't pull on them as that would usually make a horse rear. Let them out and give them a good boy for just trying.
If he's really had some trauma, then take it step at a time. A little closer each day. Don't expect them to come all the way in on one day, but don't give up when they're refusing either.
Is it possible for you to feed your horse in the trailer. I've had excellent success with stubborn loading horses. Feed your horse his dinner in the trailer. Since you have a straight load you probably have a flat deck where their head goes. If you do show your horse you put his food in the trailer and i do this with the horse loose so you'll need to do this in a confined area. Leave the food and walk away. The horse will get hungry enough to go for the grain (it may take awhile at first so be patient). This makes the trailer a more pleasant place to enter. You can start where the food is just in reach then push it back the next time you feed so that the horse will have to get in. This way the horse can get in and out without human pressure it gives them a chance to figure it out on their own. I usually do this with young horses but you can do it with older horses as well.
Here's a trick to load a horse when other methods fail. Have a lead rope go from the horse into the trailer and out the front. Have someone pull on the rope lightly. Rock the horse side to side so it gets off balanced. To rebalance itself the horse will take a step which should be forward from the pressure on the rope. Rock the horse again to get another step and keep repeating.
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