Help me with trailering - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 02-16-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Help me with trailering

We are thinking of taking two of our horses on a short-ish trip to a dude ranch. My experience trailering horses thus far consists of: (1) me helping Pony and Moonshine on to the trailer when I moved them and (2) me getting Teddy onto a trailer just for fun, with a little help, and then taking him out again. Moonshine loaded and unloaded no problem (although she peed once she got in, which made me think maybe she was scared) and Pony was lightly sedated, but I think if Moonshine goes in he will go in also. Teddy loaded and unloaded no problem even though it was a high step-up trailer.

We would probably have at least some help on both ends of the trip, and someone else would be doing the driving. Can you all please give me some advice? I don't even know what to ask. I guess, what are the steps to trailering a horse, what should I watch out for, what do I need to know? I'm a rank, rank beginner here, but I have to start somewhere, right? But if this is a terrible idea, please tell me that, too.

If we can, we're going to use the simple two-horse trailer that is low and has a ramp. That one seems like the most straightforward.
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post #2 of 45 Old 02-16-2019, 04:42 PM
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Start by finding out if your horses are even permitted at the dude ranch...
Most ranches have their own known string of horses that are safe and accustomed to the terrain, the work and the animals they encounter...
Have your horses been exposed to all those different things and have a attitude of not-a-big-deal to anything thrown their direction?
Also you need to find out what kind of paperwork you need before making any plans of this type...
Once you get those answers...


You need to have 100% dependable loading horses no matter what is going on or what kind of trailer they must load onto...
They are told to get on and they are already loaded attitude...
Some phone call homework to do first, then the nitty-gritty details can be addressed with the animals.

....
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #3 of 45 Old 02-16-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Start by finding out if your horses are even permitted at the dude ranch...
Most ranches have their own known string of horses that are safe and accustomed to the terrain, the work and the animals they encounter...
Have your horses been exposed to all those different things and have a attitude of not-a-big-deal to anything thrown their direction?
Also you need to find out what kind of paperwork you need before making any plans of this type...
Once you get those answers...
No, this place specifically advertises that you can bring your own horse and I've already talked to them about accommodations. They just need a current Coggins test for each horse, which I have.

Moonshine is a great trail horse, completely calm, I don't want to say bombproof, but I've never seen anything bother her, even when all the horses around her were freaking out. Pony is not quite as good, but if Moonshine is there and calm, he should stay calm (when in doubt, he looks to her or to me to tell him whether he should panic or not). Plus I've sat out a ton of his antics so I'm not too worried.
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post #4 of 45 Old 02-16-2019, 04:50 PM
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Does this dude ranch just have trails or are you moving cattle?
Do they have cattle, pigs, goats...
Bear, snakes in their trail system you might encounter out riding?
Have your horses been exposed to those things?

Stall accommodations, safe turnout situation for the times you are not riding?
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 45 Old 02-16-2019, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Does this dude ranch just have trails or are you moving cattle?
Do they have cattle, pigs, goats...
Bear, snakes in their trail system you might encounter out riding?
Have your horses been exposed to those things?

Stall accommodations, safe turnout situation for the times you are not riding?
...
They actually do a cattle clinic, which I was excited to find out about (I've been looking for one nearby), but not at the times we'll be there. It's trail riding. I guess they must have cattle, though, if they have a clinic for that. My horses shared a pasture with cattle and aren't bothered by them, and they're familiar with goats. There are wild pigs where they are now, so I expect they've seen one before. I doubt there would be bears out there. Snakes -- the place where they use to live had rattlesnakes, and no doubt there are some where they are now, although I've never seen any. Also coyotes. And deer. I don't think there would be anything here where the category would be new to them, but of course it could be a brand new cow that they've never seen before and that could make Pony get all snorty.

They advertised stalls, but my horses aren't used to stalls so I asked about that and they said they also had paddocks with loafing sheds. I have to bring my own hay and feed.

For sure bringing them to a new place would have some challenges, but Moonshine is super low key and I think Pony can handle it. Really it's the trailering itself that I'm worried about.
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Last edited by ACinATX; 02-16-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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post #6 of 45 Old 02-17-2019, 02:31 AM
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WHAT is a 'dude ranch'?? I've heard the term but to me, 'dude' means mate/person - do they breed people there??
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post #7 of 45 Old 02-17-2019, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
WHAT is a 'dude ranch'?? I've heard the term but to me, 'dude' means mate/person - do they breed people there??
As a fellow Aussie that was my first thought the first time I encountered the term!

From what I gather a dude ranch is like those trail riding places here, where any mook with money can hire a horse and be taken for a ride with a guide. Except some of the ranches have them actually move cattle (the horse does the work, basically). It's essentially a place where city people can have a ranch experience.

I wasn't aware that some allowed people to bring their own horses!
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post #8 of 45 Old 02-17-2019, 07:56 AM
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https://wilsonranchesretreat.com/horseback-riding
I know nothing about this place, just a brochure on what this place offers for vacationing city slickers...
There were many to choose from, this was 1/2 way down the page...
Just adding...room rates are like any other hotel/motel and include breakfast.
The cost of the riding you want to do is per person per ride additional charges...


Basically, it is riding on open plain or field with cattle present that the horse you are riding is going to work to move, hopefully without you falling off in the process.
Some places have nice shaded trails to go on guided rides and see the sights...
Horses are provided by the ranch...

Much depends upon your level of riding expertise to what you would be permitted to do and are going to be able to do...think never sat a horse and all day riding = very sore and done riding!!
Many places also offer other activities depending upon season of year.
Swimming, indoor pool or outside, skiing in winter, ice-skating, mountain foot hiking, archery, arts & crafts, sing-alongs, campfires, excellent food fed to you...
A "outdoor" vacation...

To me, what the OP is doing is taking her horses with her when she "camps"...no idea of level of creature comforts this place offers.
She can then go ride the land and take the risks associated with her horses as she wants.
She is responsible for all needs met to her horses...
The only part of this the place offers is probably housekeeping of beds straightened and meals provided...
That is what I am thinking...
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....

Last edited by horselovinguy; 02-17-2019 at 08:12 AM.
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post #9 of 45 Old 02-17-2019, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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I think a dude ranch was originally a working ranch that allowed guests to participate in ranch activities. There are still some like that -- I found one in Montana, I think, where you would help them on their twice yearly cattle drives from summer to winter pastures. It was one solid week on horseback. Nowadays, I think anyone with more than 50 acres, a couple of cattle, some riding horses, and a place to sleep will call themselves a dude ranch. Usually you have one or two short trail rides (at the walk) per day, then spend the rest of your time at the pool or feeding cattle and chickens.

I'm calling this place I'm looking at a dude ranch, but it really isn't. This is the place:
Horseback Riding Vacations & Nature Vacations

I was looking for a place where husband and daughter could camp while I stay in a building with running water and no scorpions, where we could bring the horses and ride them but not have to do things like stake them at night or set up electric perimeter fencing or other high-level things that people with lots of horse camping experience do. Daughter really wants to take her horse somewhere new and ride her, and Moonshine is a great trail horse who is perfect for that sort of thing.

This place also offers twice-yearly penning and sorting clinics, where you can bring your own hors or use one of theirs. I really want to do one of those -- Pony has always enjoyed bossing the cattle in "his" pasture, so I thought he might like to try doing it as a job.

ETA: I have no idea what the relationship between dude in dude ranch and the "duuuuuuuuuude" of surfer dudes is.
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Last edited by ACinATX; 02-17-2019 at 08:17 AM.
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post #10 of 45 Old 02-17-2019, 09:58 AM
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Sounds like fun! The ONE thing that is a huge safety issue is the golden rule (to me) Never have the horse tied while the loading door is still open and the butt bar is still down. You don't want a horse to try to back out because it looks and feels wide open behind him, realize he is tied, and panic in the trailer. That means you do things in a certain order, load the horse, fasten the butt bar, shut the door, then go to the manger window and clip the trailer tie to the halter while removing the lead rope. This may be slightly different depending on the way the trailer is made, ie straight load vs slant load-2 horse, 3 horse, etc. Reverse the order when it's time to unload. At the manger window, unclip the trailer tie, attach the lead rope, open the door, drop the butt bar and ask the horse to back out.
I had a near train wreck with Sonny once when I did things out of order. Thank goodness he didnt go into a full blown panic and I was able to get him to step forward. I had him hard tied with a rope instead of a trailer tie which made it a lot worse. Now I use quick release trailer ties for safety, they will unclip if enough pressure happens to them.
Don't think that the butt bar up with the door still open is good enough,,,,I've heard horror stories of horses managing to get one or both hind legs under the bar and get stuck under it and panic, having the door closed as soon as the butt bar goes up is safer by far. I know second hand of a horse that had to be put down under those circumstances.

Is the trailer that you plan to use available for you to practice with ? How long do you have untill the trip? Other than basic safety issues as above, it would be helpful if we knew what, if any, specific behaviors your horses exhibit that would make loading a challenge. If having a trailer to practice with isnt an option, you could use barrels to create a tight space to send them into and back them out,,or if you have a pedestal or bridge, it can be used to practice stepping up.

Will you be crossing state lines ? If so, you probably need a health certificate from your vet in addition to a Coggins report. You will need to check with any state that you will be crossing into if that's the case. Florida, for example , not only requires a health certificate and a Coggins, but the State Trooper will come after you if you fail to stop at the Ag check point where they look at your papers and horses.

Take, or check to see if you can get when there, some molasses or apple juice in case either of the horses won't drink the water at the ranch, some just won't drink the different tasting water but adding something yummy can help.
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