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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
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    Default Pawing in the trailer. Can it be fixed?

    My gelding tends to paw in the trailer, generally when moving slowly or at a standstill. This evening he destroyed a shipping boot because of it.

    We've done the tap the brakes routine, goosing the truck, etc. I've forced him to stand on the trailer until he quiets down before unloading, but the people I lease him to don't have that kind of time.

    WTH can I/they do? It's SO. FRUSTRATING. especially when we pull onto the showgrounds and it sounds like he's about to break the floor. He doesn't get sweaty, he loads and unloads like a champ, and he stands quietly at the trailer once we get where we're going.

    So, advice would be good.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2007
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    MA
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    Default

    My ottb did it when I first got him, but stopped. I guess he just figured out that trailering was no biggie. We would tap the brakes, but it didn't do much. It was like he just decided to stop on his own.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
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    Vermont
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    Default

    You haven't done the "you're going to sit on here until you're quiet" routine enough. Keep doing it. And make sure he has hay to munch on so he has no excuse.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2013
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    Alabama
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    You haven't done the "you're going to sit on here until you're quiet" routine enough. Keep doing it. And make sure he has hay to munch on so he has no excuse.
    ^^^ This. Put him in the trailer and feed him his grain. Do it when you have the time and when you don't plan on taking him anywhere. Just load, feed, stand quietly, then unload. Repeat. By loading him and letting him stand there until he gets over the anxiety then unloading him still at 'home' it will help make the whole issue less stressful when you actually take him somewhere...

    I've had babies that I've separated from the herd (one at a time), put them in an area with the trailer, put their food and water in the trailer (dividers removed) and left them to sort it out on their own. When they get hungry or thirsty they will go in the trailer on their own. Those horses have turned out to be the best loaders and calmest shippers ever.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
    Location
    Virginia
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    1,817

    Default

    My mare does this too. If tapping the brakes doesn't work I usually stick my head out the window and yell "cut that out you stupid cow!".


    15 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    Area VI
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    Default

    We've done the "stay on until quiet" routine A LOT, and with *me*, he doesn't get off until he's quiet. However, I'm not the only one hauling him, and they don't have the time to let him stand there for 10-15 minutes, and I can't ask them to do that. Back when I hauled out for lessons, previous to moving him to our current location, I would load him before I had to leave, clean his corral, then head out. There were a couple of times I would start to leave, then stop and wait again. Once I even came flying out of the truck with a dressage whip. Same thing when we would return...I would unload what I needed to, get feed ready, do whatever had to be done, THEN unload him.

    He's 11. He's been trailered a million times, including across the country. If I wasn't so concerned with SOMETHING going wrong, I would hobble his ass.
    He has hay. It's mostly when the trailer is actually moving, but at slow speeds.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2013
    Location
    Alabama
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    708

    Default

    Then it sounds like it might just be his one 'quirk' and not anxiety.

    My gelding chews on lead ropes, it's annoying and I could get him to quit if I really wanted to but it isn't worth it as lead ropes are cheap and at least he isn't trying to untie himself. My mare weaves in the trailer, completely anxiety related, but only when we are moving and only sometimes. She's retired now so I don't have to haul her much anymore but it was always funny when someone new was in the truck and she started doing it... the looks I would get!!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2008
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    Nowhere, Maryland
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    Default

    I doubt you can stop it at this point without major work, and maybe not even then. Have you tried putting lots of bedding down? Sometimes if they can't make a racket they get discouraged.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2007
    Location
    Montana
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    Default

    My good horse does it and he's spent DECADES in the trailer, DECADES. He won't ever stop it though he's improved. He does it out of impatience-if he's loaded and the truck is running and we're in the driveway he will paw. If we're in traffic and stopped he won't. If we stop at the gas station he will give us 10-15 minutes to fuel up and get supplies and if we don't get moving soon he will start to paw. If we're at the trail head and don't unload in short order he will paw. If we unload other horses and not him he will paw. If we're heading home he doesn't paw. If we're making reasonable understandable-to-him progress he won't paw.

    Sometimes they just know what's going on and they want to give their input! LOL

    I hung a rubber mat type thing on the trailer wall at his spot in the trailer to protect the trailer and his hoof and it made it not so loud too.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2006
    Location
    MA
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    800

    Default

    My horse pawed when she first started trailering, but stopped with the ignoring her until she was done routine. At this point, I think unless your lessees do the waiting routine, he may keep it up.

    My horse now does the pawing when she trailers somewhere with another horse, and the other horse leaves and she is stuck on the trailer. I figure that is anxiety induced, because her "herd" left and am hoping she'll get over it with time and practice. In your horse's case, it doesn't really sound like anxiety to me, more impatience or a habit. I know how annoying it is- but I think they'll just have to ignore it.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboymom View Post
    My good horse does it and he's spent DECADES in the trailer, DECADES. He won't ever stop it though he's improved. He does it out of impatience-if he's loaded and the truck is running and we're in the driveway he will paw. If we're in traffic and stopped he won't. If we stop at the gas station he will give us 10-15 minutes to fuel up and get supplies and if we don't get moving soon he will start to paw. If we're at the trail head and don't unload in short order he will paw. If we unload other horses and not him he will paw. If we're heading home he doesn't paw. If we're making reasonable understandable-to-him progress he won't paw.

    Sometimes they just know what's going on and they want to give their input! LOL

    I hung a rubber mat type thing on the trailer wall at his spot in the trailer to protect the trailer and his hoof and it made it not so loud too.
    Got me one of these, she knows when we get to the show grounds vs stopping for gas, food, etc. If I have a later adult division and the kids are showing in the early short stirrup, mare has to come off with the ponies. No way will she submit to standing on a trailer while there is all this fun going on (she does like to be at shows). I end up many a show day holding onto my horse for hours.

    Tried the wait it out, she ain't stressed, just pissed and can hold out longer than anyone has time for.
    “You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    I have one as well. Every horseshow/clinic trip means a ferry boat ride, and if he's in a pawing mood I have to stand outside of his window to get after him for the 20-30 minutes we're waiting for the boat and then the 30 minute boat ride. Nothing I've done has helped at all, though admittedly I haven't spent that much time on it. He also paws as his first reaction to pretty much everything, including pawing the whole time he's eating grain or bored in a place out of my control (he's good in the crossties and in hand/under saddle). I keep hoping he'll outgrow it at some point, but maybe that's not the most proactive training method?
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.



  13. #13
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    Mar. 10, 2007
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    Montana
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    Default

    I just don't care-when he paws I know, as does the whole family, that we're wasting his time! I just roll with it-he's so good in so many ways that this one isn't enough to fuss about.
    Last edited by cowboymom; Apr. 13, 2013 at 01:14 PM.



  14. #14
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    Default

    Thanks for the input.

    He does have a few quirks, but this is the only one that drives me INSANE. I've almost resigned to the "Just smile and let it be" because like someone said, it's probably not worth the effort trying to change it.

    I have an old stock trailer that I thankfully don't *have* to use as much anymore because of hitching rides with my trainer, but OMG when we would pull into places, I wanted to hide my face. The trailer itself was loud, but combined with Mr. HURRY UP MOM! it was embarrassing.

    I think I will try kick chains when *I* haul him, as I know they won't be comfortable with it. If they help, then I'll probably have to insist...if not, then I guess I'll just grit my teeth and turn up the music in the truck!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
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    1,777

    Default

    My filly does this. Well, did it. I ignore her. She usually cuts it out. Yelling at her is attention, so I don't even do that. I have heavy rubber mats on the floor, she really can't hurt the trailer.

    I have a different philosophy about waiting until they are quiet to move. I just leave once they are loaded. Quickly. I hate getting all dressed up and ready to go, then sitting in the car to wait for my mom (when I was a kid, that was like the most frustrating part of my life... ) I load em, and we leave when I feel like it. Usually the movement quiets them down, by the time we get to the highway. If they are really just pawing back there (as opposed to out-and-out tantrums) then I'm really not terribly concerned. It's noisy, but not awful...especially if they aren't stressed out on arrival and the trailer is protected against damage.

    I also make a point of opening the escape doors when I stop, even for gas. The old trailer just had windows, so I dropped the bars when we stopped. Noisy filly usually gets enough to look at that she forgets to be an idiot. If she's quiet while I fill the truck, I talk to her a bit and tell her she's a good girl. She also usually gets some apple slices or cookies when we stop, after she's stood a few minutes quietly. This horse really, really likes attention from humans.

    Does your horse maybe dislike shipping boots? This filly of mine can get a little fixated on things like that, if she couldn't reach down to itch a boot, or pull it off if she didn't like it, she'd make quite a scene until she got it off too. Wraps don't bug her, but they stay in place better than shipping boots (IME.) My gelding also does this, if his boots are bothering him on the trail, he tries to scratch it with his head/nose, then paws and gets balky...usually means something is stuck under a bell boot. As another paw/boot stress anecdote, my TB gelding started to paw uncontrollably the first time he noticed that his galloping boots had flashing LED lights in them. He had dropped his head to scratch, and realized that his legs were blinking. Cue aggressive pawing/flicking for about 10 minutes (I wasn't riding, he was loose in the arena to roll, just his boots on.) I LAUGHED...
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
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    3,622

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    This is the issue I have with my draft cross. He only does it while being trailered alone. Slamming on the breaks doesn't help. He paws so much that he usually dislodges the chest bar. I have toyed with letting him ride untied, witht he divider out, but have to admit I am a bit chicken to try this.
    With a buddy, you don't know he is back there. The problem is that with his size, it is nervewracking (he is 17 hands). He gets the trailer AND truck rockin' and rolling. Therefore, we don't go anywhere alone. I can't deal with the stress.
    I used to have a trailer buddy, but she is MIA at the moment. I have asked everywhere for a free trailer buddy, but sadly, no takers.
    Therefore, we have been grounded lately.
    Once we buy a farm, my daughter will get another horse and then the problem will be solved...but until our house sells, it is really frustrating!
    Lori T
    www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
    www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep



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