Bad trailering issues! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Missouri
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Bad trailering issues!

Okay I've got one mare that loads fine and I can take her places with out the other horse and she's still fine. My other horse not so much.

I usually not always but sometimes have to lunge her OUT side the trailer so she realizes being in the trailer is nice. But when she decides she wants out she wants OUT. When we were practicing loading. I lunge her and work her outside the trailer making the inside seem really nice and a place to rest. Once she was in she'd be fine I'd feed her, her treat so she'd know this place is a good place. After I fed her, her treat she figured "OH time to back out!" We had an issue with this for a little over 2 days. I finally got her to realize each time she backs out she gets worked extra hard and she'd wanna stay in. But she wouldn't stay in if I backed out of the trailer.

I got her to where I could get out stand at the back and she'd stay in. We started shutting the door ect. And she went nuts. Laid against the door pushed and pushed and pushed obviously the door wasn't gonna pop open and she popped the middle bar out of the trailer once she did that she quit after me saying "HO HO!! Calm down!!" for 15 seconds. After that freak out moment I've been kinda cautious in putting her in the trailer.

With my other horse in there she still kinda flips out. Neighs stomps the ground keeps stomping and stomping. Even when we're on the road you can hear her stomping when we stop.

On June 2 we had a barrel race to go to. We ended up loading her first as my other still had issues loading(doesn't now) and we got her in there. Didn't tie her yet. She neigh stomped. Pulled back fell down, some how flipped herself around and got out. Mind you this is a 2 horse trailer so its beyond be how she didn't get stuck or hurt. After she got out she took off down the road.

Wasn't about being with another horse. She. Just. Wanted, out.

I need tips on how to get her to except the trailer. Food doesn't work, petting and loving doesn't work. She just does not like the trailer. She'll load fine but if no one is in there with her she flips out. We are painting the inside of it white to make it look bigger and not so cramped. Any advice?
Baylen Jaxs is offline  
post #2 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 12:43 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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Boy, that is bad. My only answer is time and repitition. A horse should over time be able to move past the fear. Conditioned response however works even when it is the wrong response. So she is conditioning herself to wig out when in the trailer.

I guess my approach would be to spend a lot of time loading and unloading with the time between the two becoming more and more. I would do this with her alone and not to reinforce that we gotta have a buddy to behave. work up to just going around the block and back home and out.. it aint going to be fun, but it can be done.
Sadly we usually don't address an issue like this until it is critical, and at that point it is the hardest to fix. I try to nip things like this in the bud right when I notice the first sign of reluctance. You may have inherited this problem, I have no way of knowing. You get to be the one to solve it though.

I might try loading her in a slant and see if that changes the behavior.

My Vet and Farrier are currently splitting my childeren's inheritance.
longshot is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 12:22 PM
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Well, I'd start by putting her in a rope halter and safety tying her to the inside of the trailer. Make sure the tie ring and super strong (like at least dime or nickle-sized diameter steel), and that it's CONNECTED securely to the trailer. My mare had to have several pieces of metal sheets and bars bolted to the inside of the trailer before we could bolt the tie ring to it and it would be strong enough that she couldn't rip it out of the wall. Rope halters are strong enough to withstand her tantrums. Make sure the leadrope can handle it as well. And make sure the leadrope snap is strong enough to withstand the pressure too.
Then, put up the chestbar and buttbar, and then CLOSE the ramp/doors. She can bust through the buttbar but she shouldn't be able to bust through the back doors, unless you have a crappy trailer, and if you have a crappy trailer, I'd suggest getting a different one that can handle your horse. Make sure she has hay, and then let the tantrum begin. With her tied up (make sure she can raise her head and everything, but she can't rear and hit the ceiling or get a leg caught in it), she can't turn around. Since you've reinforced the tie up ring and are using unbreakable halters/leadropes, she can't get free. She can't bust the buttbar down because the backdoors are in the way. She shouldn't be able to bust the divider down either (if she can, figure out how to reinforce it), but if she does, ignore her unless it looks super likely to cause injuries. Let her rear and scream and throw her fit. Only intervene if she's bleeding or otherwise injured. Eventually she'll calm down and realize she's not getting out.
Now that she knows she can get out, you need to make her understand that it will never happen again.
I'd suggest feeding her in the trailer every day. If she doesn't get in, she doesn't eat. Make her sit in there for some length of time each day. Ten min, etc.
rascalboy is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 12:58 PM
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My trainer has often suggested feeding the horse in the trailer. As in, the only way to get to grain or hay is to step into the trailers and eat it. It takes a few weeks, but I have seen a few trailer sour horses improve with this method.

We also give Acey a hay bag to munch during the ride. :). Thankfully, our mare loads and rides well. She's just always in a hurry to unload when we reach our destination!
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 01:11 PM
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Rascal, no disrespect, but that is also a good way to kill a horse. At best you are going to get a horse that is too terrified to resist the trailer, at worst you'll never get them in it again. What you will definitely get is a bruised and cut up horse with serious musculoskeletal problems and a basket of raw nerves. I have horses that flipped over the first time I tried to load them, over time with patience and real training they go in and stay in without being tied to anything.

I know you mean well, and I'm sure that this approach has "worked" for you, but with a bit of patience and some helpful guidance, it can be done better. We strive to avoid the rodeo approach. You may get your horse loaded before mine the first time, but I guarantee mine will trailer longer and after a couple weeks will go in quickly and safely, for the rest of their lives if no-one ruins them.
Just my opinion, and again no offence intended.
23hejduk likes this.

My Vet and Farrier are currently splitting my childeren's inheritance.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 01:20 PM
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It doesn't sound like a fear thing to me. It sounds like she realized she was in charge of when she gets out. Have you tried backing her out after a few minutes before she starts freaking out?
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 01:43 PM
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I like the idea of the hay bag for them to munch from during the ride. I , too, worry that if the horse stays in only due to a super strong tie , that one risks injury this time, and a horse that will remember and never get in again.

I would suggest the loading methods used by most of the NH trainers, wherein the horse is loaded and unloaded (in and out) many times when loading so that it understands that leaving is an option and become less anxious.
Sometimes the act of leaving the trailer (the step down) is so worrying to the horse that they are really wanting to get out immediately due to that. If they know it can be done easily, then maybe they will accept.

Dont know if this helps. I have little experience personally with trailering and have had some issues myself, so it makes me nervous and it transfers to Mac.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-18-2012, 04:53 PM
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Have you tried the pressure and release method? It works for getting a horse to load, I don't know if you could mayeb figure out a way to use this method to get her to stand in the trailer? Maybe something like this," Load the horse, when she goes to back out, give pressure, as soon as she responds to the pressure, release the pressure, when she goes to back out again, give pressure again and release when she gives to the pressure." I dunno?

Also, the method of loading and unloading multiple times works as well. Rather than only working with her when you want to go somewhere, take a few minutes every day to work with her. Load her, then immediately unload her. Load her, then immediately unload her. Do it for 10 minutes or so. After a few days, load her, wait a minute then unload her, load her, wait a minute then unload her, do it for 10 minutes... After a few days load her, wait 2 minutes then unload her, load her, wait 2 minutes then unload her... Eventually work up to her being loaded while you secure the buttbar, then unload her... Then work up to her being loaded while you secure the but bar and the back door, then unload her... Take baby steps over a few weeks until you can have her loaded and drive out of the driveway then back. Drive around the block, then back. Gradually lengthening the time she is loaded and trailering...
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-07-2012, 11:56 AM
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This sounds very very similar to my situation-except I have not tried shutting the doors yet. I am almost positive he will panic the same way. We used to practice in the neighbor's four horse (ours is two) and he walked in but the neighbor insisted we try to shut the butt bar....he panicked really badly and went under yr butt bar (breaking it) and ripping out the center piece with it. He ripped some skin off his back too. It healed
Just fine but it was horrible at the time to watch. I'm sorry I haven't written any advice but I know what you're going through and it sucks!
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-07-2012, 02:52 PM
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Have you tried loading her into a stock trailer? Maybe the tight spaces are making her claustrophoic. Stock trailers are way more "friendly". They can see out and you can give her as much or as little room as you like, they are better ventilated and have better lighting. I would imagine it must feel similar to going into an MRI tube. Some people are ok and others need to be sedated to go into one.
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