View Full Version : Trailer loading

Jul. 23, 2010, 12:41 PM
More of a vent I suppose, but very frustrating. Studly has come a long way in his trailer phobia the past 6 months thanks to the wonderful help and watchful eye of my trainer. I am loving my new Hawk and had it configured basically the same as her trailer, so he would be somewhat familiar with it. I finally got a chance to take it out and introduce Studly to his new digs. He walked on/off like a pro, was able to put butt bar up, close door (he's got a side ramp), walk him through, put chest bar and butt bar up, close door, walk through, back off, tied him, you name it. Just when we thought we could go for a ride, we got him in, bars up, doors closed, he started to get very nervous, so we undid everything, he kicked out before he backed up, sent the butt bar flying in a circle and it hit his butt, he looked like he was going to jump through my trainer (who was in front), but she held him mentally together till he could work through it and reassure him he could back out (of course after I had grabbed the flying bar). We let him settle and then at least got him to get back on, he was fine with everything afterwards, but we didn't' push the entire closing in today after that episode.

I did walk him through some more, played hokey pokey with his feet moving him back and forward and let him eat some lunch on the trailer with the chest bar up. I was frustrated because I didn't get to take him for a short ride, but very proud of him because he was able to hold his brain in check and he didn't let the bad incident phase him when we to do more with him.

I am beginning to think I need to work more on this and not worry if I don't get to take him to a show this year. I know the shows will come and he has done wonderfully with our training level dressage at home and are starting to work on some first level movements. I need to get him used to the trailer and being enclosed so we can successfully go places. I know it will all work out, just not the way I planned. Oh well, at least we are doing well with what are doing:)

Jul. 23, 2010, 01:02 PM
Hang in there Gman! Keep playing around with it, maybe put an old trailering pro in with him for a time or 2 and keep working on it when you do not have to go anywhere and try not to feel nervous yourself about him feeling nervous. Sounds like he will come around, just has a little of what I call "scared in his feet"

Jul. 23, 2010, 02:28 PM
DO you have a buddy horse that can go along for the first few rides so maybe he wont be so worried about being "alone" in the "box"? However, I have had some youngsters get very nervous, but once we get moving they settled. A drive around the block straight back home a few times will teach him it isn't all that bad. Going to shows just to "hang out" is a good idea at first, no major pressure or work, so he doens't think everytime he gets in the trailer it means a long day of hard work.

Jul. 23, 2010, 04:16 PM
If you're interested in seeing how I do it with clicker training, here's the first link:

I go really, really slowly, watching his body language and facial expressions and never ask him to go beyond his comfort zone. I let him offer what he's comfortable offering.

I worked with him nearly every day for two weeks. The first day maybe took an hour in several 10-15 minute sessions alternating with another horse. Near the end, I'd do only one 10-15 minute session.

Jul. 23, 2010, 06:45 PM
I don't think it is an issue of being alone, but he has trailered with the more seasoned horses the past 6 months as part of his training. It is more we believe, that he is just so worried, tense, and nervous about being confined. He doesn't like stalls either(kicks), so he has begun to live outside 24/7 since January. With other horses, he still has the same tendencies with others, but when he can see he isn't confined he is for the most part okay with the trailer, ie, he will stand and eat leisurely. I know it will happen, I think he just has such a high anxiety, but thank goodness it has lessened. I will check out your clicker training too Twiliath. Thanks for the support ladies :-)