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post #11 of 18 Old 04-09-2017, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
I correct the true problem away from the trailer. The obstacle is not the Obstacle!
Yeah, as said, mostly agree with that. At least until a horse has had some inadvertent lessons(as this one's had) at finding out that the trailer, stocks, whatever... IS an emotional 'obstacle'. Fear can indeed attach itself to certain obstacles. I sus that if you think it is ONLY about 'leading', regardless of 'scary' situations, then you're underestimating the horses also first seeing you as a worthy, trustworthy leader.

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While that ' going with the hrose, as be backs from the trailer, then asking again, rinse and repeat, might work at times, but I have seen horses where the game goes on endlessly. Soon as the owner gets that hrose up tot hat trailer, the horse backs up, or goes to either side of the door.
Yeah, it's always worked for me, but it is but a smallish *part* of the whole approach. I think when that doesn't work is when people don't make the Right Thing easy enough, &/or don't make the Wrong Thing hard enough - they keep trying to get too much at once, don't release/reward well enough along the way, &/or there is not enough 'pressure' kept on the horse to make the backing away choice uncomfortable - something to avoid. As for the horse trying to go around the sides(or anywhere but), I just keep the pressure on until they make the Right choice. Eg. horse walks around the side, I will keep strongish halter pressure on, while swinging the rope at his hind end to put more 'pressure' on him being there & get him to turn around. Second he starts to 'come', all pressure is released until he's lined up again - or he goes the other way & finds 'pressure' again.
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-10-2017, 12:44 AM
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I am , of course not talking of problem horses, that someone else messed up, where you do have to go back to some very basic steps,including gaining trust< BUT,in all the hroses we raised over the years, that were taught to lead and tie, were 100% on giving to pressure, None ever refused to load, even that very first time.
Often, first time those hroses were trailered, go to a vet, going to their first show, going for their first mountain trail ride , or, to a new home.
I never practiced trailer loading.
It is also important, if you do have ahorse with an unknown past history, that you figure out as to whether that horse truly has a fear factor, or is using that refusal in a similar manner as some horses that have learned to use spooking to get out of work
That is why I gave those two old broodmares , a tune up , away from the trailer, as I knew they had trailered before, and also, knew they were 'pigs', when led, having arrived that way, when dropped off to be bred, while, declared to just 'love people', ie, walk all over them, try to charge ahead, ect.
Obviously,if a horse with a past history, had a true fear factor, for whatever reason, my approach would be different. I would hopefully work on that hole, before needing to trailered, or even asking the horse to load
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-10-2017, 01:41 AM
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^Yup, ezacly! And your youngsters no doubt had enough training & trust in you by the time you went near the trailer...
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-18-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Update: Hubby worked with Seven for about 3 hours a couple days ago and got him in the trailer...twice. Im not sure exactly how he did it, hubby said he finally was more forceful. Those first couple hours I think was mostly desensitizing. Seven would get his head in the trailer and stay there for a few minutes, and received a few bites of hay. When he would back away, hubby would take him in a circle and back to the trailer. I couldnt watch, so I stayed inside the house. He said he finally just wouldnt let Seven pull away. Once he got in the trailer he got to eat. He took him back out, and right back in and closed the doors. Seven was doing some strange grunting but he never flailed while in there. He backed out of the trailer very smoothly. Im thinking that when we want to trailer the horses somewhere, were going to have to start practicing a couple days in advance.

On another note: we almost bought a third horse...had my boss give him the once-over and figured he had foundered in the front and had some swelling in the joints. He went back to his owner. I dont know enough about geriatric horses (19y.o. or so) and couldnt be responsible for causing additional injury or pain to an animal.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-18-2017, 08:28 PM
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^Sounds fine to me except for the 3 hours. Lots too much. I'd do that time over at least 6 sessions. The pulling back, while also likely relating to some fear, is part of your leading training - the horse needs to learn better to give to pressure from the halter & not resist it. How does he tie up? I wouldn't be tying him firm until he's very reliable at that, in whatever situation.

I like to start 'tie up' training with a long rope just wrapped around a rail, or use a 'tie ring'. That way, you can keep hold of the end of the rope, put pressure on when needed, there is a bit of leverage, but if the horse does panic & pull back, he won't come up against hard pressure & feel trapped, but he won't get away either.

Sounds like your husband worked out when to be firm. Great! That the horse is happy to eat in the trailer tells me that he isn't too afraid of being there - he wouldn't eat if he were scared. Getting 'firm' with a scared, reactive horse can be tricky, can make matters worse if you're not careful, but getting firm with a horse who's saying 'no don't wanna!' is a very important lesson for them!

Instead of planning to 'practice' for 2 weeks before a journey, I'd be aiming to do a little with him regularly. Every day if possible. Don't make it a Big Thing, just incorporate the trailer as one small part of your leading training - lead him over an obstacle, around one, into the trailer, back to something else.... make it a non-event.
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post #16 of 18 Old 04-19-2017, 11:29 AM
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You could also try something called the Trust Technique which was developed by a guy called James French. Basically you get your horse into a super relaxed frame of mind which helps to build trust between you and the horse. By getting them into a reduced thinking state they are much more open to things like getting into trailers.

So maybe by standing near the trailer and using the Trust Technique it would relax Seven enough to be able to just walk him in gently. I'm sure there is a video on the Trust Technique website showing this. I'd definitely recommend it if you are into the natural, peaceful way of working, rather than using force.
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-19-2017, 12:07 PM
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I sympathize on your trailer troubles. My horse was a fantastic self-loader for years that I owned him. Then one day we were using an unfamiliar trailer and I have no idea what snapped in his head to make him say - "nope." I definitely babied him and at the time figured he was scared or something spooked him (and this trailer was immaculate, big, bright, open and full of hay). I let him walk all over me and then sought out some help when we got home after that awful trip (literally 2 hours trying to get him in the trailer, of course at a big time show with hundreds of people watching and judging). I worked with this great trainer who took one look at him and said - "honey, he's not scared, he's just playing YOU." Once I stopped looking at him like he was a scared little baby, and more like he was being a little pain in the you-know-what it was a heck of a lot easier getting him on. It was in MY head - not his.

Truthfully - hauling makes me nervous after I witnessed a trailer accident years before I ever owned my horse. Looking back - I'm positive his energy was just reading off of my nervous energy and while he wasn't necessarily scared of the trailer, he was just thinking "mom is worried about something - I better be worried too!"
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-20-2017, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
^Sounds fine to me except for the 3 hours. Lots too much. I'd do that time over at least 6 sessions. The pulling back, while also likely relating to some fear, is part of your leading training - the horse needs to learn better to give to pressure from the halter & not resist it. How does he tie up? I wouldn't be tying him firm until he's very reliable at that, in whatever situation.
Heres the funny thing...we use the horse trailer to tie the horses to tack up. Seven never bats an eye. He will even stick his head IN the manger looking for scraps while were brushing him or tacking up! Hes a great horse in EVERY respect, except getting in the trailer. Hes got such a nonchalant demeanor. Hes not bothered by loud sounds, tarps, shadows, birds flushing right in front of him.
As far as the amount of time he spent, its not surprising. My husband is DETERMINED. When faced with a challenge like this, he will work diligently until its not a challenge anymore. Im really proud of him for staying calm and not getting mad at the horse. He ended on a positive note and earned more trust from his horse.
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