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How do YOU teach your young horses to back out of the trailer?

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  • How do YOU teach your young horses to back out of the trailer?

    How do YOU teach your young horses to *** politely and slowly *** back out of the trailer? Not letting them turn around in the trailer! And when you can stand in the *** back *** of a slant load or straight load and ask them to back out only verbally?

  • #2
    Mine know how to back not in the trailer first ( seems obvious, I know). My babies usually go up for food the first few times, eat a bit, then back out. I teach them to back by pressure on their chest or shoulder so when I want them to back out, it is the same. I have someone standing on the side of the ramp so they don't fall off... I straight load. I have to trailer by myself a lot so this is very critical that mine load and get off easily. I am not usually a big treat person but food is an awesome motivator for trailering ( and for me in general - ha ha).
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


    • #3
      I teach it when I'm teaching loading

      I don't get more than 2 feet in until the horse walks up there, puts the 2 feet on when *I* ask, stands there, and then backs off when *I* ask.

      Then we can load all 4 feet on but not walk all the way on. Stand until *I* ask otherwise.

      THEN we load all the way. By that time, they have repeated the forward/backward deal many, many times. People often forget that trailer "loading" is just as much about getting off as it is getting on.

      I tug on the tail to ask them to back up. I teach that on the ground first, no trailer involved.

      Remember to break it all down into all the piece-parts. If your horse doesn't willingly lead, stand, and back up without a trailer involved, he won't when the trailer is there.
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        I have a slant step up that opens up like a stock trailer...fully open in the back. I find it easier to turn all my horses around and go out forwards. I do have the odd one or two that will back out but it's not necessary.


        • #5
          I can't say I have ever "taught" any of my youngun's to back off the trailer. We have a straight load with the ramp. We do usually have someone on each end and if safe and feasible someone will grab the tail as the move backwards.

          Horses see really well behind them... so when the back doors are open and the ramp goes down I think it's natural for them to want to "move" towards the open space. A little guidance is all it seems to take.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dressage Art View Post
            How do YOU teach your young horses to *** politely and slowly *** back out of the trailer? Not letting them turn around in the trailer! And when you can stand in the *** back *** of a slant load or straight load and ask them to back out only verbally?
            I've put all the prior and proper preparation on first - the horse is responsive, is calm, and is looking to me for leadership. I stand inside with them and either gently drive them out with body language or pressure them out with fingertip pressure on their chest or nose or (wiggling) leadrope. Ask in phases and allow them as much time as necessary to figure it out, only correcting when they give the 'wrong answer' (ie. try to turn around). Our trailer is a step-up, so I will allow them to look back at the ramp and figure out how to step out, but they are not allowed to actually turn their front end. Eventually they figure out what you want and figure out for themselves how to go about it! Once they are comfortable with it and with doing it on their own, I can ask them from behind (verbally, tail pressure, or rope pressure) and allow them to do it on their own.

            ETA: as others have noted, teaching a horse to initially go into a trailer they learn how to back out of course too (approach and retreat back and forth into and out of the trailer), so it comes pretty natural just as part of the whole process.
            ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
            ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


            • #7
              Had one really silly mare that we had to put a head stall on and long line out if she had to back out. W/out she'd stand and refuse to move. With the headstall/long lines she'd back right out .. I <3 red mares
              "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


              • #8
                Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                I have a slant step up that opens up like a stock trailer...fully open in the back. I find it easier to turn all my horses around and go out forwards. I do have the odd one or two that will back out but it's not necessary.
                Ditto this, I have a difficult time getting my adults to back down the step, its a doozy. Everyone's stress level stays manageable if I allow them to turn around and walk off.
                Tracy Geller
                Find me on Facebook!


                • Original Poster

                  Some horses need to know how to back out, b/c they are too large to turn around... even in the WB trailers.

                  It's easier with straight loads, since you can access a horse from the front and ask them to back out, and there is only one way out as well. With slant, I do not want to go to the horse's head, since it might start turning around and slam me in to the wall, so I'm teaching to back out only from the back, without a front person.

                  It seems that the old way of just step back and step forward and standing ½ on and ½ off is the way to go + ground prep of backing up on command.


                  • #10
                    Obviously I teach them to back on the ground first. My horses are also voice trained.

                    Once in the trailer, I control every footfall by voice. So - I say back, back, back...etc... until we get to the rear of the trailer. Once we are out of room to back, we "whoa" for a second - I find that the pause allows them to gain composure and not shoot back and off. Then I say "step down" and they do. They learn really quickly that the step comes after the pause, and start seeking the ground with their hinds, rather than panicking and bolting backwards.