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Teaching horse to accept butt bar up on trailer

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    Teaching horse to accept butt bar up on trailer

    I have a two horse ramp trailer. My horse is not horrible with loading but could be better. He will get on if I lead him on but will not stand so I can go around to put the butt bar up. Also once I put the butt bar up he leans/sits on it and kicks and is just anxious in general. My trainer is out of town for the week and offered to leave her truck hooked up to the trailer so I can work with him this week. The past two day I have worked on self loading him. the 1st day was a little rough until he figured out that there was food at the front of the trailer. The second day he walked right on. He will back off slowly a few times but not in a panicked way. and then I just send him back on and he will eat a little more. I currently am leaving the divider to the side and not putting the butt bar up. I was thinking about putting the divider up today to see how he does with that. But I wonder how do I get him used to having the butt bar up and not getting upset and anxious? Any thoughts or suggestions?
    keep in mind I really only have until Sunday to work on this as I usually borrow my dad's truck when I need to haul (1-2 times a month) So working on this for an extended amount of time is not optimal.
    The Love for a Horse is just as Complicated as the Love for another Human being, If you have never Loved a Horse you will Never Understand!!!

    Practice putting something behind him away from the float, even if you are holding it.
    Last edited by SuzieQNutter; Jul. 27, 2020, 06:15 PM.
    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


      Originally posted by Crazy4aOTTB View Post
      keep in mind I really only have until Sunday to work on this as I usually borrow my dad's truck when I need to haul (1-2 times a month) So working on this for an extended amount of time is not optimal.
      Even a top pro isn't going to tell you "here's something you can do and by X day it will fix your problem". I'd step back and work on fundamentals like, does this horse accept a thick leadrope around the hindend, does this horse give to pressure, will this horse stand indefinitely in the trailer without a butt bar, can I do up the butt bar for 5 seconds and then release it without the horse getting nervous, etc. etc.

      In six days I don't think it is reasonable to completely work through the issue and expect that you won't need to repeat all of these foundation steps if you only trailer out once a month.


        He doesn't have an issue with the butt bar. He has an issue with being in the trailer in general. He gets anxious because when the butt bar goes up, his "escape route" is gone and now he is stuck there, and he knows it.

        So you continue doing what you are doing until he accepts standing in the trailer with no attempts to back up without a butt bar. Like, REALLY accepts it - no attempts to leave, no attempts to back up, cocks-a-leg-and-takes-a-nap accepts it...THEN you put the butt bar up. At the point it won't matter - he might take a step back and realize it's up, but he won't have the anxiety associated with feeling trapped in the trailer because he's already accepted that this is where he's supposed to be and he's not looking to keep an escape route open.

        I think your plan to go incrementally and add the divider back in is a good one, as well as doing this before you plan on adding the butt bar.
        Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.


          Your horse doesn’t care that the optimal time to work on this is the next few days. If you rush him, he’ll panic, and you’ll be worse off than you started.


            Go back a few steps. Ask him to step one foot on the ramp, then ask him to back off. Ask him to step two feet on the ramp, then ask him to back off. Each time he steps forward, wait until he is relaxed before asking him to step back. You need to be at the point where he will only step back when you ask. Then it doesn’t matter if you lead or send him on - he knows how to relax and manage his anxiety AND he knows you will ask him to back off at some stage.


              Buck Davidson just got kicked in the face putting a butt bar up, so no matter what you do, I'll say: BE CAREFUL and stay out of the kick zone.