The Horse Forum banner

Trailering Question

1505 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  sillybunny11486
I have a major problem with getting my horse inside the trailer. Sometimes he is a little angel and walks right in and other time nothing will get him to go near the trailer. He just backs up, spins around and starts walking the other direction. He will pull you off your feet if he needs to, so it can be dangerous. Once he gets all four hooves in the trailer he is alway fine. I need him to be good at shows next summer and as I said, his behavior is dangerous so it must stop. Am I doing somthing wrong? Am I not doing somthing? Please help me if you have any advice!!!!!
Not open for further replies.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
It doesn't sound like he's scared of trailer (that was an issue with my horse). Sounds like disrespect. What my trainer did he moved my horse between him and the entrance to the trailer back and forth: move right turn, move left, turn, etc. Basically kept her moving non-stop, when she was ready to stop he pointed to trailer as the only place to stand still and relax. If she refused, she was forced to move again. It worked.
Load the horse 5 times a day untill he walks in like it's no big deal.
Like kitten_Val said, it sounds like disrespect to me. If he doesn't walk nicely into the trailer you want to make it uncomfortable for him to not go in. Basically its either go in or be uncomfortable. I watched my trainer deal with a horse that was being a brat. She started off nice and the worse the horse got the worse she got. She finally got the horse in with a whip which was a last resort. The choice was up to the horse. But the longer you let the horse misbehave the worse its going to get.
How do you load him? And how do you manage the disrespectfull behaviour when he refuses to load?

horse are simple creatures. they like comfort. They dislike discomfort/irritation.
So make outside the float uncomfortable, and inside the float comfortable. No don't use food. This trains nothing.

Whether the discomfort be via putting the horse to work when it is outside the float, and as soon as it walk towards the float take all pressure away. My discomfort of preference that has worked with every horse I've floated, has been with a stiff dressage whip or long piece of polypipe. Tap the horse on the hindquarters/hind legs continuously and fairly firmly no matter what he does (kicking, bucking, rearing, striking, backing away- backing away = harder, faster tapping - etc.) and as soon as he takes even ONE step towards the float, take the pressure off, pat and reward, then ask for another step by gently putting forward pressure on the halter. If horse doesn't move forward, go back to tapping.
It does take a while, you need to be very patient and work on it every day (short sessions 3 times are day are the best way to go) until the horse will figure out that it is bloody uncomfortable standing outside getting tapped, but inside I get nothing but pats and comfort.

My retired welsh pony used to be an absolute horror to load. When i first got her we had to get the vet out to sedate her to get her in (I know, dangerous but we knew nothing about horses, I was only 10!!). Sent her to a trainer who used the tapping method (in fact he was the one who taught me how to use it), and this pony will self load EVERY time even after years of not being floated. I use her for other horses that panic inside the float as she's just so calm about the whole process.
See less See more
horse are simple creatures. they like comfort. They dislike discomfort/irritation.
So make outside the float uncomfortable, and inside the float comfortable. No
YEP !! i agree with you ! except i will use food, but not to lure them in. once he is in & tied you could feed him a few treats or his dinner so he learns that good things happen while in the trailer & work/discomfort happens outside the trailer.
yes of course, food is fine once the horse is securely inside the float, but a big no no for bribery. What happens if you have to load up at the end of a show and have no food left? Good luck trying to get the 'bribe trained' horse in without the food.
Everytime he doesn't go in nicly I've been making him backup and move around. I've been loading him 2 or 3 times a day, but each time still takes up to 45 minutes. Is this normal? I'm not sure about trying the tapping method because I know one of his old owners used to abuse him with whip. He tends to freakout if anything hits him, so I'm wary of trying this. Do you think he would be alright? I think you are right about him disrespecting me. What are some ways I could get him to respects me more?
that sounds exactly like my horse.
sometimes he is an angel the next wont take a single step near it and will fight the while time
we have recently been tricking him (I know not the nicest thing but it works) because hes paddock pal doesnt come with us we put her on (she self loads) he goes on sometimes with a push but no funny business then she come off
he does get a little annoyed but there always food so he stays happy :)
i worried for a long time about loading Frida. I integrated it into our training programme, so that we could work on it before we had to go anywhere. A bulk of it was done in between teaching her leading, tying and groundwork exercises. I just parked the trailer in the arena, and walked her on and off, on and off, on and off, rinse and repeat. My trainer gave me a big piece of advice. She told me not to look at her as I was asking. I just went. walked very assertively into the trailer like, this is where we are going now. I guess if I had had issues with her not going where I asked her, I would've treated it as if she acted like she wasn't going where I asked her anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Which is make it work time for her in all the places except where I asked her to go, usually by asking for yields, backing up and consistent pressure, leaving her to find where that pressure is released, which in this case, would be on or near the trailer, respectively. Good luck
See less See more
Kevin makes a wonderful suggestion - making trailer loading part of your training routine rather than just something you do when you are two minutes from needing to be on the road will be a great help.
I keep my trailer unlocked so when I get done riding I can practice loading. John Lyons has a great technique. You just keep asking for a forward movement, when it happens let the horse relax and be praised. If he back up ask again. Take each step at a time and dont get scared or loose your cool.

It takes many many repititions for a horse to learn something. And still a few more, on occaision, as a tune up.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Not open for further replies.