Trailer practice made my horse sore! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-24-2014, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Trailer practice made my horse sore!

I learned a good lesson about how a new exercise like trailer loading and unloading can make your horse sore. I read another poster saying his chiro said backing up wasn't good for his horse's back. Now, I believe I'm seeing the same kind of discomfort.

I'd been trailer practicing load/unload to get my horse to back up more calmly. He is doing that, though not taking alot of steps into the trailer. In the past he would run out. So I gave the trailer practicing a rest due to an upcoming show we had (today). My horse had both chiro and massage in the last week and he looked good to go. Yesterday he tripped behind in the canter, a first for him. I thought it was because he was strung out and it didn't happen again.

After my ride yesterday I felt that his back was tight at the loin area, and gave him a little rub. Today in the show during warm up he left his hindquarters behind again. My coach was not present and I had no eyes on the ground. We did ok for 2 classes (placed 2nd and 1st) but I think he must have been moving quite badly for the 3rd and 4th classes - I wish I could have seen him move-he felt ok but I noticed he wasn't getting his right lead.

So long story short, I pulled him from his last class and got him home. I felt his back and it feels tight...this is not usually him. So, I guess being an older horse the loading practices over time has made him tight. I feel like a bad mom, but now know. This is another reason why I wanted to begin unloading him walking forward but everyone says to have him back up.
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-25-2014, 12:55 AM
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I noticed in your other thread that he had been hitting his head when coming backwards out of the trailer. Personally that is a reason why I like walking one out forwards. I know others feel differently but I turn mine around and walk them out. If they hit their head once they get anxious about backing out and want to see where they are going, hence raising there head and more than likely hitting it again perpetuating the anxiety.
Don't feel bad about backing, he just isn't used to doing that much. Backing is hard work and really hard if he is backing upwards or downwards. I would give him some time to heal up before resuming trailer training.
Backing out or turning around and walking out is personal preference but it doesn't hurt for a horse to be familiar with both methods especially when hauling with someone else or different trailer, you just never know. Maybe switch it up to give him a break from backing in and out and you also might find he prefers one way or the other which might help him get over his trailering issues.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-25-2014, 01:36 AM
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In the old days when I was using my 2 horse straight load, I had a ramp put on it because I didn't like what I was seeing when my horses were backing out. Now I have a 2 horse slant load. I turn and lead my horses out of it and we're all a happy bunch.

While I recognize a horse needs to know how to back up for a variety of reasons, I have long wondered how good it is for a horse to back up either through long/fast training sessions (apparently Clinton Anderson backs his horses every where) or out of trailers.

In the end, he is your horse. If you think it is in his best interests to be lead out of your trailer, then do so. I hope he gets better soon.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-25-2014, 10:08 AM
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I've had them injure a shoulder going out forward. Anything can happen. My guess he is more sore from stepping up than backing out. That is a lot of weight to lift up. Just like if you had done some steep stairs that you were not used to. You may be sore
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-25-2014, 10:57 AM
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Any activity can result in sore muscles if overdone. Even seasoned athletes may become sore if they attempt an activity which uses their muscles in ways to which they are unaccustomed. Any new activity should be approached judiciously. Practice should be increased only as the body becomes more accustomed to the activity.

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post #6 of 6 Old 08-27-2014, 02:24 AM
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I, as do most of... Australia, to my knowledge... have a straight loader, so it is not at all a matter just of preference, unless there's only one horse aboard. And even then, turning in the float can be dangerous and also risk injury to them too, & very difficult for bigger horses. Regardless, I think teaching them both ways calmly is important, and I've never once had a physical problem with backing & trailering, to my knowledge. So I wouldn't jump to blame his soreness on just backing, unless he's got some other injury that would be exacerbated by backing. I think it sounds like, as last 2 said, that you just overdid the exercise. Short sessions are not only easier on the body, but IMO more effective for learning stuff too.
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