Trailer loading - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-25-2016, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Horse Poor View Post
Ever seen a horse fly out the back of a trailer without regard for anything behind him?
Yes, which is exactly why I don't restrain a horse until it is content to stand in the trailer on its own.
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 12:22 AM
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I'm not referring to tying in the trailer, I'm referring to "taking charge and backing him out" AFTER the horse has already made the decision to back (not you). IMHO, you run the RISK of teaching the horse that you actually want him to back faster. You are teaching him HOW you want him to back, not WHEN. It has to do with the horse anticipating his backing off, not WHEN (his decision) and your reinforcement of HIS decision with HOW you want that backing to happen. IOW, a horse could think "boy, it sure is a lot easier standing in this trailer than backing out and doing all that work!" Now you have a horse that may not WANT to back off. Conversely, he could just as easily think "I'm going to get this done and over with" so he begins to back faster in anticipation of your "taking charge" and backing him. Either way you have a horse that doesn't understand what you want from him. You need to be careful when you take a horse's "want to" away. You DO want him to want to back for you, you just need to let him know WHEN, as well as HOW, you want it done.

Just my .02 worth…your mileage may vary.

Last edited by Horse Poor; 04-26-2016 at 12:30 AM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 03:34 AM
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but, Horse Poor, do you agree that after the horse has chosen to back out, and you let it, that makeing it work outside of the trailer for a bit, then offering it the choice of going back in again is a good approach?
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post #14 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Horse Poor View Post
I'm referring to "taking charge and backing him out" AFTER the horse has already made the decision to back (not you). IMHO, you run the RISK of teaching the horse that you actually want him to back faster.
OK, I see your point and I think that's worth considering. So far, even I haven't been able to confuse a horse that much. And I never try to hurry a horse off a trailer, so I probably didn't say that as clearly as I should have.
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post #15 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 01:27 PM
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When I have taught horses to load, when they start backing out on their own, I do nothing until they are out. Then I'll ask them to load back up. This goes on until the horse stands quietly for a moment (or more) until I ask them to back out. When I ask them to back out, I put slight pressure on the lead rope and say "Back". Once they start to step back I release the pressure. One step at a time until they they are all the way out. Now, I just have to do it at the start and they will back all the way out.

If they blast out, I'll load them up again and then start backing one step at a time, stopping a minute between steps until they are backing out at a reasonable speed and quietly.

The only time I'll work one outside the trailer after they have blasted out of it, is if they do not load right back up when I ask.

This has worked very well for me. As stated by others, though, there are (many) different ways to do it.
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post #16 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 01:41 PM
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thank you for that clear explanation, Kew
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
but, Horse Poor, do you agree that after the horse has chosen to back out, and you let it, that makeing it work outside of the trailer for a bit, then offering it the choice of going back in again is a good approach?
I see nothing wrong with it, but it isn't what *I* would do if my goal is to teach him to stand IN the trailer until I cue him to back. I want the trailer, and around the trailer, to be a good calm place to be. Timing is everything. I would immediately reload so that he has a better chance at understanding what I want, and that is him IN the trailer…not out of it. You could work him outside of the trailer, but I think it would be harder for him to make the connection between what he did "wrong" (backing out) and what I want him to do (stay IN the trailer). I guess what I'm trying, and failing at, is to convey the need to make sure that when you are fixing one problem, be sure you are not unintentionally creating another. Personally, I agree with the other posters and think if the OP teaches the horse to stand tied properly, her trailer problem will disappear.
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Joel Reiter View Post

Instead, load him up and the second he starts to back out, you take charge and back him out. Once he's out of the trailer keep backing him all the way to the property line or lunge him for a little bit and then load him again. The second he starts to back out, do it all over again. At some point he will think, "boy, it sure is a lot easier standing in this trailer than backing out and doing all that work!"
Joel I would disagree with your advice simply because it skips steps. OP should not be loading horse completely until he/she has 100% control of the feet at all times. The horse shouldn't be deciding to back off the trailer; the handler is the one that is deciding when and where to move the feet. So that by the time you DO get to the point of loading the horse fully, the horse isn't going to back out on their own because you've prepared them for that moment. They are going to wait for your next cue.

Which strangely, my next cue WOULD be to back them off. If you also take a moment to read the link I posted, the method that's worked for me is one foot on, one foot off. Repeat 5,000 times. Then two feet on, two feet off. Repeat 10,000 times. Then three feet on; three feet off. And finally, when you load all 4 feet, you are going to ask them (before they even think about it) to take all 4 feet off.

It's amazing when you keep asking them to go on and off a million times that they just CRAVE staying ON the trailer and will gladly stand in there and wait for you, and hope you don't make them back off again!

Just as I don't want the horse to decide to back off the trailer (until I ask them to) I also do NOT want them to load themselves until I ask them to.

Again, it actually has very little to do with the trailer itself. It's simply an "obstacle" that you are working with and putting your horse's feet on and off it. Basic ground work with foot control!

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post #19 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 04:38 PM
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If you also take a moment to read the link I posted, the method that's worked for me is one foot on, one foot off. Repeat 5,000 times. Then two feet on, two feet off. Repeat 10,000 times. Then three feet on; three feet off. And finally, when you load all 4 feet, you are going to ask them (before they even think about it) to take all 4 feet off.
See, I don't understand this. Why would I care about which feet are being placed where rather than allowing those feet to go the proper direction? WHY would I want to confuse a horse with one foot, two feet, three feet, four feet? For some reason, Dr. Seuss comes to mind. To me, this is needless piddling. If I want him to walk in, I want him to walk in…not hesitate or worry about which foot I want where. ie. TODAY we're only putting one foot on, now two, etc. Why not just allow them walk in when you ask them too. Isn't that what you really want? What am I missing?

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post #20 of 26 Old 04-26-2016, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Joel I would disagree with your advice simply because it skips steps.
Yes, I totally endorse your approach and I was abbreviating too much. A horse that has practiced loading and unloading one foot at a time is very unlikely to bang its head or skin its leg getting in and out of a trailer.

Of all the ways for a horse to be disfigured by scars, the one that strikes me as most negligent after barbed wire is trailer loading accidents.
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