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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default Help!!! Trailering Trouble!! UPDATE page 3=SUCCESS!!

    I have the world's smartest OTTB. Really.
    This horse is very chill but apparently on his way from PA to SC slipped in a stock trailer with other horses and scrambled to get up; this was about 2 months ago so we assumed maybe we would have some trailering issues when I bought him.
    So fast forward to now. He doesn't freak out when trying to load, he just puts his feet on the ramp and says, 'I can stand here all night but thats all, not going in. Thanks ".
    No apparent anxiety. And I swear he winks and grins.
    We have tried lunging him in, tried the rope behind the butt, lunge line through the front with whip at his butt (no beating just forward encouragement-more annoying than him than anything). All of these negative things only have set us back.
    The ONE thing that has gotten him in is FOOD. So we resulted to feeding him in there and at the beginning just letting him go in when he was ready. Lots of backing out and going back in but no pressure, all on his terms. After a week of eating all meals inside with NO pressure, he would beat us into the trailer waiting for his meals, but try leading him in and "Nope, I can stand here all night but thats all, not going in. Thanks "
    I don't know what else to do here. I can't go anywhere b/c he doesn't want to get back on.
    Keep in mind, even through all the NO's, even once he is in, he doesn't freak or panic at all. It's just like he knows you can't MAKE him and he will go in when he feels like it.
    Please offer suggestions because he has been eating peacefully in there for 3 weeks but on his terms. How much longer to I play this game???
    Last edited by Cheval Gris; Apr. 17, 2011 at 09:21 PM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2002
    Posts
    1,018

    Default

    The idiot that owned my mare before I got her tried to shove her in a pony trailer, she freaked out and flipped over and when I bought her she was a mess when it came to trailering.

    I put the trailer in the pasture and if she wanted to eat she had to go in there to get it. She tried to wait me out but being the food whore that she is she decided to go in without a hitch.

    Her next move was exactly what your horse is doing even with food in there. I just clipped the longe line to her halter and ran the line through the window out to me as I sat in a chair and read a book and sipped my morning coffee.

    After about 45 mins she realized I was a more stubborn bitch then she was and got on and has ever since. Just wait him out and don't pull on the line. The line is there to just keep his head straight when on the trailer.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2009
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4,151

    Default

    You ladies have so much more patience than me.
    He's playing by his rules and your following them.
    He obviously isn't afraid nor clausterphobic just in charge



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Location
    Apex, NC
    Posts
    681

    Default

    Have you tried making him busy and moving his feet/shoulders fast to say you want to be out here, you have to work, work, work!? Not to sound all pepperoni, but there really is something to that the says to the horse you mean what you say....he has to follow you or be busy, busy, busy!!!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Location
    where the red fern grows
    Posts
    335

    Default

    Agreed- he has written the rulebook and you've let him. At this point you've got to un-do bad behavior. Basically you've got to ask him to load, and when he says no, you don't stop until he's on the trailer, even if takes 8 hours. It's like a horse that refuses to go in water, and owner let's them get away with it over and over. One day you just need to set the circumstances in your favor and pick a fight and win.

    I'd set aside an afternoon that will have nice weather (no windy distractions, etc) and get to work. What I personally would do is continue the original efforts of one person leading him in, another standing behind with a lunge whip or dressage whip (preferably lunge, since he'll likely get pissy and kick out, hence nailing somebody close enough to hit with a dressage whip.)

    Give him an opportunity to go on nicely- escalate "encouragement" based on his reaction. Once he says no the first time, tap-tap-tap his butt/hock area and do not let up unless he moves forward. This is very important- if he shifts forward, you must "reward" by stopping immediately and let him stand for a few moments before asking for another step. If he moves backward, immediately start back with tapping his butt.

    I would also consider a chain over nose or under lip. The beauty is they are self-punishing. I would give an opportunity to get on the trailer without it first, and if after a few minutes he still says no, apply chain. For my horse, nose chains only aggravate him, but a lip chain works wonders. He turns into an obedient little angel. Like I said- all about escalation of pressure based on his own actions. He can make it as hard or as easy as he wants. It will take him some time to realize that, but once he does- you win the fight, and he knows his life will be easier if he just does as asked.

    He'll put up a huge stink at the beginning and it will be VERY frustrating. Stand there until he finally gives in to the pressure, and he eventually will. Reward forward movement by removing the pressure/stressful situation. Punish bad behavior/backwards movement by pressuring him. Horses don't like to be pressured- even stubborn ones.

    Key points- you MUST remain patient and calm. You must not lose your temper, or the situation will get out of control. You must be determined, and you must be have a patient helper that's not afraid of him.

    There are lots of different methods, but I think this is the most dummy proof and safe without a professional. Good luck!
    The best is yet to come



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    He's being an asshole. There is nothing polite or mannerly or good about this sort of obnoxious behavior. BAD HORSE.

    Lots of solutions, but all of them involve a mental adjustment on the part of the handler: he is NOT being a good horse, and bad behavior is punished. This does not mean violence, or flailing around, or yelling and screaming. But it DOES mean insisting on a response to aids, with punishment doled out for ignoring them.

    Just don't wait until the next time you HAVE to take him somewhere. My semi-obnoxious loader (same thing, randomly decides he ain't moving OR calmly stands on his hind legs hoping that THIS TIME I'll let go of the rope) gets a remedial session every now and then, with plenty of praise for being good, plenty of patience on my part, but a good walloping if he's not holding up his part of the bargain.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default

    He clearly very much knows he has my number. The first evening it got ugly we tried for 3 hours. With, of course, rewards for any forward movement, reinforcement for backing up. When we applied the lunge line to his butt he just sat on it and panicked. Its almost like he shuts down once the lunge whip comes out.
    But, he is also completely shut down when I beg b/c he knows how it will end. With food on the trailer.
    So i guess the answer here is to be a pain in his ass even if it takes 8 hours. After 3 hours I lost my cool and left him over night at a friends and we started again the next morning.

    Thanks for the insight, glad I am not alone with the horse who knows I can't MAKE him.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Location
    where the red fern grows
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    335

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Painted Hill View Post
    He clearly very much knows he has my number. The first evening it got ugly we tried for 3 hours. With, of course, rewards for any forward movement, reinforcement for backing up. When we applied the lunge line to his butt he just sat on it and panicked. Its almost like he shuts down once the lunge whip comes out.
    But, he is also completely shut down when I beg b/c he knows how it will end. With food on the trailer.
    So i guess the answer here is to be a pain in his ass even if it takes 8 hours. After 3 hours I lost my cool and left him over night at a friends and we started again the next morning.

    Thanks for the insight, glad I am not alone with the horse who knows I can't MAKE him.
    Hmm. Does he freak about any and all whips or just lunge whips? If he's truly panicking, you're not going to get him on that way either. At least not with any lasting positive effects...
    The best is yet to come



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 17, 2001
    Location
    Bryan,Texas
    Posts
    2,261

    Default

    Start in the morning so you have all day instead of the evening where you are limited by darkness and artificial lighting at this stage of the game.

    Once you get him in, the unload, reload at least three times then quit. (Horses have a magic number in three--I don't how or why I learned it that way but it works for me)
    Repeat everyday for at least a week. Then actually take him somewhere and unload when you are confident you can get him back on in an efficient manner(like the 1st time, maybe the 2nd try).

    You have to be the head broodmare!!!Stallions are low man in a true wild herd situation, they are invited in by the matriarch mare.
    Good luck.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Well he doesn't panick with the whip he just gets pissed and begins moving backward, then we have to get on a circle to remind ourselves of what forward movement is and start over.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Location
    where the red fern grows
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Painted Hill View Post
    Well he doesn't panick with the whip he just gets pissed and begins moving backward, then we have to get on a circle to remind ourselves of what forward movement is and start over.
    Ah- huge difference between panicking and getting pissed. Panicking would be bad because you can't teach a horse when they are panicking.

    Pick a day and teach him a lesson.
    The best is yet to come



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Yea he gets pissed with the whip, but panicked when we put the line around his butt (so no one would get kicked-remember he was OTT so he knows starting gates). I texted my friend and said yo let me know what day you have free to pull up a chair with coffee. Or wine. Ayeeash



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default

    Find an old video copy of John Lyons "Leading and Loading Safely." It's the best in the business.

    Be extremely cautious forcing a horse to do anything. That's a recipe for blowups and injuries, plus sets the horse up for future worse misbehavior



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Will he only load by himself at feeding time? Or if he sees a hay bag hanging in there will he self load? I have tought my horses to self load into a trailer - and that way I can stay on the outside and close things up. So, maybe you don't really need to 'lead' him in afterall. If he will load for food and stand quietly - why not stay out side and close him in?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    Hate to say it but he has your number big time. There are any number of ways to encourage/teaching loading but I've never used food as one of them (an occasional, rare, hand fed treat maybe but never feeding in the trailer). First of all, he might not be hungry at the time you need to load him. Or he could be injured or ill and feeding would be something you don't want to do. Or you could have a wildfire headed your way at 30mph and don't have hours to convince him, panicked with blowing smoke and your anxiety and maybe fire engines and helicopters around, to load up (BTDT).

    I avoid all ropes but the lead rope or possibly a lunge line....the more ropes there are involved the more likely someone will get tangled and rope burned or something broken.

    You can work away from the trailer on a "move forward" cue such as the swinging end of a lead rope, a lunge whip, a carrot stick, a piece of willow switch....it doesn't matter. What matters is how you use it....as a tool to cue the horse to move. You can tap his butt until he moves, wave it at his hocks until he moves, swat his hip until he moves...whatever cue you choose to use....the tool doesn't matter...as long as you QUIT USING IT to cue him as soon as there's movement (it might be even a lean forward...reward any effort with stopping the pressure/cue).

    You can work them around the trailer, across the ramp (if you have a rampload), between you and the trailer...wherever you want to....as long as the horse finds being near the trailer, on the ramp or eventually IN the trailer to be the spot where you quit putting pressure on him so that being inside the trailer is his spot to rest and relax and recieve your reward (of no further pressure).

    His behavior will likely get worse before it gets better as he doesn't want to give up control and will likely argue the idea that you are in charge (which you aren't at this point).

    Do NOT just get him in there once and assume the job is done...he'll consider that just a fluke and go right back to being a butt if you don't reinforce the lesson several times over (like about 20 or so times over several days). Load him, let him breath and relax, unload him and repeat several times until he just goes. If he backs out quickly the first couple times its OK...just repeat that he has to load and the instant he loads and STOPS moving reward him....timing is everything.

    Don't be surprized if he loads several times and then resists again....horses have a strange learning curve...sort of like a series of waves, each getting smaller as you get away from the original problem.....the first time they do as we ask we think they are exceptionally bright and tend not to ask again....the horse didn't learn it...he stumbled on the right answer by accident. The next time we ask he'll likely resist even stronger than usually....keep working as he's just testing to see if the rules are the same as last time...or is exploring other possible answers...only when he gets the right answer repeated multiple times will he actually connect cue and response...and the more wrong answers he gets, the better, at least for a short time...he learns that these are answers that don't work so can discard them from his list of possible responses (I love them to make all kinds of mistakes...more junk answers to eliminate from future consideration). There may be 2-3 more "cycles" of doing as you ask and then suddenly resisting...each time should be less strong and last a shorter time.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    269

    Default

    I swear I have your horse's long lost- other-breed brother. Luckily ours is an 850lb TWH who we can push around some if we need to, but stubborn as hell.

    He does the exact same thing- stands in front of the trailer calmly, not one ounce of fear, but refuses to move. No amount of food coercion, rhythmic whip taping, lip chain, or all out a$$ whooping will get this horse in the trailer. And we have to trailer a lot for the events that we do.

    Things that we have found help- slant load trailer with a wide entrance, and a buddy to load before him. Other things that we usually resort to because we like this guy to be ahead of our other horse on the slant load are a butt rope- we clip it on to the butt bar ring at the end of the trailer, slide it behind him, and pull it from inside the trailer. Sometimes (read: often) my husband has to literally lift up his front feet and put them into the trailer (not that I'm suggesting to do this, but it has worked for us). Once we get the front feet in, he usually gives in and walks onto the trailer when I pull on the lead rope and the butt rope. He's getting better, figuring out that we have won dozens of times and he doesn't put up as much of a fight anymore, sometimes he just walks right on. We'll see though, we're travelling on Friday, first time since December, so you never know what he'll have in store for us.

    It's a struggle, trailering-resistant horses are not fun, but the more you practice it and do it, the better it should become. Best of luck!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default

    [QUOTE=coloredcowhorse;5527660]


    You can work away from the trailer on a "move forward" cue such as the swinging end of a lead rope, a lunge whip, a carrot stick, a piece of willow switch....it doesn't matter. What matters is how you use it....as a tool to cue the horse to move. You can tap his butt until he moves, wave it at his hocks until he moves, swat his hip until he moves...whatever cue you choose to use....the tool doesn't matter...as long as you QUIT USING IT to cue him as soon as there's movement (it might be even a lean forward...reward any effort with stopping the pressure/cue).

    QUOTE]


    That is how we started with forward encouragement. Just swinging the end of the lunge line at his butt, when he took a step forward, lots of praise and rest. Then you cluck and he starts slowly backing off the ramp. I have a ramp load and the divider opens to the side to basically the whole thing is open. We have let him have the entire ramp, from whatever angle he chooses and always always goes up the ramp to the trailer floor then stops.
    Never backs out quickly or violently (which obviously says he not scared in there, just proving his point).

    The last TB that I had to teach how to load was very simple, lunge line through the front with a lunge whip with a grocery bag tied to the, rattling at his hocks until he just decided going in was a much better option. Haaa to this horse.

    As for the lead in questions, he has no problem going in to check to see if there is dinner, or leftovers, or maybe if I wait long enough someone will bring some food. The trailer stays open for him to come and go. Its when someone is standing at his rear asking him to go in at our will that he says no mam.
    I have learned that trying to make him is not going to work. Even trying to lunge him in against his will and he manages to bypass the ramp.
    This is coming down to outsmarting/out 'stubborning' him



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2007
    Location
    where its cold
    Posts
    842

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    Do you have one of my horses? Oh wait, he was still at my place this am.

    If he's a smart TB, like mine, hee hee hee. Anyway. Whip out - mine would back up before you'd even get near him. Chain over the nose - very quick and strong about blowing through it. Lip chain - "yes ma'am. I will load now." 2 times w/ the lip chain (never even used it - just put it on him) and all I'd have to do is get the chain shank and he'd hop on.

    Your horse will test you - every single day until he decides you "Just might" have a few brains.

    Mine will still play the donkey for a new person doing chores - as in "go in my stall? what? I don't do that. Oh, you're going to flick the lead at my butt. Watch me back." Funny thing is if you just say "get in now" he goes, "oh darn. game over" and walks in his stall.

    Word of warning - don't get into a toe to toe w/ him. He just will learn better how to out do you. Trust me - they think about it and come back w/ a new better plan. You have to be patient and smarter.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Location
    Coastal SC
    Posts
    472

    Default

    millera- Are you just talking about a twitch or a different kind of lip chain?

    Yea he doesn't know me all that well-only had him a month-but we figured out quick he was very smart and he figured out quick that I am not sure how to out smart him yet



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2007
    Location
    where its cold
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    842

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    lip chain.

    Take your stud chain from around the nose - go from one cheek piece thing, over his gum and under his lip - and snap to the other cheek piece thing. It is very harsh if they pull at all on it and you don't go with. I'm not a track person but I think my OTTBs have had them used before. They all go yes ma'am w/ them and march along really nicely. Use gently!



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