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  • Loading issues

    Hello!! I’m new to this. But I’ve found a lot of help reading thru different forums. I’ve got a 19 year old just shy of 16 hand TWH. He’s got several quirks about him but my biggest issue is his loading issues. I’ve been using the Move his feet method and it does work. But how long I’m I gonna have to move his feet in order to get him to load? Should I alway start each loading session with moving his feet or give him the benefit of the doubt? FYI. I’m loading him into a two horse straight load. Along side my 10 y/o twh mare. Any and all tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

  • #2
    I'm not sure of the question. What happens if you just load him into the trailer?

    What do you mean specifically by moving his feet?

    If he is giving you trouble loading and you have a ground work method that helps then you use it until he self loads like a normal horse.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have not idea about the moving the feet method.

      Basically get him leading correctly. Beside you. He walks when you click, he halts when you say halt and he backs when you place a thumb (no push with it) on his chest and say the word back. Always 2 signals for back you don't want him backing out when you tell the other horse to back.

      Lead here there and everywhere.

      With the ramp 2 hooves on. Halt Praise. 2 hooves off Halt Praise.

      4 hooves on ramp. Halt. Praise. 4 hooves off ramp Halt praise

      2 hooves in trailer Halt. Praise. Back off ramp Halt. praise.

      4 hooves in trailer. Halt. Back off Praise.

      Horse in trailer. Halt Praise. Back off Praise.

      Horse in trailer. Halt. Praise. Stay halted. Praise. Back off and praise.

      In the end you should be able to go forward steps, back 2 steps forward 6 steps back 4 steps , whatever you want.
      It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

      Comment


      • #4
        He needs to be trained to load. John Lyons has a good method for that.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm assuming the 'move your feet method" is about making the horse move (like some little bit of lunging right outside the trailer) if he chooses to not at least look towards/into the trailer. So if he starts going sideways, or backing up ,he gets to go to work, and after a minute (maybe 10 seconds, not literally a minute) he gets the chance to try going forward into or at least staying facing the trailer.

          Make the right thing easy, the wrong thing hard.

          But it's also not that simple as there are nuances to it all, ie body language, so it can be done incorrectly if you've never had someone really walk you through it, or aren't already good with language.

          We'd need a lot more info on what he is actually doing, to offer any suggestions.

          Most trailer loading issues are rooted in leading issues - the horse is a follower because it isn't putting him out, he's happy to follow. But he may not actually be leading, going where you ask him to go, and how you ask him to go. Forward, backward, sideways, over things, stopping with his front and back ends on opposite sides of a pole, moving 2 feet, or 2, or walking a full 4 feet forward.

          Does he automatically start walking off the instant you start leaning forward to walk off? If not, start there - long whip used in your outside hand to ask his hind end to move - do not pull him. All movement, forward AND back, starts with the butt.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            I have seen the moving feet thing backfire if it turns into razzing up the horse on a small circle on the lead rope so that he comes to associate loading with getting wound up. I prefer quiet persistence. Can't stop facing the trailer door.

            Comment


            • #7
              When I was young, I had a horse with this problem. My mom hooked up the car and trailer and put them into a field with the horse.

              And then added his feed and hay into the trailer. The only way the horse could eat was to walk into the trailer. Daily, the feed was moved another foot farther inside. Within a week we had a horse who would walk right in. Same thing with having the trailer move. Maybe only 10' and when he got nervous, the trailer stopped and he got his grain.

              After 2 weeks of this, we had a horse who ran into the trailer and stood like a rock.
              PS always have the trailer hooked up.
              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

              Comment


              • #8
                I also saw someone train a horse to load years ago by feeding him in the trailer like Lord helpus suggests. It worked for her. But be warned that some horses like car paint (and trailer paint). We found that out after parking a trailer in the pasture, where we foolishly thought it would be easier to store, since every other place we considered involved backing it up. there was a lot of grass to eat, but both of my horses tried to eat the trailer instead and wrecked the paint job. (We learned how to back the trailer after that and planned a pull-through carport for the trailer at our next house.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am another fan of John Lyon’s trailer loading method.

                  Also, give him the chance to do what you want before you correct him. Always. In everything.

                  i bought a horse recently. He had been at a trainer/ sale barn for 3 months. Trainer and assistant loaded him with one person leading into the trailer and the other behind him waving a lunge whip. It took a couple of tries but it wasn’t ugly - wasn’t exactly pretty either.

                  I like a self loading horse and do not like to have to walk in the trailer. So I figure I have some training to do with this horse. The first time I go to work on loading with him I walk him up to the trailer, throw the rope over his neck, and cluck to him. He stands for a minute and I let him think. Cluck again and he walks right in. Unload him, go to load him again and he goes directly in.

                  Always, always give your horse the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to succeed.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I also want a self loading horse. But not a self unloading horse!

                    I was always intriuged by the idea of putting the trailer in the field. But now that I have a trailer and am used to loading, I feel that I wouldn't necessarily want the horse to think of a trailer as something they go in *and out" at will. They need to wait for your cue.

                    Anyhow I got a trailer in large part because my horse trailers well, but she's gotten even better over time, and my friends horses have also become self loading in my straight haul.

                    ​​​​​​I agree that giving the horse a chance to think and then step in is the best way forward to self loading.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                      I have seen the moving feet thing backfire if it turns into razzing up the horse on a small circle on the lead rope so that he comes to associate loading with getting wound up. I prefer quiet persistence. Can't stop facing the trailer door.
                      That's an implementation problem, rather than a method problem

                      Far too many people can't read horse's body language well enough to see what the issue is with the trailer, whether they're just ignoring, are afraid, or are actively doing whatever they want. Then they go about the movement piece badly too, there should be no razzing. A sense of urgency, yes, this isn't time to dawdle. They never let the horse stop and process things. There's more to it than goosing them onto a tiny circle the instant they horse stops walking forward.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a horse who is, to put it mildly, HORRIFIC to load. Oh my god, I've never encountered something like him. I honestly think it all goes back to him being barn sour. He doesn't want to leave his "home". We moved barns recently and it took me 2 hours to get him into the trailer. I have a "trick" I learned to get horses who are naughty to load and he still took 2 hours to load. Interestingly enough the first time I took him off the property (I got him less than 4 months ago off the track) he was hesitant to load but "my trick" worked. Took him on a trail ride and he loaded back in no problem - again I think it goes back to the barn sour nature. When he did finally get in he just sighed and stepped in - like whatever no big deal.

                        I don't know what kind of horse you have, but for some of the hotter breeds (I have OTTBs), moving them too much can make things worse. My TBs are going to outlast me.....I am going to get tired well before them, probably by at least 36 hours lol.

                        I'm hesitant to post the "trick" I learned because 1) it's a bit hard to explain and 2) I'm sure there's 83 other people here who are going to tell me how horrible this is (it's not). This was taught to me by a woman who has had horses for the last 70 years ...... she's now 80 and frequently loads alone so if there's an issue it needs to be able to be dealt with if it's just her. And as a disclaimer to this my horses learn to load without this method, this is just something I use when they are having an opinion about getting in the trailer. It works for both straight and slant loads.

                        So you start by taking a lunge line and running one end through the "loop" in the trailer where you'd tie your horse or have a clip there already. You slide it through and bring both ends to the loading end of the trailer - so after you've looped it through you have both the end of the lunge line and the clip of the lunge line at the loading end of the trailer. Clip the horse to the lunge line and pick up the part of the lunge line you would normally hold. Stand on the side of the horse and pick up the part of the lunge line you would hold then put some pressure on it, while encouraging the horse to go forward. Since you're on the side you can use your voice or have a whip in the other hand, or if your lunge line is long enough you'll have enough room on the line to encourage them forward with the excess lunge line. If the horse pulls back just put more pressure on the side of the lunge line that you're holding ...... you have more leverage since the line has been pulled through the hoop and essentially the horse pulls against itself. As soon as the horse steps forward just stop putting any tension on the lunge line.

                        I have found this method to work quite well for even the naughtiest of horses, including my own naughty one. It did take a long time because he was especially bad, BUT 1) he's the first horse I've had this not work within 3 minutes and 2) he was REALLY bad - rearing and striking and what not (which are issues we need to and have been addressing). I also really like this method because it allows you to be on the outside of the trailer......sometimes when loading green or naughty horses you really don't want to be on the inside of the trailer if they decide to say "well ok here I come!" and launch themselves in.

                        With this particular horse I learned from his track connections (and amazing owner who I still talk to) he's never really liked loading. After that recent issue our plan is to work on loading as much as I can. Get in, get out. Repeat times three thousand. Just make it so it's no big deal. I mean I do get the philosophy behind "if they don't want to do it make the wrong choice hard and the right choice easy", but sometimes horses are more stubborn than us and then we get their adrenaline running sky high and all of a sudden getting in the trailer becomes "A Big Deal". I'm not a horse trainer by any stretch of the imagination, but these are my two cents. I hope you get it figured out

                        Another Adult Amature and her OTTB: https://eventingottb.wordpress.com

                        Repurposed Racehorses
                        https://repurposedracehorses.weebly.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Scribbler;n10495461]I also want a self loading horse. But not a self unloading horse!

                          [/QUOTE

                          With the Lyon's method they also learn to wait for a cue to unload. If they unload themselves you just put them right back in again. Eventually they figure it out. I give my horses a tug on the tail and cluck to them when I am ready to unload.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            stb exactly. That's the whole point of proper trailer loading - the horse does as you ask, when you ask, and doesn't make the decisions for himself. Never make a big deal of the horse back out by himself, just ask him to get back in.

                            In the beginning, you might only ask him to stand there for 2 seconds before you ask him to back out - ask him before it's his idea. Increase the time based on how comfortable he is feeling in there.
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rnichols View Post
                              I have a horse who is, to put it mildly, HORRIFIC to load. Oh my god, I've never encountered something like him. I honestly think it all goes back to him being barn sour. He doesn't want to leave his "home". We moved barns recently and it took me 2 hours to get him into the trailer. I have a "trick" I learned to get horses who are naughty to load and he still took 2 hours to load. Interestingly enough the first time I took him off the property (I got him less than 4 months ago off the track) he was hesitant to load but "my trick" worked. Took him on a trail ride and he loaded back in no problem - again I think it goes back to the barn sour nature. When he did finally get in he just sighed and stepped in - like whatever no big deal.

                              I don't know what kind of horse you have, but for some of the hotter breeds (I have OTTBs), moving them too much can make things worse. My TBs are going to outlast me.....I am going to get tired well before them, probably by at least 36 hours lol.

                              I'm hesitant to post the "trick" I learned because 1) it's a bit hard to explain and 2) I'm sure there's 83 other people here who are going to tell me how horrible this is (it's not). This was taught to me by a woman who has had horses for the last 70 years ...... she's now 80 and frequently loads alone so if there's an issue it needs to be able to be dealt with if it's just her. And as a disclaimer to this my horses learn to load without this method, this is just something I use when they are having an opinion about getting in the trailer. It works for both straight and slant loads.

                              So you start by taking a lunge line and running one end through the "loop" in the trailer where you'd tie your horse or have a clip there already. You slide it through and bring both ends to the loading end of the trailer - so after you've looped it through you have both the end of the lunge line and the clip of the lunge line at the loading end of the trailer. Clip the horse to the lunge line and pick up the part of the lunge line you would normally hold. Stand on the side of the horse and pick up the part of the lunge line you would hold then put some pressure on it, while encouraging the horse to go forward. Since you're on the side you can use your voice or have a whip in the other hand, or if your lunge line is long enough you'll have enough room on the line to encourage them forward with the excess lunge line. If the horse pulls back just put more pressure on the side of the lunge line that you're holding ...... you have more leverage since the line has been pulled through the hoop and essentially the horse pulls against itself. As soon as the horse steps forward just stop putting any tension on the lunge line.

                              I have found this method to work quite well for even the naughtiest of horses, including my own naughty one. It did take a long time because he was especially bad, BUT 1) he's the first horse I've had this not work within 3 minutes and 2) he was REALLY bad - rearing and striking and what not (which are issues we need to and have been addressing). I also really like this method because it allows you to be on the outside of the trailer......sometimes when loading green or naughty horses you really don't want to be on the inside of the trailer if they decide to say "well ok here I come!" and launch themselves in.

                              With this particular horse I learned from his track connections (and amazing owner who I still talk to) he's never really liked loading. After that recent issue our plan is to work on loading as much as I can. Get in, get out. Repeat times three thousand. Just make it so it's no big deal. I mean I do get the philosophy behind "if they don't want to do it make the wrong choice hard and the right choice easy", but sometimes horses are more stubborn than us and then we get their adrenaline running sky high and all of a sudden getting in the trailer becomes "A Big Deal". I'm not a horse trainer by any stretch of the imagination, but these are my two cents. I hope you get it figured out
                              I've seen this method used in a ground work clinic and also once or my twice by my coach. It does work but I decided it was above my pay grade as an older ammie! If I'm taking my friends for trail rides their horses need to load nicely, and if I ever end up with a problem loader of my own I'll get professional help.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                An alternative:

                                My horse was hard to load but the barn trainer helped him work through that. Since, I've watched him train many balky horses to load. My horse who wouldn't load with a local dressage trainer's working students all trying to get him to load. My horse decided eating grass was better and just saying "no" was OK. This went on for over an hour. The fix in this situation was putting him back in a stall, which he didn't like, and backing the trailer up to the barn. He simply walked on as he decided he was ready to go home. I wanted to kill him.

                                We have a roundpen with 6' high wooden rails. The trainer starts a newby hard-to-load horse by putting the horse in the roundpen and backing the trailer up to it. He uses a verbal command to load (so the horse learns a verbal command) while using a stick or a flag to tell the horse it'll be approached to move when away from the trailer but that pressure stops when it approaches the trailer. Then, he moves on to the horse will be made to move it's feet when away from the trailer and when looking at the trailer, but totally stops when the horse makes incremental approaches to the trailer. This goes on until the horse puts the front feet on and then loads. The "release" is going into the trailer, which horses figure out pretty quickly. To accomplish this you have to have patience and excellent timing so you reward "the try" and "curiosity". You have to be patient to allow the horse to develop curiosity with this new "thing". Make the right things easy and the wrong things hard. I've seen him teach a distrustful mustang to load in 2 days with this method. He also put on facebook a video of my horse on a longeline loading while he's sitting in a chair directing him. I don't know how he did that.

                                I think using leverage on the halter to "make" a horse load increased the "big deal of loading" in a horse's mind. Make it the horse's idea. They'll be much calmer about future loadings and will be happier participants.

                                Seriously, this is my hard to load horse:
                                https://www.facebook.com/remounthors...jg1NTE3MzUxMA/
                                Last edited by J-Lu; Oct. 14, 2019, 10:42 PM.
                                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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