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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3 year old mustang gelding, he is broke to ride. He has been trained using the Clinton Anderson Method, Cris Cox , and some Parelli Training. I have started trailer training and i'm on week two and completely stuck.

I have used the trailer training techniques used by Clinton, Cox and Parelli and my horse will NOT put those back legs and hop in. I have worked him around the trailer, pointing and sending, keeping him moving, and showing him the trailer he gets to rest. He puts both front hooves in and his head and neck and just stands there very calm. I try to tap his butt to push him forward and I get no response with firm pressure, i up the pressure and really try to push him in and he totally resists the whip and backs up with panic. I have tried treats, hay, trying to feed and water him in the trailer. Im getting absolutely nowhere with him. I have never trailer trained a mustang before but ive successfully trained many horses in the trailer.

Please someone give me some advice and techniques i can try, the more pressure i put on him the more he resists, the less pressure i give him he just hope in halfway and WILL NOT MOVE FORWARD.
 

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How big and what type of trailer are you using? Did you pick him up in a trailer or was he shipped to you? Wondering if he had a bad experience and is afraid to step all the way on.
 

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If you have a two horse closed trailer, that’s likely the issue. Many normal, domestic horses don’t like those closed quarters, I can well imagine a Mustang who has been in the wilds, would like it even less:)

Years ago, I got rid of my two horse shortly after I bought it and invested in a 4-horse open stock, straight load. I used to haul a lot of 4-Horses to the fair that flat out refused to walk onto a two horse.

I realize you can’t go out and buy a stock trailer and the truck to pull it, I’m just suggesting a 2-3 horse trailer, even if it’s a slant, is probably way too confining for the Mustang.

He also might not trust the security of the floor boards.

1. He needs a lot of patience. I would go back to feeding him in there and start at the beginning.

Set the feed pan on the floor, a little further in each time.Just before he’s done eating, ask him to back out before he wants to, even if his back legs did not get on the trailer.

2. The other thing that might work but probably won’t, is to put a well seasoned hauler in the trailer first. It would help if that horse were a pasture mate of your horse.

3. Then there is the “tie one end of a long rope to the horse trailer and run the rope behind the horse’s butt, applying light pressure to the butt”. That usually takes two people and also usually only works on a horse that has loaded before but doesn’t feel like it today.

It may be an option that will really get your horse to resist and you’ll never get him to load.


4. If you do know someone with an open stock trailer, ask if they will bring it, along with a seasoned horse, and see if he will be more inclined to think about loading on that:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i picked him up in the same trailer im using. its a two horse step up trailer. warm blood height, and i took out the divider making it more open for him.

hes only been trailer ed twice in his life, first time was when he was shipped to Florida from the plains in utah, and then the second time was when i picked him up from a barn he was delivered to.

when i picked him up he had to be corralled into the trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the two horse trailer, i took the divider out and its quite roomy, its also warmblood height and i open the windows so its not dark. but ill try your suggestions.
 

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If you have someone to drive for you, get ing the trailer by yourself and have someone drive down the road, at highway speed, and see if there are any odd noises/ rattles that would scare him.

Also, one of my best leaders refused to get in my trailer for his trip to the vet. Even though DH had put in a new floor, two years previous, the trailer has to sit outside in the moist humid SE climate.

I asked him to humor me and check the boards. Sure enough there was rot started at the back of the trailer.

He replace all of the flooring. I walked my horse to the trailer and gave him plenty of time to sniff and check the ne floor out, which he did, lol

When he put one leg upon his own, I said “get up in there” and he did.

That was the only time I ever had issues with that horse loading, so be sure your floor is rock solid:)

I hope you can get him loading. The worst one I ever had was my Arab/saddlebred who did not like close spaces — it took me three months, working every day with his claustrophobic self, to get him all the way in the trailer. That is when I traded the 2-horse out for the stock trailer:)
 

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One thought is that maybe all the way on the trailer is not necessary all in one session. I've never had this exact problem but something that could possibly work is to break it up into smaller goals and quit for the day when he reaches them. Maybe it would be a really big deal for him to get all the way to his hind quarters on the trailer for example.

Martin Black has an interesting verbal exercise where asks a clinic participant to draw an A. Then he keeps asking them to draw an A another 10 or 12 times with no other direction or clarification. He just repeats "name, draw an a". What tends to happen is the person gets frustrated and confused trying to figure out what Martin wants them to do. They try capitol A, little a, cursive a, a great big A, writing something like "An A". The point, which I'll never forget is how confusing and even frustrating it is to be asked to do the same thing over and over again with no change or acknowledgement if you are doing it right.
 

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I would remove the trailer all-together, because the #1 cause, I've found, for a horse not trailering is usually a missing puzzle piece somewhere along the way. The not-so-fun part is finding this missing puzzle piece in order to complete the puzzle of trailer loading.

Can you send him between a narrow space? Can you send him into a dark stall? Can you send him up inclines? Are you able to send him onto a trail obstacle bridge? Can you send him towards a wall? Can you close a door behind his bum?


I have not trained a mustang, but I have trained a mare that was unhandled, untouchable, and uncatchable for over a year - the last time she had been in a trailer, she was corralled and forced in with a foal at her side. When I had to get her into a trailer, she was barely halter broke, and had about 10 minutes of training on 'sending' on her, and the cherry-on-top was that she had the nasty little trick of doing a 180 and bolting.

My method was to park the trailer alongside an electric fence - this gave me a barrier on her off-side in case she would try to bolt around the other side of the trailer. There was also a fence about 20 feet behind her as well, so if she tried doing her little trick of spinning and bolting, the room she had to do so was limited. I had a carrot stick, rope halter, long lead, and a pair of gloves. If you aren't already using gloves while loading, get a pair.

I stood opposite the fence, and made sure to remain behind her shoulder, nearer to her hindquarters - this is key. You want to have your foot on the gas pedal, not be tapping the brake. You need to up the pressure, while using your position to keep him from going backwards. At this point, you need to keep him going forwards, even if that means he exits the trailer and starts circling around you instead. As soon as a horse, especially a mustang, learns an out, he will use it again and again. You need to break this cycle of him backing away in a panic.

Forward is the answer, back is not.


Please do not put a rope around his bum and try to pull him in. He will always be bigger and stronger, and I think this is a great way to make it even harder to get him into a trailer.
 
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Hi & welcome to the forum,

I have a 3 year old mustang gelding, he is broke to ride. He has been trained using the Clinton Anderson Method, Cris Cox , and some Parelli Training. I have started trailer training and i'm on week two and completely stuck.
Firstly, 'stubborn' is not likely to have anything to do with it, but fear has. Secondly, don't know Chris Cox, but Anderson is VERY MUCH too confrontational & aggressive IME, and his 'methods' will have caused more fear in the horse. Parelli... depends how you put his principles into practice, can be too aggressive too.

I have worked him around the trailer, pointing and sending, keeping him moving, and showing him the trailer he gets to rest. He puts both front hooves in and his head and neck and just stands there very calm. I try to tap his butt to push him forward and I get no response with firm pressure, i up the pressure and really try to push him in and he totally resists the whip and backs up with panic.
Trouble is(well, one big one) with the whole 'make him work' & 'wrong thing difficult' approach is that you're not focussing on making the right thing EASY & GOOD. Even when you get what you want, you've taught him only that it is the 'lesser evil' because you will make his life miserable if he doesn't do it. You haven't taught him to be confident, comfortable with it, let alone to want to do what you ask.

So, I'd work in 'baby steps' to get him *confident* and *wanting* to do as you ask - and *reward* the small 'wins' you do get. So, you start with whatever you think you can achieve, ONLY ask for that much and REWARD him for it - that is, not just quit hassling(negatively reinforce) but positively reinforce him too.

I strongly suspect, when he has puts his front feet in, he is NOT actually standing calmly, but is more in a 'shut down' or 'holding his breath' state. He's not comfortable & confident with being there. So when you put even more pressure on him, he resists, resists, resists, until he can't stand any more, so explodes into unthinking panic reaction.

So I probably wouldn't start quite at that step, but start with asking him to approach just to the trailer door, accept & reward that. Rinse & repeat until he is *keen* to go to the trailer whenever you ask, before you ask for a little more - maybe stepping one foot in. Not only accept & reward this, but I'd suggest asking him to back out *before* he thinks about doing it himself. ONLY put pressure on him if he tries to back out without you asking. Ensure he is TRULY calm, confident and *keen* to do this for you without hassling, before asking him to do a little more - step his hind feet up for eg.

When you get to that point, remember, make his getting things Right EASY. So look for & reward all his 'smallest tries'. Given that it's already been associated with strong fear & force, I'd expect him to be worried/resistant about it. So I'd break it down into very small 'baby steps'. Ask him to come forward with *a little* pressure, then just keep asking. You DON'T want to up the pressure to be 'loud', just keep it up & wait for a response. Even if to begin with it's just unweighting a hind foot, or stepping further in with a forefoot. When you get it, *INSTANTLY* quit any pressure & reward the horse. Then you've got something to build on.

I have never trailer trained a mustang before but ive successfully trained many horses in the trailer.
Wild horses are no different, only in that they may have had more scary experiences of being forced by people, before they got much(if any) 'practice' at being able to trust people. So they can be more reactive, untrusting about being forced, 'wrong things made difficult' etc.

Have one little brumby here, came to me very 'obedient', ton of 'professional' training put on him, but prone to being 'shut down' or nervous & potentially reactive about everything. He'd had lots of 'CA style' traditional type training, teaching him that he must do stuff Or Else. It took him quite a while to learn to be *confident & relaxed* with us, and Darcy, my son is the only one he (almost) unconditionally trusts who can do anything with him... so long as he doesn't try to force him into stuff. Zac actively enjoys & is keen to go out with Darcy(who often rides bareback with just a string around his neck) & is keen to jump in the trailer, unflappable in almost all situations... tho he was nervous when Darcy & I weren't with him when we took him to an indoor arena for 'Extreme Cowboy' stuff, and once refused to get in the trailer for someone else, when we were out on a ride & dog got bitten by snake... until I asked him to.
 
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