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Trailer loading ideas

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Last activity 2019-05-16 3:23 PM
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   General Discussion -> Barrel Talk
Reg. Nov 2010
Posted 2019-05-11 9:18 PM
Subject: Trailer loading ideas

Gettin Jiggy Wit It

Posts: 2641

Anyone have any good resources or advice for a horse that is claustrophobic in a horse trailer and wont load??? Farthest he'll get is halfway in. This is a colt that used to load but now will not.

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Reg. Feb 2016
Posted 2019-05-12 10:15 AM
Subject: RE: Trailer loading ideas

Extreme Veteran

Posts: 422

I don't know if you could call one of my mares claustrophobic, but she is leathal in our 3 horse slant. She will load, but watch out cause she will mow you over going backwards out of the trailer. This year we took her to the vet for her breeding in a stock trailer & she is a new mare. She likes it because she can see all around her & see her foal better.If you have a stock trailer or if not can borrow one, try him in that. 

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Reg. Apr 2010
Posted 2019-05-13 2:52 PM
Subject: RE: Trailer loading ideas

Born not Made

Posts: 2597
Location: North Dakota

WetSaddleBlankets - 2019-05-11 9:18 PM

Anyone have any good resources or advice for a horse that is claustrophobic in a horse trailer and wont load??? Farthest he'll get is halfway in. This is a colt that used to load but now will not.

First step is that I would examine your trailer from top to bottom. Sometimes if they all-of-a-sudden stop loading, there is a safety problem with your trailer. Examples: Floor is going bad (and they can feel it), getting electrical shocks from wiring, something banging/hitting them while driving, etc. If you can, have a friend drive your rig for you, and you ride and back and if you notice anything particular. Also take it to a trusted mechanic for a good check over.

Also make sure you horse truly FITS in your trailer. If for example it is a very small 2 horse slant or something like that, and your colt is large, he might be too big for it. So keep that in consideration too.

When you have the trailer ruled out, then you can work on re-training. If you've never actually taken the time to TEACH him to load, you will need to. Just like we TEACH them to run barrels over a period of time, you should TEACH them to load. Honestly, it's respect and ground work. If you truly have 100% control of their body while on the ground, then you can instruct those feet to go anywhere you ask -- even inside a trailer.

If you can, get Clinton Anderson's trailer loading DVD. It's fabulous. Now, I know that CA can be too aggressive for my liking. However, still listen to his methods b/c he explains things very well (why, what, when, where) of how you need to cue your horse. Then tone it down so you are not as aggressive as him, LOL. Keep in mind that he goes to a clinic and loads a horse in an hour or two. You're not going to do that. You are going to take your time over the course of weeks, or months, and calmly and positively train your horse to load.

It's about controlling each individual foot. Load one foot and then unload one foot 1,000 times. Load two feet and then unload two feet 1,000 times. Then load three feet and unload three feet 1,000 times. By the time you actually go to load the horse, you've already taught them how to unload, and you've taught them to be patient and to listen to you on where their feet should go. Trailer loading is an absolute breeze by that point.

But most people don't take the time like that to train their horse to load. Take the time. All you need is 5-10 minutes each day to work on ground manners little by little. And he will be set up for a lifetime.

Edited by r_beau 2019-05-13 2:54 PM
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Reg. Aug 2017
Posted 2019-05-15 11:37 AM
Subject: RE: Trailer loading ideas


Posts: 16
Location: North central Florida

You can watch Clinton Anderson Trailer loading on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT4FCaNvX6A).  It just takes time, effort and patience. I bought a horse less than a year ago that was loading and unloading just fine and one day just wouldn't load.  It's really a respect issue.  I had been doing some ground work on this horse before I ride him as he was still green so he was used to the sending exercises and lungeing with me.  We had to work on the sending exercises, then loading into the trailer.  A few times with the stick and string and he learned quickly I meant business!  Haven't had an issue since.

I also have a horse that had been taught to load and was allowed to turn around in a stock trailer and then hop out.  Wouldn't back out of the trailer.  This was a big hole in her training and dangerous as I once saw a friend get run over in her own trailer by allowing her horse to turn around.  First barrel race I went to it took me and several others 20 minutes to get her out of the trailer.  Since I have a 3 horse slant, she couldn't turn around and had to learn to back out.  Again, I spend a few weeks working on it every day until it was just no big deal.  She self loads and unloads fine now.  I also make my horses wait on me to ask them to back out of the trailer so they don't rush out backwards.  When learning, i ask them to take a couple steps back to unload, then wait give praise, then ask for steps foward again.

Ground work is very underestimated in my opinion.  A lot of problems under saddle can be eliminated by spending time doing ground work with your horse.  They learn to RESPECT you.



Edited by CanChaser1013 2019-05-15 11:40 AM
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Reg. Mar 2014
Posted 2019-05-15 12:44 PM
Subject: RE: Trailer loading ideas


Posts: 1440
Location: In the land of peanuts and cotton

Maybe not what your looking for but we’re teaching our yearling to load now. We have a big stock trailer. We back it up the her stall gate and put her food and water just inside the trailer. Just enough they have to stick their head in. Then every couple days move it further and further into the trailer until you all the way to the front. That makes them have to go in if they want food or water. But they learn that the trailer isn’t a big scary monster that wants to eat them. 

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Reg. Oct 2005
Posted 2019-05-16 3:23 PM
Subject: RE: Trailer loading ideas

The best bad guy on the internet

Posts: 3437
Location: Arizona

have you tried blindfolding the horse?

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