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pawing in the trailer

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  • pawing in the trailer

    We have a five year old mare is has a terrible pawing issue and is tearing up the matting in a brand new trailer. She has had this issue since the first time we hauled her (two years ago when we bought her). To my knowledge, she had not gotten a rough or "scary" ride. She has plenty of room and a hay net full of quality hay (which she does not tend to eat). Still paws even if there is another horse on the other side of her. She has not been left standing in the trailer for long periods of time. She also tends to paw in the cross ties so the pawing issue may not be only trailer related.

    Looking for your thougths and ideas on how to break this bad habit both in the trailer and when she is in the cross ties. Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    Sounds like she needs to learn patience.

    Tie her safely (like in a stall, not on cross ties), and leave her, until she stands quietly. Rinse, repeat.

    I don't mean tie her steadfast to the wall, without hay or water. Just tie her, reasonably, so she can have range of movement with her head to eat and drink, but so that she has to stand there.

    Nothing is more annoying that a horse that is impatient and banging in teh trailer. I will not unload my gelding until he is standing quietly. He doesn't paw much, but once in a while he will, when he can see his girlfriend outside the trailer and wants out. well, too bad. He stays in there until he's quiet. then he comes out.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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    • #3
      Can't help you with the cross-tie issue in the aisle, but if a horse kicks or paws in a trailer while traveling, tap the brakes and the horse will need all 4 on the floor to feel secure. Don't stomp, skid or do anything dangerous, literally tap-release for a little jiggle. This was told to me and it really worked. If the horse only paws when you're parked, you need to do lots of loading and unloading practice so she stands patiently. When my friend and I get new horses, we go places and don't rush off one the horses are loaded and we don't run to let them out when we arrive. We take "normal" time so our horses learn to be obedient. This helps when we do a day show and need to tie or put horses on the trailer (in rainy weather) while we wait for our next class. Don't reward, pet or soothe the horses while it's pawing! Only when it's quiet. They'll figure it out if you're consistent (which is the hard part). Good luck!
      There are days your horse gives you a ride and you feel like a million bucks! There are also those days when you feel like a cheap date...

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      • #4
        The second time I trailered my gelding, the first time he was sedated and shoved on the trailer, he managed to completely tear the mats off the wall of the trailer. He was never trailered until I got him and obviously he didn't remember his first trip. Fortunately once he realized the routine he's been an excellent passenger ever since.

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        • #5
          My WB youngster hated slant loads and would paw incessantly in them. Put him in a straight load and he hauled just fine. Could it be she just hates your trailer set up?
          Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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          • #6
            Tap. the. brakes.

            I try really hard to give horses the best, smoothest, easiest possible rides. But if they are so steady back there that they can pick a hoof up to paw or kick? Well then....

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            • #7
              I also tap the brakes when my horses do this in the trailer, which isn't often, usually when we get moving they don't make a peep back there...but if I do hear pawing, I also tap the brakes.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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              • #8
                Good luck. My mare paws in a slant or straight and has since she was a yearling (she's 8 this year). Luckily she doesn't do any damage so I ignore it....

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                • #9
                  Yes, it is a patience thing.

                  Mostly I ignore, and it has gone away. Be a good gentle slow hauler.

                  Haul more. Even trips to the gas station, around the block, feed store, and other short trailer rides will help I have found to teach them some patience. Maybe some treats when they get in the trailer or while they wait - if they are not moving their feet.

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                  • #10
                    I find that if I walk out of sight from the trailer my mare behaves just fine. Go figure

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