Getting a horse on a trailer?

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

  1. lockedhearts

    lockedhearts It's All About Chicken Math

    Apr 29, 2007
    Is she food motivated? If so she eats her meals on the trailer, no loading, no food. She will come to associate the trailer with good stuff. I had a yearling that had never been touched, used this method and she loaded everytime. She did miss a couple of meals though.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  2. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas

    If I remember your pictures, you have pens attached to your barn that you can put this mare in by herself.
    Have your Dad back the trailer up to a gate, so it doesn't have to be left in a pasture or a pen to get dented up.
    Before unhooking the trailer, block up the back of the trailer. You can use concrete blocks, jack stands, etc.
    When you jack up the front to unhook, it will put pressure on the blocking material you have at the back. This will stabilize your trailer enough for 1 horse to go in and out. Secure the trailer door open so it will not shut on her.

    Secure a feed tub at the back of the trailer, so she can stand on the ground and eat. When she is comfortable with this, move the feed tub further into the trailer, so she will have to stretch her neck to reach the feed. It may take a day or two for her to be comfortable with each move of the feed.
    Make sure you secure the feed tub, or she will just grab it and move to the back so she can eat without getting in.
    As she gets comfortable with each move of the feed, move it some more until you are putting it at the very front.
    When you get to this stage, you will probably have to shut the trailer door behind you to put the feed in, to keep her from following you in. (Unless you have feed doors on your trailer that you can put feed in from outside).

    Good luck with your new mare!!
  3. CountryMom

    CountryMom Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    South Texas
    First always make sure your horse trailer is hooked up to a truck and the truck is in park and brake on. Then open the door all the way and tie back the divider if you have one.

    Put your horse on a long lunge line and lunge her at the back of the trailer. Keep watching her interest in the trailer and as she is curious - especially if she wants to stop and sniff the trailer, let her. Don't rush her away from the trailer entrance at all. Work lunging her so that eventually you will point her toward the trailer and continue out of the circle into a straight line headed for the trailer. Most horses slam on the breaks at first and sniff the trailer. If she does this just let her and let her rest there. Praise her verbally not so much with your words, but your tone of voice. After a good rest, repeat over and over until she goes into the trailer. If she jumps in, then great and let her rest there before asking her to back out. Repeat this for a few days until she jumps into the trailer easily. Then go ahead and tie her and latch divider and back door and let her stand for a while.

    Next step is a short trip around the block or around the country neighborhood in the trailer and then let her unload. ALWAYS end on a good training note and never force her into the trailer.

    When we use to raise babies, I would teach them to load this way onto a shorter porch of one of our small animal barns. It made the similar banging nose and was a bit more open. Our babies could easily be lead on a halter and load into a trailer by three months without much work and without fuss.

    Whatever you do, do not loose your temper or become too frustrated when training the trailer loading. It will reflect on your horses behaviour.

    I have also been in a rescue situation where we had to load horses by the butt rope method. Needless to say many of us got hurt doing so, but our time was limited and it was all we could do with hardly handled horses. Forcing a horse isn't the best way for them to become solid in what they learn.
  4. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    I watched Josh Lyons trailer a horse that had a bad trailer experience ......very interesting ...he had the trailer doors attatched to the round pen and attached to a truck and did a similar thing as "Countrymom" using a rope /lead line ...he first taught the horse to go forward and then back and once the horse started to put one hoof on the ramp he would back it up and then slowly made it to two feet on the ramp and then back it up and he progress to four feet on the ramp and then back it up half way in the trailer and backed it up again ...once he finally got in the trailer he rested the horse and said we should do a short drive also ..praise the horse...and he praised the horse everytime it stepped on the trailer ramp and stopped to let the horse think about it ...
    Check out You Tube and I have watched Pat Parrelli's horse trailering video ( a friends tape )...also very good....Very gentle....Another thing is to start early and have no plans or appt's for the day....Good Luck...and thanks for posting this topic because I am learning stuf also [​IMG]
  5. Majestic Lane Poultry

    Majestic Lane Poultry Heart Strings Animal Rehoming

    Feb 9, 2009
    Quote:I always did the same thing. Once the horse has eaten in there for a few days, I would then start talking to them while in there. Then closing and opening the doors etc. Time and patience is the key
  6. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    Before you leave your trailer anywhere to encourage a horse to load, make sure that there is NOTHING in the trailer that could cause an injury. You will defeat your purpose if your horse injures himself/herself and then associates the trailer with pain.

    Once he is calm doing this, THEN push the bucket in far enough to force the horse to load, front feet only. Don't worry if he/she starts pulling the bucket closer, the idea is to encourage a desire to put oneself inside of the trailer. I would suggest you use a shallow rubber bucket, because they are so forgiving, and won't shatter AND don't have a handle to catch a leg.

    Try this: Take the horse out with a halter and lead to a bowl just inside the trailer and feed him there with a loose lead. If you do this everyday your horse is going to look forward to it. Couple that with trying to get your horse to put his head over the stall door, or, if he's turned out, over the gate. Put the halter on with his head over the gate/stall door, and he'll be easy to catch, too.

    My older horses (they have since passed on) loaded themselves. They enjoyed the destinations, so it was fun to go places.

    hope this helps!
  7. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:This is exactly what I did with training young colts and trailer shy older horses. I started by putting the feed just inside the trailer door, so it could eat without getting in. after a short time when feeding time arrived she would stand by the trailer waiting to be fed. Then I moved it further into the trailer, soon she was already standing in the trailer by herself before the feed arrived. when I took her the vet once she just loaded when led without a fuss. If you associate the trailer with something good it is a win win deal for both.

  8. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    Jan 4, 2009
    Are you making too much of a big deal about it? If you haven't had any previuos problems with her and trailers...Just lead her up to it and inside..Act as though it's no big deal...nothing to worry about...don't let her sense your apprehension...Sometimes we anticipate a problem and the horse senses our "nervousness" and reacts...But keep your eye on her and don't put yourself into a dangerous spot that might hurt you or your horse until you can be sure she is comfortable with the trailer.
    ..I've used the rope on the butt trick and the feed method and both can work with some animals some of the time...I've tied horses to my trailer before and left them to work out their differences while standing in the pasture then I load and unload several of my other horses into the trailer...I'm always very close in case of trouble...that works sometimes...Better to train them to load; save yourself the extra grief later...You will be at some horse show somewhere and everyone will be watching you wrestle with your horse to get her loaded....and take it from me IF THEY DON"T WANT TO YOU WON"T MAKE THEM...
    ....If you are really concerned about her "first time"; lunge or round pen her....I put the trailer just outside of the round pen with all my yearlings...After 20 minutes or so try to lead her onto the trailer...if she hesitates don't make a big deal about it...JUST WORK HER AGAIN....eventually all horses get the hint..."go on the trailer or he is going to keep making run around in circles"...Most horses that is...Good Luck and BE SAFE
  9. txredneckmedic

    txredneckmedic Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    I agree with 19hh. I have always used a nice thick rope behind the butt. It wont let them back up so they have no choice but to go forward
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks everyone for the advice. I like the lunging idea, so I will probably try that.

    We do have pastures that are separated from the main one, but our property is all on a hill, so it would be very difficult to get the trailer up and down, and once its down the hill, there is no where flat except for the small paddock itself. My dad has been filling in a dip in our other field so he can bring the trailer up there though. However, he originally thought she was going to give us a big problem and wanted to train her in an enclosed area. Turns out, she is very calm about the whole thing, so we've been able to work with her out in the open.

    I've already tried just walking her up into the trailer and she follows me only so far. She'll put her whole head in the trailer and maybe a foot or two and then just stops. I praise her for every step she takes and she loves it. She's never flipped out, even with strange squeaks and noises from the trailer. That's not to say she couldn't kill me in an instant, but this horse is much less likely to compared to our Stetson!

    I haven't really worked with her and the trailer all that much yet, so its not that I've run into a blockade. Its just that I am looking for some good ideas before I start getting real serious. I am actually not nervous at all with this horse. She responds well to pressure and release, so we've been putting pressure on the halter for her to move forward (with clicks) and when she does so, or steps into the trailer, we praise her like crazy. That works for the most part, but I wanted to see what other methods people use. The last thing I want to deal with is a horse that has trailering issues! (As it seems so many people out there have!)

    Thanks all. Once this rain clears up, I'm hoping to get out there. I was supposed to go trail riding today with our other horses and of course it rains!
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009

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