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Discuss Don't make me go in that scary little cave!!!!!!! at the Horse Training forum - Horse Forums.

At leats thats what my horse steevie says everytime he sees the open door of ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member APHAgurl91's Avatar
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    Talking Don't make me go in that scary little cave!!!!!!!

    At leats thats what my horse steevie says everytime he sees the open door of a trailer.

    Anyone have any tips on how to get a horse in a trailer?
    "Brilliant!" ~Harry Potter

  2. #2
    Senior Member+ eqtrainer's Avatar
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    Make sure 1st that your horse respects you, your space and he understands how to back.

    1. walk your horse to the trailer (with the ramp/door down or open), the second you feel resistance, back up about 8 steps.

    2. walk back up again, but this time back him/her after you take a few steps forward.

    3. walk forward and if you feel resistance, back up.

    Continue this forward, back movement until you get him on the trailer. This is not as easy as it sounds, but the idea is to predict when your horse is going to resist you or try to back so that you can already start moving them backwards like it was your idea all along. You want your horse to understand that when you are ready to move forward, he/she should move with you. If you only want to take a few steps, then they should too. You use the backing to teach your horse this, to move and back when you are moving. You are establishing your role as herd leader and you are also letting the horse know that the trailer is an okay place. When you finally get him/her on the ramp (start w/ 2 front feet) stay for a minute or two then back up. Start again, each time trying to get closer and closer to him/her completely being in the trailer. Eventually you will get all 4 feet on the ramp, and then in the trailer. Try not to let them fly out of the back, when they are finally on. Go slow, but be firm. Encourage your horse to stay next to you and to pay attention to what you are doing.

    Good Luck !
    The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire

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    LOL I put my trailer in my pasture, blocked it up, then put my pony's feed in it, morning and night (obviously her hay and water way outside and readily available). It took her two days to learn to load.
    There are some things in life we will never find a perfect solution for, so we find the best one.
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    Fat adult rerider struggling to become more fit... sometimes!

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    Senior Member whiteraven's Avatar
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    Actually, MyBelgianAzzy has a point... though I've never done it that way.

    I'll lead them to the trailer and point them in. If they won't go, I back them away and do it again, give them a moment to look, and do it again. I don't let them load all the way, I just ask for one foot on the trailer and we stop and retreat and come at it again. Then two feet, back off and do it again. It's an approach and retreat thing.

    Horses don't approach anything straight-on.... so why should I try to force one straight on a trailer?
    "Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member whiteraven's Avatar
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    PS "loading" them between two partitons or the like is also helpful... that way you are just dealing with the "scarey enclosed space" without the scarey noise and smells.... just a thought.
    "Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Senior Member APHAgurl91's Avatar
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    thanks so much guyys! keep the replys coming! im gonna need all the different methods possible!
    "Brilliant!" ~Harry Potter

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    I'm never one for backing a horse away from scary objects especially repeatedly. It seems there's a risk of creating a horse that will back constantly when it's not desireable. I've had a few horses that backed after everything because they'd always been asked to back away everytime. It took me alot of work to break my gelding of the habit of backing 2-4 steps every single time I asked him to stop whether on the ground or under saddle.

    Usually I back the trailer up in the yard or pasture with no horses in it. If I have a really difficult horse I'll set the roundpen panels up around the door but otherwise I just use the open space. Lead them up to the side of the trailer and let them eat grass next to it. Then work around to the open door. Sometimes that takes 30seconds sometimes 5-10minutes. Let them look in the door a few times and walk them back and forth in front of the door stopping them to look in. After they do that without snorting, spooking, or getting nervous then ask them to walk right up to the door. Stop before they would have to step in, let them look, then move them off either leading in a circle or working them around the roundpen panel. If they get nervous again I stop them and let them eat grass for awhile before leading them up to the trailer again. Eventually they'll try picking a foot up and once they have both fronts in the rest of the horse follows. Keep them in the trailer until they calm down. Pet them, brush them, feed them if you have to but don't let them bolt back out still nervous about it or they won't want to go in again.

    A similar way which I know alot of people use is to set the trailer up with a roundpen(even if it's a temporary one made out of cattle panels or extra gates). Work them around the roundpen so they have to walk and trot past the door. After they go past it calmly then start asking them to turn away from you right in front of the door. Turn them sooner and sooner until they are stuck right in front of the door and then step into them and ask them to move. They'll either start to go in or turn and go around the pen again. If they move away from the door, turn them back the other direction, ask them to go past it, and start turning them closer and closer to the door again until they willingly step in. Then same as before make sure they are calm before bringing them back out.

  8. #8
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    Here's how I do it, works for me, might for you as well.

    Hook the trailer up, open the door, and make sure it stays open. I put a rope halter on my horse and take a longer than normal lead rope about 12 to 14' or so. I walk him to the trailer. When he gets to the trailer I turn sideways and point into the trailer with my lead rope hand, and tell him to get in. If he doesn't get in, I do half circles back and forth in front of the trailer door, for 5 minutes or so. Then I repeat the walk up to the trailer, turn sideways, point and say get in. If not we go back to work. I make him work hard. I make him hussle his feet thru those half circles. I want him to look to the trailer as a place to rest in.

    Even if it's just one foot that's fine. I praise him, and then put him back to work. If he goes all the way in and comes right back out that's fine too. I put him back to work again. When he goes in and stands there nice and relaxed, I will let him stand in there for a couple minutes. Ask him to come out and try again, and repeat the whole process all over again. Sometimes, when you are working them, they may even want to go in on their own, but I don't allow that till I send them in. I want him to load all on his own, but not untill I give him the cue to go in.

    The first time I did this I did it for 4 hrs. I quit on a good note cause I ran out of time. Next time it took 30 minutes. Now I just point and say get in, and he does. If he gets really good at it, you can send him in from almost any point outside the trailer, and he will load all on his own, and be happy to rest in that in lovely resting place. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing a lot of hard work. Hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

    ETA: If your horse does not know how to back out, then the best way to teach that is one foot at a time. One foot in the trailer, and ask him to back out. When he's good at that, then it's two feet and so on.

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