Teaching a Yearling to Back Out of the Trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching a Yearling to Back Out of the Trailer

I have a stud yearling who has honestly the best mind on him. He has an extremely sweet disposition and for everything else I have asked him to do, he’s done with no complaints. He stands tied on his own at shows, stands quiet for the farrier, leads quietly, bathes, ponies with other horses, and even lets me drag tarps on and around him without blinking an eye. He loads easily into the trailer as well but when it comes to getting out, he will only come out when he’s turned around and allowed to come out facing forward. He simply refuses to back out. He doesn’t throw a tantrum or act naughty he just plants his feet and won’t budge and even though he’s a baby, he still weighs a lot more than me! 😂 I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to persuade or teach him to back out nicely that won’t petrify him as I would like to keep him as calm as possible and definitely not instill any new fears in him especially regarding the trailer. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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I should also mention, he backs up fine on the ground when I’m leading him on trails and what not, it’s mostly just the trailer he is nervous to back out of as well as the wash rack sometimes.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 09:58 PM
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ramp or step down? did he have any kind of scary experience backing , or loading in the trailer? Can you train him to back off a drop off (like a curb) outside of the trailer first?
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 10:00 PM
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Take him to the trailer like you are going to load him and let him only put his front feet on the ramp or edge of the trailer and ask him to stop. After stopping with one or two front feet on the trailer ask him to back. Keep doing this until he is comfortable with it. After that, lead him up with the two front hooves and one back hoof and ask him to stop. Let him stand there for a moment and then ask him to back. Keep doing this until he is comfortable with it. Finally ask him to go all the way in and then back. See what happens with this, it might help to put it in little baby steps.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
ramp or step down? did he have any kind of scary experience backing , or loading in the trailer? Can you train him to back off a drop off (like a curb) outside of the trailer first?
Step down but he won’t even take one step backwards to get anywhere near the edge and has not had a traumatic incident with it so I don’t know why! I think it’s just a general fear of the uneven ground and not being able to see where he is going when he’s going backwards so I’m trying to figure out how to get him to even take one step back on his own without making him upset or nervous so he can see it’s okay! For everything else he had reservations about, as soon as he relented and realized it wasn’t going to kill him he became totally fine with it so I’m hoping the same will happen with this issue!
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-05-2020, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LoriF View Post
Take him to the trailer like you are going to load him and let him only put his front feet on the ramp or edge of the trailer and ask him to stop. After stopping with one or two front feet on the trailer ask him to back. Keep doing this until he is comfortable with it. After that, lead him up with the two front hooves and one back hoof and ask him to stop. Let him stand there for a moment and then ask him to back. Keep doing this until he is comfortable with it. Finally ask him to go all the way in and then back. See what happens with this, it might help to put it in little baby steps.
Thanks this is a good idea! I think more than anything he’s not confident or sure-footed since even on trails he doesn’t love walking downhill even going forwards so just a little practice in placing his feet will probably help! He’s still in that awkward gangly phase where he’s all legs 😂 He’s shot up like a weed since I got him and is a total goof.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 12:44 AM
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^Yep, assuming he is good - reliable & soft about backing up(& leading anywhere, for that matter) out of the trailer & it's due to him being afraid of it, don't ask so much of him that it causes him to be too concerned - as LoriF said, do it in 'baby steps', get him *comfortable* with the little steps along the way, before asking for slightly more.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 05:01 AM
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Also, remember that this doesn't have to happen all in one day. You can work with him two or three times a day for about ten or fifteen minutes. Get him really comfortable with one step before moving to the next.
You could try Tinyliny's idea also with the same baby steps at a time.

I have a mare that was afraid to step backwards even if the terrain changed. Example: From concrete to dirt same level though. Any other time she just backs up on request and is very light with cues.
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Last edited by LoriF; 08-06-2020 at 05:06 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 05:16 AM
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Maybe first try if he is any good at steping up and down from other things than trailer? Use a small platform to see if he is ok backing down from it, maybe raise it to the height of a the trailer to see if he is still ok going up and down. That would be my first step, but I am a cautious beginner.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 07:33 AM
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I'm not a trainer but what I read that makes much sense is...
Young, gangly and growing like a weed ......
So he is not quite sure of what belongs where and how to make all these weird parts of the body work together effortlessly yet...
Willing mind and goes where ever just not back off a trailer...
Use that mind to your advantage...
Take away the trailer for now and do some gentle backing over varied surfaces and heights where he can see clearly what is around him...
You are asking him so many complex things for a young mind to comprehend...
He can't see, he must trust...
He can't feel, he must trust...
He can hear and it scares him...he must trust..
He can smell and some is weird...he must trust..
Let him see, let him feel, let him hear and let him smell...and let him know all is OK as he learns each part = trust in you to keep him safe.
Add in baby steps as Lori suggested and gain that trust he must give to you...
Add in his crazy uncooperative body he is adjusting to...he just needs time and a baby step approach.
Don't overwhelm his mind or body in demands and remember to praise for every effort he tries and does for you. He needs to know he can trust you in every step of education you present to him, he is safe.
Baby steps in your approach...and he learns to trust more with every step new learned.
Till he associates you with trust and him being safe as a package together, he won't allow you to put him in a position where he not feel safe.

You will never out-muscle him so you must out-think him as you are already finding out.
Force never works, persuasion and that means he trusts, does work.

...
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