Getting a horse on a trailer?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm going to post this on backyard herds as well, but I figured I'd post here too.

    I'm really just looking for additional ideas. We don't have a problem horse, but rather a horse who has been on a trailer just two times during her five years on earth. My dad and I have worked with her a few times just to assess how she would be during training. She's actually done quite well and will put her front feet on the trailer (or at least she will let you put them on if she won't) She's very calm for the most part, just doesn't understand what we are asking of her.

    We have had luck with repetition with our other horse Stetson. I'm not looking to rush her onto the trailer or to give her a bad experience. I'm mostly looking for other methods that people use to train a horse to get on the trailer. I know she would definitely get on if I presented the lunge whip, but that's not what I want to accomplish. I want her to get on the trailer willingly and to have a good experience. However, the whip is definitely good back up if she should refuse to get on the trailer when we go away from home.

    All my other horses have been excellent with trailering and I would like her to be the same way. I am really looking forward to getting her out on the trails, but I can't do that until I teach her to get on the trailer. Any tips, past experiences, or videos/articles/pictures would be awesome. My dad has experience training horses to get on trailers, but I would like to work with the horse and trailer when he is not around. I know once she realizes that we want her on the trailer, she will do it for the praise. She LOVES when you tell her she's a good girl!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Maybe try bribing her? Like a pail of oats or sweetfeed to entice her into going in it?

    How does she do once she is on the trailer? She doesn't freak or anything, does she?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  3. dixiechick

    dixiechick Songster

    A friend of mine used to "feed" her trailer scared horse in the trailer....meaning, she left the trailer open and would leave the feed in big deal....after day-after-day of feeding, getting her to load was no big deal, just close the door and you're done.

    But it did take time for the horse to be "tempted" into the trailer on her own...requires lots of patience and a willingness to leave the trailer out there for her.
  4. tnlorprazer

    tnlorprazer Songster

    Jun 20, 2009
    SouthWest TN
    What we done was put a hanging bail of hay in the front of the trailer and parked the trailer in the pasture with her. We propped the horse trailer open with blocks so she could go in and out on her own so she could see there was nothing to be scared of. It worked for us.
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    When we brought her home on our old ramp/bumper pull trailer, she actually went right on, but she had no choice. The farm had a chute and we just led her through and she went right on. She's actually a very calm horse. She didn't freak out at all and still does not freak out when we work with her. I've actually never seen her spook worse than a side step and she's never done anything crazy. The worse thing she does when we work with her around the trailer is backing up when she's had enough or she doesn't understand. However, she is completely opposite of Stetson. Stetson was very nervous with the trailer at first. He was also very unpredictable. Sedona (The mare we are currently working with) just doesn't understand what we are asking. You can tell she sort of gets it and will put a foot or two on the trailer, but then she gets confused and steps back off.

    What we plan to do once we get her on is to feed her in the trailer to help her stay comfortable. That is what worked for Stetson. My dad has tried treats and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. We try not to give too many treats to the horses though so we can only use so many to bribe her.

    It is a step up two horse slant if that helps any. Its a new trailer for us as well, so that adds to so of our training questions. We had luck with the ramp bumper pull, but now we have an entirely new trailer to work with.

    I have no doubt that she would eventually get on if we just kept walking her in circles and trying to load her. I'm just interested to find out if there are other ways people use.
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Leaving the trailer in the field with the horse would probably be an excellent idea, but unfortunately my dad uses the truck to commute to work every day and the trailer has to be hooked onto a vehicle to stabilize it while the horse is on. I think my dad is also a little worried about the trailer getting dented or ruined (I can't blame him...It is a brand new trailer...and you know how guys are with their "toys"!)

    I'm thinking we might be able to load one of the other horses so she can see what is expected of her. We haven't tried that yet and it may just work.
  7. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    years ago when we were moving, and had horses, we had a young gelding who had been trailered about 3 times before, had to be loaded because it was the last few days the home was in are possesion,
    so we tryied the ole grain and hay in bucket trick but that didnt work, the sound of his own hooves on the wood floor would scare him slap out of the trailer.
    so to load him i took the lead from his halter and latched it to the oppesite side, then latched a lunge line (8ft rope will work better as not to long) to the same side of the halter as the lead, run the lead over his back the run the lunge line around his hind and hold to kinda tighten around his hocks,(brush him slightly so he knows its there so you dont put him into a panick, now start to lead him on the trailer, when he starts to resist and back up let him back into the lunge line, if he dont stop(he will when he starts to put too much pressure and it pulls his head to the side)

    b patient, dont give him any other opption just stand at the entrance to the trailer with him, lookin that way whn he takes a step forward, use the lunge line to not let him back up and will evetually go on.
    if they have a buddy (nother horse)it sometimes help to load them 1st
    remember a lot of people have had there guts stomped out by a panicked horse trapped on a trailer
  8. quiltnchik

    quiltnchik Songster

    May 19, 2009
    When I had to train my young Appy mare to load a couple years ago, my son and I went down to the farm every day (she was being boarded at the time and I had my trailer parked there as well), and gave her a pan of feed in the trailer (she was on pasture board, so the grain was definite treat for her). We always rewarded her with lots of praise and her favorite treat, peppermint candy, for even giving a "try" (stepping up onto the trailer and backing right off was a good enough try for us, and a lot of times we ended on that note without her ever making it all the way into the trailer). We never forced her, and within a week's time she was loading like a champ. Now I can lead her up to the trailer, throw the lead rope over her back, tell her to "load up" and away she goes on her own. Hang in there and be patient - you'll be glad you did [​IMG]
  9. luvarabhorses

    luvarabhorses Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Hector, Ar
    Don't leave the trailer in the field if you have an Arab or arab cross. Mine took off everything electrical out of curiousity.

    Park the trailer similiar to the chute idea, like where you can close barn doors to block the sides.

    Have your horse watch while another horse gets on an off. Give that horse some grain and leave that horse on. Lead the horse close, then back up, circle and lead again. When she gets her feet up give her lots of praise and then a handful of grain. Inch the grain forward, then back the horse off. break it up by just circling and getting close, the horse will want to go back on the trailer where the grain is. Keep backing off, so the horse gets comfortable with the whole idea.

    If the horse gets defiant, I use a pool noodle, those long rubber things that go in pools. A tap on the butt usually gets them concentrating on what you are asking.
  10. 19hhbelgian

    19hhbelgian Pigs DO Fly!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    New Tripoli PA
    We use a rope around the butt... Kind of like when you teach a baby to lead, but attach the rope to the trailer so that she can't get between the trailer and the rope. As you lead her in, your dad can take up the slack on the rope. If she tries to back off, keep tension on the rope. She will have to get on once the rope gets to a certain point. Some horses don't care for the rope behind them like that, but they get over it quickly. We don't rush the process, but it helps tremendously, especially if the horse is putting a foot or two on, then backing out. Sounds like she is learning to back out, which could become a bad habit. I also feed my horses (if they aren't fond of the trailer) in the trailer. I'm lucky in that I can let them loose and they have room to move around if they want, but I usually only let the youngsters do that. I feed them, then take them back off... Eating in the trailer is a great experience for any horse [​IMG]

    The rope trick has come in useful for horses from 1yr old, to full grown drafts. The trick is giving yourself leverage so they can't back out of the rope - oh yeah, it needs to be good thick COTTON rope (cotton is safest to use). And always wear gloves just in case [​IMG]

    Good luck!

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