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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2009

    Default Fussy horses in trailer

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    I have two horses who are both under 10 yr old but they get very excited when trailering.
    I will stress this is not in anyway an issue with loading or them acting up while we are on the road. But when we arrive at shows or to other farms for lessons, clinics, or local schooling shows, they get very excited and start moving around a lot, pawing sometimes, etc. like the want to be off the trailer NOW!
    Once they are off the trailer and into stalls they relax and behave just fine.

    My questions is.... how can I get them to the point where they can just stand on the trailer. I would love to be able to ship in and out to local shows and for lessons with out having to put them in stalls or pay for a stall at a day show.
    Will they ever learn to relax and stand quietly on the trailer? I hate to leave them in there when they seem so frantic.

    Any ideas? Of course they have hay nets but once we arrive they don't seem to care about having them or not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012


    I leave mine in the trailer until he settles down. He doesn't come off until he settles. Kind of like giving in to a kid throwing a temper tantrum...

    he very quickly figured out that pawing didn't get him off the trailer.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    MI USA


    They need more trailer time standing around. Load them up and drive to a McDonalds, get a snack and read the newspaper. When you get home again, leave them loaded a while, 15-20 minutes, while you do other stuff.

    A great many of these excursions, no distance traveled, but LOTS of standing around time in the trailer will aid in getting them to quiet down. You may also want to do this with only ONE horse, then the OTHER horse, practice standing while alone. You may only haul one animal sometimes, don't want him upset with no buddy along "like all the other times". He will be a fruit when you get to your clinic, trail ride or whatever, so you won't have any fun. You can just hang out in the parked truck at the grocery store, while they get done with all the "hurry UP" signals and settle. I WOULD keep a haybag in front of them, something to do. Load them hungry if you can, food is a great distraction!

    My horses spend a lot of time going and coming home in the trailer. They always have to wait after stopping, before they get unloaded. Could be 15 minutes or an hour +, never know what you will meet when you get someplace. Stall isn't ready, assigned parking you have to wait for, lots of reasons they can't unload RIGHT NOW. We eat in sit down restaraunts while going places FAR away, horses have to stand and wait for that time, which is a double good, practice standing and to letting them rest legs, urinate, during long trips.

    They only improve with practice, even only driving out on the road around the block, making them stand awhile in the trailer when you get back home, is GOOD practice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2011
    East Longmeadow, MA


    OP, so glad you posted this thread because I have the same problem with mine. He is nervous and reactive and gets ALL lathered up when we trailer. Am going to take ^^^^ this good advice!
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    West Coast of Michigan


    Time and a lack of emotion on your part. They don't get unloaded until they settle down and get a grip on themselves. Load, unload, load, unload, load, unload, let them stand, load, unload . . . until it is quite boring.

    Horses need to be able to cope with standing on trailers. And unless they're just naturally phlegmatic, this is something they have to learn.

    Make sure they're safe, comfortable and have hay. And go walk your course. With headphones on.
    Click here before you buy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 7, 2010


    I second goodhors's advice. Time standing on the trailer really is the answer. Splitting them up is also important.

    My horse, for example, would stand perfectly happily on the trailer at a show or other location whether by himself or with a buddy. He ships perfectly fine, too. His problem was actually standing on the trailer alone while waiting to leave the farm. He would get on the trailer and paw or body slam the trailer partly, I think, because he wanted a buddy and partly because he wanted to get to where he was going. As much as a pain as it was, I would load him up early, let him stand on the trailer, and work it out for himself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007


    Yeah, let 'em rot in there until they chill.

    Mine is pretty good because I'm so mean. One time, however, not so much and I was a sucker for a minute.

    I took him on a 5 hour trip to a show. Since I'm the groom and everything else, he had to stay in the trailer until I had set up the stalls and all. The horse became an ass.

    I thought he had to pee, so I Interrupted What I Was Doing to take his sorry butt out for a minute to give him a chance to pee. I even led him to a nice place where he wouldn't have to splash his legs.

    No, didn't have to pee. Did see a grazing opportunity (which was better than the big hay net he had in front of him in the rig).

    So I stuffed him back in there, told him that *he* had made the time to freedom that much longer.... and slowed down my work pace.

    The spoiled turd got the message.

    ETA: OP, in your spot, I would recommend training this with one horse at a time. Start with the more reasonable horse. Just as in jail, one mutiny-ing horse can set off the rest of the inmates. Reform the bad egg so that he doesn't influence the other one. If each one is fine separately, but they start a riot together, leave them in there to sort it out. When they are quiet, wait even a little longer so that they get some time to wrap their heads around the new calm behavior as what one does in a horse trailer.
    Last edited by mvp; Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:23 PM. Reason: The horse mutiny
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005


    I would give some preventive Ulcergard (1/4 tube) the morning of travel, just to be sure you're not dealing with stress-induced tummy pain.

    Also, I give alfalfa hay in the trailer. Really good Western neon green pure alfalfa. My formerly-fussy mare now stands like a champ, until the 'falfa runs out.
    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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