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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! So I have a slight problem. We got a new horse a couple months and when she arrived she seemed trailered fine. Well we just bough a new straight load trailer and we went to trailer My horses star and Anne. Anne trailered fine as we have had her for years and knew she would. However we had problems with star. The first day we tried we couldn’t get her in the trailer. We tried using treats and loading anne first. I tried opening both side doors to create more light and even walking through the trailer hoping she would follow. None of these worked as she is fearful of it. When she puts any more than just her head in the trailer she starts backing up quickly and won’t go in. The problem is in 1 week I am supposed to be giving a presentation with her and an FFA event. She is an extremely gentle and kid friendly horse, But this trailer fear is a problem. Is there any way I can work with her to make her load in a week? I don’t want to push her into the trailer as that will only cause more problems! Thank you guys so much!
 

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What kind of trailer did the horse arrive in?
Does your straight load have a moving center divider or a fixed straight bar between stalls?
Step-up or ramp?
Is it tall enough and wide enough the horse comfortably fits?

If the trailer has a moving center divider, move it....
Slide it to the side so the horse does not feel claustrophobic...
2 people to load and you need competent handling...
Once the horse has gone it, person at the tail needs to quietly slide and secure that center divider and butt chain/bar immediately.
Step off the trailer and close the back up before the person at the head secures and moves away from that area...no leaving the horse till all is secured shut.

You need to do some practicing with a makeshift "close confined stall" like your trailer has.
Something the horse will follow you in and through, back out of...
A very knowledgeable person once said that horses that don't load have issue of groundwork and going where led...
Are you leading or trying to "send" the horse cause that might be part of the issue right there for now too.

I didn't watch the video...I'm not a fan of many of "today's" hyped trainers....
Knowing who suggested it gives me a greater sense it is good teachings but...
It all comes down to going where lead, respecting and trusting the handler...
How you are going to address this with a time deadline, the feeling pressure is going to work against you...
Take the pressure, take the tenseness off of you...and the horse might walk right in.

Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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It is the time pressure you are putting on her that is the problem. She knows this, as your adrenaline is flowing, and she smells it. This signals her flight response.
First, you must decide there is NO time limit. Then walk her up, back her up. (before she steps in) always back her up BEFORE she decides to. Walk her up. , stop, let her stand, back her up. When she puts a foot in, say good girl, back her up.

All of this must be done matter-of-fact, and quickly, with ZERO “easyhoneyitsokwerenotgoingtoletthatmonstergetyouwhoaeasy” !

Continue until she gets in, and continue backing her out, then let her stand and feed her. She should be good.

ETA: do not use that CA method with all that circling unless you and your horse are VERY experience in that method. That just makes the horse a nervous wreck, and it doesn’t work....ask my friend who lent her horse as a CA test subject at Kentucky Horse Park....she had to come into the arena to catch the horse!!
 

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I'm not a Clinton Anderson fan, so not sure about that video, but I will tell you this:

Honestly, it may take more than a week. Trailer training takes patience & time. There's no easy way out.

I did trailer training with my mare for 2wks. She was pretty afraid of it, as she had been beaten to get on it many times in the past from my old BO. She'd walk up to it, then just shut down.

Let her sniff it. Let her put her head in. If she backs up, get out, walk her around and try again. And again and again.

Pressure, release. If she even takes a step forward, PRAISE HER! PRAISE.
You can't be frustrated or anxious while doing this, as it will only make it worse. Sounds like she is reacting to the vibes you are giving off.

When you take her around to it again and again, make her work a bit. Back her up first, then walk her up to it. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your replies. I tried the video in the earlier stages of her fear as I have been working with her on it for about a week now. We have a step up trailer but it’s not a removable divider. I have gotten her to the point where she will calmly put her head inside the trailer and relax, but she won’t move more and step up in it. Any advice for getting her to step up? She is relaxed around the trailer and now with up to her shoulders in it, but she won’t step up
 

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That is a start. Just keep working at it. Encourage her to step in, guide her. Pressure, release.
She will eventually step up. Even if she just steps up once, that's a start. Getting her comfortable with it is the first step, and it looks like you have completed that step. Now just take it up a notch. Increase the pressure on the lead, don't release it until she moves. You can click a little if you want too. Even if she steps forward or puts her foot up there, release. That is rewarding her (the release).

You can also encourage with treats. :)
 

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My gut says make her want to get in it...feed her in it.
But don't close her in...
Make the place and space have good things happen here for her...
She gets her grain in the trailer...
Front feet in first she gets to eat...then she gets in or backs out her will...
A few meals such as this she will follow you in as she sees her feed bucket/pan in your hands...
No pressure but her belly should win out and in she go...


Is the trailer wide enough she can get in without rubbing her shoulders on the door or divider?
Make darn sure the trailer stall length is long enough for her body or forget the entire thing as it is a disaster you don't want to make happen...
It is also tall enough when she does step up she won't hit her head?
Horses have a sense about them fitting or not, or at least mine do...
Friend was going to trailer us someplace...my horse gets in anything...
Refused and refused again and not moving those feet...
I got after him, he got in and didn't fit but did it cause I said he had to...:icon_rolleyes:
We took my trailer instead...horse knew best!
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Try bait first. A line of SMALL carrot pieces or bits of alfalfa leading into the trailer so the first ones are easy and the last ones she has to step up to get at. She will back up out of there to eat the farther back pieces. Just let her do that. But keep at it. Have the other horse in the trailer, open all the doors you can, and keep up the line of carrots, do not pressure her, until she will go all the way in and stand and eat something really great and back out when she's done in a relaxed way. Don't close her in at this point, that might be what she fears.

Keep feeding her in that stationary trailer (make sure it is hooked to the truck!) as many times a day as you can manage.

This passive, no pressure, rewards method works for many uncomplicated cases of trailer fear if you don't rush it. Take a book or something.

Hopefully you have an uncomplicated case.

Remember the sage old adage about livestock: "if you have fifteen minutes it will take all day, if you have all day it will take fifteen minutes." Truer words were never spoken.
 

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I'm not a Clinton Anderson fan, so not sure about that video, but I will tell you this:

Honestly, it may take more than a week. Trailer training takes patience & time. There's no easy way out.

I did trailer training with my mare for 2wks. She was pretty afraid of it, as she had been beaten to get on it many times in the past from my old BO. She'd walk up to it, then just shut down.

Let her sniff it. Let her put her head in. If she backs up, get out, walk her around and try again. And again and again.

Pressure, release. If she even takes a step forward, PRAISE HER! PRAISE.
You can't be frustrated or anxious while doing this, as it will only make it worse. Sounds like she is reacting to the vibes you are giving off.

When you take her around to it again and again, make her work a bit. Back her up first, then walk her up to it. Good luck!!



I am NOT a huge fan of Anderson, but. J who helps me, and is seen in the video below working with Sarge, has been to one of his trailer loading clinics. She and a friend of hers took friends insane mare to the clinic. The mare proved to truly have a problem and it took Anderson two or three hours of working directly with her to get her to load. He admitted she was the worst case he'd ever seen, so much so the video was actually featured on his website (By subscription though, so I don't have access to it).


HOWEVER. His method DOES WORK for most horses. Sarge, Gina, and AJ all refused to load in my slant. Stock trailer, NP. Slant? OH HECK NO. This is how I got my fingers broke by Gina.


The below video is J, using the Anderson method, which involves lunging them so their arcs come around to face the trailer. You let up when they show a willingness to even think about getting in. Once they put a single foot in, you let up, praise, love on them, make that area a place where No Work happens. She said he teaches that you want a horse to fight you to Go In, not Not Go In. They associate the inside of the trailer with Do Nothing.



Gina took the longest, maybe 40 minutes.


Sarge took about 20, and while she IS jerking on him in the video, he was continually wanting to ignore her and focus on the other horses, in the other pasture, and run to them. She at one point lets him, and he appears to be dragging her. Once he got over there, he paid for his choice with more work. By the end result video, he was absolutely focused on her, only her, and the trailer was the place he wanted to be and STAY.


Sarge being Naughty about loading and b.s.ing with his buds.




Sarge Loading Class:




End Result:




Here's Gina's End Result:


 
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The bottom line though is you must know what you are doing to use the techniques shown on a video...
If you have a horse with possibly multiple issues then those issues need worked with each individually till you can use one now non-issue to now assist in fixing the next issue...
Like building a house...
A firm foundation or the top is going to lean and probably topple over...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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The bottom line though is you must know what you are doing to use the techniques shown on a video...
If you have a horse with possibly multiple issues then those issues need worked with each individually till you can use one now non-issue to now assist in fixing the next issue...
Like building a house...
A firm foundation or the top is going to lean and probably topple over...
:runninghorse2:...


Yes, thank you. I should have said that and didn't.

The Friend's Horse that went to the clinic? She had a compound problem. She'd been in a trailer accident prior to J's Friend purchasing her. The previous owners had just drugged her up to load her, and at other times, had simply let her get away with being a rude pig. So - she was a rude pig + genuinely suffering equine PTSD.

Friend bit off more than she could chew by buying this mare, they had to drag her into the trailer like you're dragging a bull, and then she tried to tear the trailer apart.

Anderson himself had hell with her and he knows what he's doing.

Someone who doesn't know what they're doing (Like me) could make a giant issue even worse with a horse that just doesn't wanna. A horse that doesn't wanna because of legitimate fear and anxiety + someone with poor sense of timing could cause a horrible problem.

I myself would not have tried what is in the videos because I don't have a good enough sense of pressure and release yet and I have no shame admitting it. J herself isn't perfect, but she's a long haul away better than I am.

So, caveat, OP: Know what you're doing and if you don't, get someone who does.
 

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I had a big bossy warmblood mare that was not going in the trailer, I got the John Lyons how to load a horse video and followed those instructions. It took a couple or three days and she was loading, then I fed her her grain every evening in the trailer and she would practically walk over you to get in the trailer after that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you guys so much! I realize i forgot to mention that I stopped using the CA method as I felt I didn’t have enough experience to use it correctly. Also yes the trailer is wide and tall and long enough for her. We have a horse much bigger than her that fits perfectly in it. When she gets in she won’t hit her head or her shoulder on anything. I will defiantly try the feeding grain in the trailer as Star will do about anything for grain!
 

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Thank you guys so much! I realize i forgot to mention that I stopped using the CA method as I felt I didn’t have enough experience to use it correctly. Also yes the trailer is wide and tall and long enough for her. We have a horse much bigger than her that fits perfectly in it. When she gets in she won’t hit her head or her shoulder on anything. I will defiantly try the feeding grain in the trailer as Star will do about anything for grain!

I had to teach one of my horses to trailer in order to take her to the trainers last year and I had never done that before. I did watch the CA trailering video and though I didn't do everything he did I did take some of things he said and started working with her.
One thing he said was if you have a step up some horses get scared when they first step in the trailer because of the noise it makes. So he suggested making a wooden platform for the horse to step up on and walk over so when they step up into a trailer they are not startled. So my husband made one and on the first try my mare walked right up and over it. Of course I walked first and she followed.
I then backed my trailer to an area that I could set up a small paddock. I opened and tied the back door as the trailer is like a stock one. Then I let her out in the paddock so she could nose around the trailer and see what it was all about.
After a couple of days I started feeding her in it. At first she would put one foot in and then stop, but after 20 mins the fact that her food was in there was too much for her and she stepped on carefully looking around, but made it all the way on. I just stood in the front and let her see that nothing bad was going to happen. I did this for one month and on the day we went to the trainer she walked in and ended up being perfectly fine. Well she didn't want to get off at first, but I just stood at her side and backed out with her.
I know she needs more work with trailer, but she's done well with the few times we have trailered her.
Honestly time and patience is what it took. Best of luck to you.

 

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Hello! So I have a slight problem. We got a new horse a couple months and when she arrived she seemed trailered fine. Well we just bough a new straight load trailer and we went to trailer My horses star and Anne. Anne trailered fine as we have had her for years and knew she would. However we had problems with star. The first day we tried we couldn’t get her in the trailer. We tried using treats and loading anne first. I tried opening both side doors to create more light and even walking through the trailer hoping she would follow. None of these worked as she is fearful of it. When she puts any more than just her head in the trailer she starts backing up quickly and won’t go in. The problem is in 1 week I am supposed to be giving a presentation with her and an FFA event. She is an extremely gentle and kid friendly horse, But this trailer fear is a problem. Is there any way I can work with her to make her load in a week? I don’t want to push her into the trailer as that will only cause more problems! Thank you guys so much!

You assumed she knew how to load. Clearly she doesn't. She needs to be trained.


Now, with that said, it's really not about "teaching your horse to load". It is about your horse having good ground manners and good ground training. So that when you ask them to move their body somewhere, they will do it without question -- even if you are asking them to move their body into a horse trailer. The object itself doesn't really matter. It's the fact that your horse trusts and respects you to do what you want.


Of course, be very careful when you on a timeline. In general, when people are on a timeline, they tend to push/rush the horse faster than they are ready. And you are right -- if you push her too fast, you will set yourself back with more problems.



Thank you guys so much! I realize i forgot to mention that I stopped using the CA method as I felt I didn’t have enough experience to use it correctly. Also yes the trailer is wide and tall and long enough for her. We have a horse much bigger than her that fits perfectly in it. When she gets in she won’t hit her head or her shoulder on anything. I will defiantly try the feeding grain in the trailer as Star will do about anything for grain!

Personally, I really like CA's method for trailer loading because IT WORKS. However, with that said, he gets a horse to trailer load in an hour and he is very aggressive about it as a result. The normal person at home is not going to load their horse the first time in an hour, nor do I recommend it. So, take the overall method from CA with a grain of salt, tone it down, and use it in a way that works for you. You can still take the basic concept of approach-and-retreat and make it work for you.



I wrote up this trailer loading post quite a while back. Take a read. It may help you. Take 10 minutes a day to work on ground work. One foot in and one foot out. Repeat 1,000 times. You can do that with a blue tarp on the ground, or a log, or the back of the trailer. The object really doesn't matter. It's about learning to have absolute control over that one foot. When you have control over one foot, then do TWO feet in and two feet out and repeat 1,000 times. Etc and so on. But my post has more detail on that.



Personally, I do NOT like using food to bribe my horse to do something. Because what will happen when they aren't hungry? You haven't trained your horse; you've just bribed them with food.


Again, I understand you are on a time crunch so you might have to make an exception. But know that there is a risk that she won't load in the trailer when it is time for you go home .... and then what? (Trust me, I've been in that position before and it's not a fun one .... before I became confident with trailer loading.)
 

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Personally, I do NOT like using food to bribe my horse to do something. Because what will happen when they aren't hungry? You haven't trained your horse; you've just bribed them with food.

I made the suggestion of food as a reward and incentive to go in the trailer as, well my horses when they eat are a pretty relaxed state of being, thinking if the horse can eat here and not be a reason for anxiousness it might aide the poster in the reduction of "fear"....
And yes, refusal to load is a handling issue...
Also a respect issue...
So often those two words...respect and handling...are cause and result of having it or not in working with our animals...
We think we have "it", but when you suddenly find out you don't is often now what do you do situation.
:runninghorse2:....
 

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That trailer loading post by @beau159 is good info, study that. I'm a big fan of the 'one foot at a time method.' All I have to add is that you will be sorry if you rush it or take shortcuts. You'll pay in the future. She sounds like a nice horse, so take the time to get her solid on this.

IMO a little straight load trailer takes more time but I've taught some pretty big quarter horses to ride in one. Don't have that issue anymore and I was so happy to get my little stock trailer! If you are calm + deliberate and your timing with reward/release is good, it might go quicker than you think, as long as the behavior hasn't escalated too much.

My worst problems were horses that hauled a lot in larger trailers and then I had to train them down to a small straight load.
 

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Hello! So I have a slight problem. We got a new horse a couple months and when she arrived she seemed trailered fine. Well we just bough a new straight load trailer and we went to trailer My horses star and Anne. Anne trailered fine as we have had her for years and knew she would. However we had problems with star. The first day we tried we couldn’t get her in the trailer. We tried using treats and loading anne first. I tried opening both side doors to create more light and even walking through the trailer hoping she would follow. None of these worked as she is fearful of it. When she puts any more than just her head in the trailer she starts backing up quickly and won’t go in. The problem is in 1 week I am supposed to be giving a presentation with her and an FFA event. She is an extremely gentle and kid friendly horse, But this trailer fear is a problem. Is there any way I can work with her to make her load in a week? I don’t want to push her into the trailer as that will only cause more problems! Thank you guys so much!
Honestly, I'd get her to fully 100% trust you. IF she's as gentle as you say she is, I'd start to do blindfold work. :) get her to walk around blindfolded trusting only you. Then i'd slowly work up to the trailer (Did it with my horse) and not really bring her in or make any loud noises but just let her walk up to it, then take it off, give her a break for a few hours, then try again every time bringing her in a little bit. IF she freaks out, take the blindfold off fast but try again. (Only take it off so she can see where she is going) work on her lifting her legs with your help, work on her trusting only you. Eventually she'll be willing to go in :)

A straight load is scary for any horse, it's narrow, and looks like a black hole.

I'm not sure if you could get her to load in less then a week, but with work and letting her trust in you (Seeing as she's new) she might just let you load her :)
 
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