Classic Horsemanship  

Go Back   Classic Horsemanship > The Classroom > General Horsemanship

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-15-2012, 10:36 AM   #1
Cattleman
Foal
 
Cattleman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 148
Default Extreme Trailer Loading

It is always surprising to me how many people have issues loading a horse into a trailer. My first thought when I hear this, is that people don't load there horses enough, if they were to load them regularly then when it came time to load a horse they would be used to it. However, a lot can be said in how a horse is loaded in a trailer. The other day I was talking with a very good horse trainer in my area about a horse I recently took into my care. This horse is a special circumstance, he was purchased as a young colt by a family who came under some misfortune a few months after purchasing the horse. They lost there land, and a few other things. They did a rather stupid and cruel thing in my book. When they moved, they kept there horse, however because they didn't have any land or money to rent a stall at a barn. They kept the horse inside there horse trailer in the backyard of there suburban home. This post is not to debate how ignorant and dumb this idea is, or to belittle the owners. The horse was eventually sold off to a ranch where it was able to roam for a few years. A few months ago I purchased the horse from the ranch and it is now in my care. This horse obviously has some issues to work through. When he was dropped off at my place, the owners went to unload him, after putting one foot down out of the trailer he reared up and hit his head on the roof of the trailer. He was dropped off in an open stock trailer, my desire is to help this horse out and give him a better life. One of the issues he must overcome is his fear of trailering.

When I was talking with this local horse trainer. He had recently won a national training competition and had successfully loaded a horse in a trailer from the opposite end of the arena. He told me he was confident I could help this horse through this issue. I asked him what he used to help horses become more confident with loading in a trailer. He said "The problem with most people who try and load a horse in the trailer is that they stand at the back of the horse and tap them on the butt. Or hoop and holler in hopes that it is uncomfortable for the horse to stand at the back of the trailer and will thus walk in. The problem with this is that it puts the mind of the horse on its hind end. He is constantly wondering what is going on behind him. The trick is to put the mind of the horse at the front of the trailer, you need to put the emphasis at the front not at the back." When I prodded him for more explanation. Like many good horsemen he said, "I am not going to tell you the answer or how to do it. Think about it and try it out" Like most students I got a little frustrated, and have thought a lot about what he meant and how to apply what he said.

My question is what do you think he meant? Do you agree with his method? I know there are many ways to load a horse, some better then others. So what do you do to help a horse become more confident in trailering? How would you apply what he said?
Cattleman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #2
wvrider
Foal
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Default

I am in no way an expert, but I would say that this horse is a special case. I think that I would approach it with the idea of haste makes waste. I'd start with one step and one step only and then I'd pet him and love on him until he was okay with that one step, and I'd be done for the day. Then we'd do the same thing everyday until he told me he was ready for another step. I'm sure that it would be time consuming, but will hopefully work in the end. As his confidence increases with everyday work, I think that will have a big impact as well.
As for the other trainer's method, it makes sense in theory, but I have no clue how to apply the theory.
wvrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
MikeF
Foal
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 17
Default

Although I don't know the "local horse trainer's" method of trailer loading, I will say that quite a few horse owner's tend to focus on the task at hand rather than the overall Big Picture.
Trailer loading is not about the trailer, or what's behind, or in front of the horse...it's All about being halter broke. A horse needs to be able to follow a person's feel and move forward, back, left or right without effort or taking the slack out of the lead rope. Many trailer loading problems can be fixed without even having a trailer present. It's about getting control of the horse's feet.
MikeF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2012, 07:28 AM   #4
QuietInMotion
Foal
 
QuietInMotion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Friday Harbor, WA- USA
Posts: 3
Default

I absolutely agree. "put the mind of the horse at the front of the trailer" When I teach horses to load, what ever pressure I choose to use (following the feel of the lead, or yielding to pressure behind) I keep it minimal and the moment the horse directs his attention to the front of the trailer I sit back and do nothing. If you can direct a horses attention in a specific direction and he focuses on it for long enough, eventually he just has to go up there and check it out. That way trailer loading is his idea. The trainers job is just to direct the horses attention, redirect it when necessary and sit back and wait for the horse to do the rest.
I wrote an interesting blog on some extreme trailer loading I did a few months ago. Making something a little more extreme just causes us to think a little harder about how it all works, always fun for a trainer.
http://equineclarity.wordpress.com/2...of-adrenaline/
QuietInMotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2012, 10:42 AM   #5
John
Foal
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grantsboro, North Carilina
Posts: 18
Default

trailer loading is no more than "halter Broke". if I can get the horse to follow the feel of the halter, ask for one step closer to the trailer and reward that step, settle the horse then ask for another step I can eventualy get any horse into the trailer. If the horse won't take a step (or try if to uncomfortable at the trailer) then I need to move away from the trailer and move their feet. Halter control is really hip control. Thats why you see thease guys (myself included) working from their saddle horses and going to thease colts hips and getting them to step over befor moving the front feet. As long as the horse knows that if he tries then he gets rubbed (if only for a few seconds) before asked to try again. I never try to load a horse I just ask them for forward. The more comfortable I can make the horse in the trailer the futher away I can point them at it and ask for forward and they load.
I had a client that I loaned Buck's book "The Faraway Horses" to, when I asked him about it he stated that the part about Buck sitting in the cab and loading a horse had to be embellished. The next day he was not at the barn so I grabbed a flighty 2yr old saddlebred filly (I have/had his premission to do whatever I wish with any of his horses) and spent 20-30 min. getting her to go forward when asked. then I got a soft brush, when ever she would take a step to the trailer then I would brush her. when ever she steped away from the trailer I woud "go to her hip"and have her work for a few steps. It wasn't long and she was seeking the trailer. In less than an hour I "loaded" her at least 15 times, allowing her out when her nerves woulden't let her stay any more. The next day when my friend asked me which horse I would like to start with I said "I had played with the fillie a bit yesterday and that she need some more work" When I brought her out and as I opened the trailer I had to keep asking her to step back as she wanted to get in. then I asked my friend if he remembered the part in Buck's book about loading? then I put my 60' rope on the halter, walked about 55' from the trailer, when she looked to the trailer I tossed my coils up to her and she loped to the trailer paused and walked in. This started as an experiment for me and now it is how I load every horse. the only time this has taken to long (for the humans) was a throughbred that learned to pull away from the halter, I spent 15 min. teaching to lead by the left front foot then led it into the trailer. Halter broke is halter broke weather on a foot or face.
John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
PurpleSageEquine
Weanling
 
PurpleSageEquine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Adin, CA
Posts: 66
Send a message via Yahoo to PurpleSageEquine
Default

What your local trainer & others have said here is right on, except I would never start a job I didn't intend to finish, i.e., asking for one step & quitting. Probably the first thing I would do is get this horse to understand the trailer isn't a bad place. Every horse that comes on my property gets tied to the trailer for grooming, saddle/unsaddling and any grain they might get. Pretty soon that trailer looks pretty darn inviting to just hang around.
While he is getting comfortable with the trailer in general you should be working on the ground work as outlined above and then one day just load him!
PurpleSageEquine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
JB Horse
Weanling
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 38
Default Trailer Loading

I am constantly surprised with methods used to attempt getting the horse in a trailer. Horses are claustrophobic by nature. It goes against their survival instinct. A true horseman knows "allows" the horse to become "comfortable" with the loading process & transport. Many people do not,first,consider potential previous treatment, possible reasons for any resistence. I have yet to encounter a horse that just runs & jumps into trailer, at his first exposure. Also, I have yet to have a "problem" horse calm down & hop in the trailer.
I have seen horses pulled into trailer with a chain & winch. I once walked past someone trying to pull horse into trailer, & ask me to swat the horse on the butt -- I did not know this woman. I was at a clinic conducted by known horseman. A student ask for help loading his resistant horse --- the horseman ask the guy to get in the trailer, then swatted the horse on the butt. The horse bolted into trailer, almost crushing the student. The name of the horseman, conducting the clinic, will remain anonymous. I am sure many other experiences exist. ANGER WILL NOT LOAD A HORSE. If you get frustrated, walk away & take a fresh start when you calm down. At times, I cannot resistent taking a horse away from some bonehead who is abusing the horse.

I like to get the horse comfortable with clastrophobia & trust before exposure to a trailer. I consider this prep be part of his foundation. When I encounter a resistent & scared horse, I like to get him away from trailer & work on the symptoms of resistence before asking him to load. A horse with a good foundation should not have loading issues. If I have to load a horse,"right now", I use the same process as one can learn from Ray H. & Buck B. I won't explain what already exits, they do it better than I. Communication, comfort, confidence, consistence, & trust -- if these points are ignored, you have issues.

I encounter more issues with addressing previous treatment, than horses with a good foundation that need to learn how to load.
JB Horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
JB Horse
Weanling
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 38
Default Trailer Load

I forgot to mention --- You work on "horse time." The horse does not care about your time or schedule.

If you can't finish what you start - don't start.

Previous replies have stated this. You are done not Finished until objective is achieved
JB Horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 11:51 AM   #9
Cattleman
Foal
 
Cattleman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 148
Default

As an update on this I thought I would mention that in the last few months of my working with horses I have found the following to be true:

"A horse that leads well, loads well"
Cattleman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
Mary Margaret
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Eastern Washington
Posts: 6
Default

This is an interesting topic and I agree with most everything that has been written here. I do disagree with the statement that you stay with it until you get the job done. Sometimes it is best to stop in a good place and come back later, maybe in 15 minutes or maybe tomorrow. It just depends. My other observation is that while getting the horse to willingly load itself is about the horse being halter broke, sometimes staying in the trailer is a different issue. If it were me, with Cattlemans special needs horse, I would start by building some trust with this particular horse that he won't be trapped in the trailer. I don't know all of the details here obviously, but if the horse is suspicious of the trailer and gets nervous about even approaching the trailer, I'd reward every step in the right direction with backing the horse away BEFORE the horse feels the need to leave on its own, up until the horse puts one foot, two feet or even gets into the trailer - you back the horse out before it feels the need to leave on its own. If your timing is good, it won't be long until the horse is standing comfortably without being confined. Now, I'm talking about this particular horse, not every horse, but I have been successful with several horses who had become really freaked about even approaching a trailer and with good reason. Every situation/horse is different and, as you all know, we adjust to fit the horse. Thanks, I've enjoyed the discussion.
Mary Margaret is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
6 horse aluminum Featherlight Trainers Trailer Openrange Classifieds 0 12-15-2011 08:28 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.