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Need input, ASAP, problem loader

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  • Need input, ASAP, problem loader

    The ASAP is because it is late and I'm heading out early in the morning to do this task.....any thoughts would be appreciated.

    A friend is taking her horse to a trainer tomorrow and he is a "no load" horse so she has asked me to come help her. He was last in a trailer 3 years ago when he was 3 and now he is 6 and spoiled. The past few weeks she has been working on getting "to" the trailer. He will walk half way in by himself. If she puts the halter on him he is defiant. No problem, I can deal with that.

    I'm experienced with difficult loaders and have my equipment to use if needed but she visited with her vet, a first class vet whom I also use, and she sent her out with a cocktail- dormosedan/ace is what I think it is. My question is this: with this veteran problem loader would you use the cocktail right off the bat and try to load him?? Or would you try your regular methods first and if they didn't work get him to settle down and then dose him?? I have never had to use drugs to load a horse so I'm not sure what sequence to do here....

  • #2
    tranqs don't tend to work when the animal is agitated....

    Have somethig on hand to throw over his head to 'bind fold' him...


    • Original Poster

      Now that is a tool I've never used for a difficult loader, a blind fold. Interesting and I will keep that in mind!

      Right, they need to be calm when you give it then wait 10-15 minutes before starting the task. I just can't decide whether to try it right off the bat or see if the problem is 50%+ handler error that maybe I can overcome- my buddy is suuuuper nice but will be the first to tell you she is not very experienced.


      • #4
        Originally posted by SLW View Post
        Now that is a tool I've never used for a difficult loader, a blind fold. Interesting and I will keep that in mind!

        Right, they need to be calm when you give it then wait 10-15 minutes before starting the task. I just can't decide whether to try it right off the bat or see if the problem is 50%+ handler error that maybe I can overcome- my buddy is suuuuper nice but will be the first to tell you she is not very experienced.
        of course, I don't think it works on a step up....
        We just had 2h Brenderup type...and an old veteran mare who knew too well to get about....(sigh...shetty in a TB body)


        • #5
          Give "cocktail" in stall ~ wait 15 minutes then load up !

          This is the method I am familiar with *

          Administer 'cocktail' in stall

          Wait 15 minutes maybe 20

          Load up ~

          Best not to try before 'cocktail' for fear of agitation

          Just allow the 'cocktail' to help :

          get him loaded

          keep him calm

          delivered to his destination safely ~

          Good Luck !

          * with this 'cocktail' all will be fine ....

          using Palmer ?

          ** last tht is there a quiet horse to load first = a traveling buddy ?
          put other horse ( mare) on first and then he will 'join up' even better !

          *** hope this helps ~ you really should not have any trouble ~ YOU know what you're doing ! All the faith in you to get this horse delivered safely !
          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


          • #6
            Just say yes to drugs, save all of you an aggravating morning

            Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


            • #7
              Agreed with the other posters, the drugs will be more effective if he is not already stressed. Sometimes, the aid of drugs will help them relax a bit about the whole process in general- a couple of times loading quietly while buzzed will help them have a positive experience and chill out in future sober loadings.


              • #8
                Alagirl beat me to it - blindfold, and blindfold early - say, 10-15 minutes before you load. I have seen the worst loaders walk in like lambs like this way....
                VP Horse & Carriage Association of NYC



                • #9
                  I have never seen a problem loader load with drugs. It just takes time and patience, and quite frankly the use of drugs has prolonged the issue.

                  Good luck !


                  • #10
                    Won't help you tomorrow, but I'd head out there on a free afternoon with nowhere to go, with a six pack, gloves, a buggy whip, and a copy of the John Lyons book "On Horses" open to the trailer loading chapter, and actually train the horse (and owner!) to self load and unload safely and easily. Good luck!
                    Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                    • #11
                      Keep in mind today, what you are really working with is a leading problem....
                      Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Badger View Post
                        Keep in mind today, what you are really working with is a leading problem....
                        YES! And people being in a hurry and waiting till the last minute to train this.
                        Time every day spent, Walking forward backing up. Away from the trailer.
                        I broke several horses of this problem, It takes time consistency and patience not drugs and ropes.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you, thank you!! Heading out now.

                          Zuzu- yes, but she is working with the other owner vet on this horse.

                          Badger, amen, amen- its a leading problem.


                          • #14
                            Here's hoping you've got a dose for the way home too, unless it's a short walk. There are all sorts of ways to teach a horse to load. This horse really needs to learn one and if the owner can't do it, she needs to get someone who can get this horse in and out (and in and out, etc), of the trailer and teach her how to do it.

                            Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.


                            • #15
                              Yes, I had a bad loader who decided late on dark and stormy night on our way home from drill team, there was NO WAY he was going in the trailer, Then I totally screwed things up, juuuuuuust when he was going in and had one last little foot still on the ramp, to raise the ramp and "help" him in. GIANT MISTAKE. Don't do that! He bolted back, and then just no. was not going to load. The fabulous woman with me finally took off her vest and hung it over his ears, taped it on and he did walk in like an angel. So the blindfold thing, with whatever is handy, can work!

                              I also like the calm, drug early and wait idea. No drama (one hopes). Just calm. Relaxed. And with luck he will walk on and see that there is no. scary. thing. Sure, a traveling buddy is enormously helpful if one is available.
                              I would just think that the less chance of fight/drama/rebellion the better, and just like others have said, he may come to realize that he can do this sober, with no drama.

                              Glad you are going to be there, sounds like you have been through a few rodeos before and know how to do this!!

                              Didn't see where you are so perhaps he is already on and loaded and crusing down the road like a champ!


                              • #16
                                And remember that tomorrow, all you have to do is load the horse, which is quite different from actually teaching the horse to load.
                                "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                                • #17
                                  Waiting on an update, SLW! You are such a good friend, not to mention great horse woman ... I am sure you had minimal difficulty.


                                  • #18
                                    I like the blindfold, it can work like a charm. I also would not have fed him and had his grain. Also, patience, let them think about it sometimes helps.

                                    Then, work on it when you don't need to go anywhere. I had to get my girl to a clinic a few weeks ago, by myself, in the rain. Thankfully she loaded up but only because we had some trailer therapy .
                                    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                    • #19
                                      Too late to offer advice. Just want to say I would never, ever, blind fold a horse to get it to load.
                                      "Anti-intellect and marketing, pretty, pretty, who needs talent
                                      Crying eyes, we're so outnumbered, fight for the right to remain silent" Buck 65


                                      • Original Poster

                                        All done. No drama. No drugs.

                                        A little more background so the story fleshes out better from my quick post last night. The friend is, ah hem, older than I and probably will never ride her gelding but also doesn't want to have an unusable horse to rehome at some point knowing those horses have bad outcomes. This is why she is sending him to the trainer. The horse is well taken care of- regular farrier work, vaccinations, deworming, etc. and lives with his roomie on a nice pasture. He can be handled, she admits he is spoiled because she and her husband just don't have the depth of knowledge they need.

                                        I got there early to observe and the gelding was frantic being separated from his roomie in a pen. Running, neighing, blah, blah. She caught him and handed him over to me and I immediately put a chain leadrope on with the chain in place. I led him away from roomie and he came, haltingly, but he came. I liked that effort a lot. One time he gave a nice pull back to go back to roomie and hit the end of the chain. He did not freak out so that was good- he understood that leaving me meant the bridge of his nose stung.

                                        So I did some back and forth walking away from roomie and back to her for 15 minutes while reading the guys body language. He does not respect a persons space so with a longe whip we worked on that. He was a very thinking horse, he did not get frantic with me, he was puzzled. Of course he didn't catch on completely during this quick workout but he never ran over me- he kept his ears and eyes on me and not his roomie. Smart horse.

                                        In case we needed to use a butt rope I wanted to gauge his reaction to ropes on his butt and down on his legs so I brought out my lasso, left over from dear daughters rodeo days. These are handy when one person needs to move a horse forward- put the loop over the top of the rump and let it drop down to that sweet spot on the curve of the haunches, then give it a tug. He moved forward nicely. Sometimes tapping them with short whip will make them move away and not forward which is why a lasso is handy. I removed it from his rump then dangled it by his legs and he became nicely freaked out. By nice I mean that I could see his reaction which was frantic but not deadly and when I removed it/got him untangled he was immediately calm again. Again, a thinking horse paying attention and staying with us.

                                        The Sundowner trailer arrived with one horse on board in the front slant. The last two slants were left open to provide a nice big box target for him. The other gal who was going to help arrived with the trailer. We took the chain off his nose and she did the leading while I worked the rear end. Within 5 minutes he was walking half way in while his roomie was screaming and running like crazy. We did a few in and outs with him halfway and he ignored her and seemed very curious about the trailer. Within 15 minutes he walked in and stood nicely. They were wisely leaving the big space open for his trailer ride and not boxing him in.

                                        I really appreciate everyone's ideas, advice and experiences. The past few days I had been mulling over the sedation issues and trying to see how it would work. I use ace for certain things and understand that but from working at a vet clinic for 10 years I also know that not all horses absorb sedation the same. Some become sooooo sluggish and some blow through it. When the trailer arrived my other buddy helping me this morning and I chatted and we both thought we would rather try this guy unsedated- we know how unseated horses react and this guy had shown me a lot of "try" in the 45 minutes we waited for the trailer.