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Horse wont back out of trailer

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  • Horse wont back out of trailer

    Hi All
    my seasoned campaigner came up with a very strange issue, he will not back out of the trailer. I have a 2 horse bumper pull. He's travelled in this at least a hundred times and never an issue.
    He will back up on the ground, albeit crookedly.
    He will back down an incline if his front feet are on the incline and hind feet on the flat.
    He will back up an incline.
    He will not back from flat down an incline. If you ask firmly he will jump forward of go sideways.

    Nothing is showing up anywhere else, he is doing some of the best work ever currently. Canter transitions are on point and does not and never has had any tendancy to cross canter.

    If I couldn't get him out of the trailer, I wouldn't even be aware there was an issue.

    I've had his usual body worker check him, he was tight in the hind but nothing stood out as super interesting. Horse has no prior injuries that might be flaring up, horse is also young.

    I am booking a full vet work up for him, but in the meantime, has anyone else experienced this? I've realised it's nothing to do with the trailer, it's taking the weight behind. It's not behavioural/habit/fright. It's a very specific circumstance.

    Thanks for any ideas.

  • #2
    He can't see where he is going. Teach him to lower his head as he backs. This way he can see between his hind legs where the ramp is. Work on this on other slopes and even down a tiny step before you try the trailer. Then, if he won't put his head down in the trailer, put a shallow pan of grain on the floor of the trailer and then scoot it back so he will have to back up to eat it. Keep scooting it back so he had to back up to eat. You can also see if he will turn his head to see where he is going. Move the partition over and let him come off at an angle.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
      He can't see where he is going. Teach him to lower his head as he backs. This way he can see between his hind legs where the ramp is. Work on this on other slopes and even down a tiny step before you try the trailer. Then, if he won't put his head down in the trailer, put a shallow pan of grain on the floor of the trailer and then scoot it back so he will have to back up to eat it. Keep scooting it back so he had to back up to eat. You can also see if he will turn his head to see where he is going. Move the partition over and let him come off at an angle.
      Thanks
      would this suddenly be a thing though? It just literally appeared one day, and now it's a really big thing.
      I would have thought anything like that would have always been present?

      Comment


      • #4
        It's good that you're having a good workup done.

        In the meantime, do partial loading - load him to the point his front feet are in the trailer (flat) and his hind end is still on the ramp. See if he acts uncomfortable in that position. That loads the front end differently than any other configuration, especially the shoulder and wither area. If he wants to hold his head higher than normal while in that position, that would be a telling symptom to me.

        "Load" and unload him that way several times, see if anything changes (for better or worse)
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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        • #5
          I've had this issue with a couple horses and both times it was stifles.

          In your first post you indicate he backs up crooked on the ground, nor back from flat to down. I'd be looking hard at his stifles, his back (SI, Lumbar), and hocks. Along with any soft tissues such as suspensory.

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          • #6
            Put your truck-trailer in his regular pasture, unhook the horse, latch open the back door, and walk away. When he gets hungry and thirsty enough he'll teach himself to back out.

            Or, you can do what I saw a guy do one day. He backed the combo up to a tree, ran a line around the tree, up the side of the horse, through the rings on the halter over the nose, and then back to the tree. He then started up the truck and very slowly went forward. The horse backed out (not willingly and not gracefully, but out).

            I guess these may be the two extremes. The first is unlikely to cause injury, the second maybe more so.

            Re-teaching lessons on moving backwards is a good idea. This not a terribly "natural" movement for most horses.

            Good luck with project.

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with looking into medical issues. Does the trailer have a ramp? I think if horse is used to a ramp and your trailer doesn't have one that could be an issue.

              Comment


              • #8
                Things just don't start for no reason. If he has been backing out of this trailer for the first 99 times you have hauled him in it and suddenly is refusing then I would think it is pain related.

                For some horses backing out of a trailer can be a scary thing. I've never had a ramp so we have that point where the first leg out has that uncertainty of "where is the ground?" It can be unnerving for some.

                I don't know if you have a ramp or not but I imagine that backing up is for some reason causing him discomfort.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                  It's good that you're having a good workup done.

                  In the meantime, do partial loading - load him to the point his front feet are in the trailer (flat) and his hind end is still on the ramp. See if he acts uncomfortable in that position. That loads the front end differently than any other configuration, especially the shoulder and wither area. If he wants to hold his head higher than normal while in that position, that would be a telling symptom to me.

                  "Load" and unload him that way several times, see if anything changes (for better or worse)
                  Have done this.
                  front feet on ramp hind on ground will go forward and back. Cannot stand all of him on the ramp, if you try he just keeps going forward and once he is in the trailer, you cant get him out.

                  It's the same on any other incline, so I don't need to involve the trailer, which is asking for more injuries, so I'm confident until I can get him backing down a slope outside, he will not back out of the trailer.

                  Other questions
                  Yes the trailer has a ramp, and is the same trailer we have always had. waiting out a horse that cannot physically remove himself from the trailer is a place I'm not willing to go. He will go under the petition to turn around as he cannot get out any other way.

                  I also believe it's a pain response (or discomfort) not a training or fright, as it occurs in every one of the same backing on an incline scenario. It came on suddenly and acutely.

                  I am wondering why it's not showing up elsewhere though, to ride forward he isn't lame, tracking up straight and cantering better than ever.

                  Hopefully it's just a minor thing.

                  Last edited by kiwichick; Sep. 30, 2019, 08:32 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This happened to me once. It was EPM. Took less than a week on Marquis to fix him right up.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                      This happened to me once. It was EPM. Took less than a week on Marquis to fix him right up.
                      We don't have that down here (too cold LoL) but that goodness it sounds awful

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Do you have access to step up?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is the ramp stable? I wonder if he feels it isn't for some reason?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            So I'm just going to update this.

                            Did a work up, problem is obvious when backing down an incline or lifting hind legs (one moreso)
                            Did a large number of x-rays (like way over 20) ruled out a bunch of things.
                            It's bilateral which is stumping everyone.

                            Ran bloods and screened for things like tying up or toxin, nothing showed.

                            Next steps are to start ruling out things like hind suspensories, although vet and I agree it's unlikely due to the presentation.

                            Bute has helped free up the stiffness in the hind legs.

                            We are currently doing a couple of trials of things, but no answers yet.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My boy didn't want to walk downhill or back when he pulled his hamstring. I was told to put aloguard on either side of the inside muscle at the top of his back legs when standing behind him.
                              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Did you have a neurological work up done? Neck rads?

                                ​​​
                                Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by sascha View Post
                                  Did you have a neurological work up done? Neck rads?

                                  ​​​
                                  Neuro work up is next to rule out a couple of things, vet doesn't believe it's neurological (neither do I)
                                  i had the neck looked at by infrared and it didn't indicate anything amiss.
                                  Suspiscion at this stage is a mild toxin ingested (there is one in pasture down here)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had this happen with my mare (though in a step down) and it did end being a behavioral/nervous/training issue, rather than a physical one.

                                    However she's a quirky, opinionated mare, so weird things have come up from time to time that have ended up just being her and her anxiety or insecurity rather than a physical issue.

                                    We resolved it eventually with a really patient cowboy trainer who had a great methodology for fixing it. It worked so well that now she's a tricky loader in that when you load her, she immediately wants to back out because we practiced so much.
                                    Jennifer Baas
                                    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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