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Discuss Why will my horse suddenly not load into the trailer? at the Horse Training forum - Horse Forums.

Went to pick her up from my friend's last night. Same trailer she gets on ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member+ RyaneC's Avatar
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    Why will my horse suddenly not load into the trailer?

    Went to pick her up from my friend's last night. Same trailer she gets on every six to eight weeks to come to my house to get her feet done. Last night she just flat refused to get on the trailer. We tried everything we know... butt rope, tapping with lunge whip, feed bribery, even getting onto a different, larger slant load trailer. Nothing worked. It finally got super dark and we had to quit after trying for over an hour. Left my trailer and my friend tried again today in the daylight to get her to load and she still wouldn't load. She's been getting on this same trailer for three years and has never not loaded. And I hated to give up last night and "let her win" but had no choice, I had to work today. But no dice again today for my friend. The mare is pregnant, due sometime the end of this month through the beginning of next month. But I trailered her pregnant last year with no issue. And not to mention I just hauled her 3-4 weeks ago for her farrier day. I don't get it! I'm SO frustrated and I don't know what to do about it.
    Sinbar Susie, 23yo APHA mare; SinbarsImpresiveHeart, 16yo APHA gelding; Kings Lil Cutter, 14yo AQHA/NFQHA mare; Pavarotti, 9yo Camelot rescue spotted donkey gelding; and Docs Dual Zan Jewels, 1yo APHA filly

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    Was it too hot in the trailer? If trailer has been closed up the build up of hot air is enormous, and is enough to make a horse balk at loading.

    And might want to check your trailer over really well, as horse could be reacting to something wrong with frame or flooring.

    Did you make any sudden stops the last time you hauled or or time before?

    Could be something is flapping in her face. Dirt from road, window rattling, lead rope? Get someone to haul you around in back of trailer for a little bit, and see if anything pops out at you.
    MuckMuck and pippy like this.
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    Full Member CDS Angel's Avatar
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    I would also check the trailer for a bees nest, we've had issues with that. Hornets seem to love our trailer. We keep trying to keep them out but the little boogers still get in.
    MuckMuck likes this.
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    Senior Member valarie's Avatar
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    my OTTB does that occasionally. he'll just say "mommy, i love you but i am NOT getting in that thing today" i would have hated to quit last night too but i understand time constraints. my advice is leave her alone for a day or so and schedule out about 4-5 hours of uninterrupted time where you can work with her without being on a schedule. check the trailer for wasps and bees as mentioned above. (i'm assuming it's a 2 horse straight just by the language in your post) make sure she's not too wide to fit in it. since she is so pregnant i don't recommend hard work outside the trailer like i would do a young horse but round up some volunteers with sticks donned with plastic bags, bells, anything scary. have them stand in a semi circle behind her when you're walking toward the trailer. if she puts any part of her body in the trailer and is paying attention to the trailer have them all turn their backs and hide their scaries. if she balks or backs out have them make noise and wave their scaries. soon as she puts even her nose back in have them turn their backs again and be still. make up a word they know means to be loud or be quiet so you can control when you want them to be scary and when you want them to be quiet. if that doesn't work i suggest trying to get the farrier to her or waiting until after she foals. i wouldn't put any more stress on a mare that pregnant if it wasn't an emergency. and remember too that horses usually know what's best for them. if she's adamant about not getting in the trailer she may feel it will in some way harm herself or her baby so it may be better to listen to her this time
    prairiesongks likes this.

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    Is the only time your mare is loaded in the trailer to go to the farrier?
    ....I'm sorry to say you are setting yourself up for total failure trying to keep this lot on topic --Maisie
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    Lunge her at a brisk trot right outside the trailer in a 30' circle, then ask her to load up and I'd she refuses, continue brisk lunging. The goal is to make it easier for her to just get in. Once she's in the trailer, pat her and give her a carrot or slice of apple. Also, how was your trip the last time you hauled her? Did you have to hit your brakes or go around a corner a little fast? Horses remember stuff like that.
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    Senior Member+ RyaneC's Avatar
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    She's hauled to my house usually for the farrier, but sometimes she gets to hang out for weeks at a time, just being lazy and eating. So yes, she's usually loaded for the farrier but it's not always an unpleasant experience when she does. She's also very good for my farrier. I don't remember anything extraordinary the last time I trailered her. It's only about a 10 minute ride across country roads and goes smoothly. I just used my trailer for a trail ride Sunday on my gelding, it's safe and no wasp nests. Lunging her at a brisk trot is pretty much impossible due to an old ruptured flexor tendon in her right rear that she stays chronically lame on. I can move her out at a slow trot, and that's what I tried to do the other night. It didn't really work. She fits onto the trailer without bumping her belly. Last year she trailered pregnant too, I think a couple of weeks before she foaled. She usually does so good that this has me scratching my head. I might just leave her put until after she foals then try again, but I really wanted to have her at my house for foaling. A trainer friend suggested that she might be "nesting" at her current place and might not want to leave. She's with 4 other pregnant mares where she is currently. Is this possible? Do horses nest like pregnant women do?
    MaggieSue likes this.
    Sinbar Susie, 23yo APHA mare; SinbarsImpresiveHeart, 16yo APHA gelding; Kings Lil Cutter, 14yo AQHA/NFQHA mare; Pavarotti, 9yo Camelot rescue spotted donkey gelding; and Docs Dual Zan Jewels, 1yo APHA filly

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    slc
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    This happens a lot with horses. They've been loading fine, and one day they just don't. People try to figure out all sorts of reasons why, but the bottom line is, it happens.

    Usually people try to change things and are sure that since the horse gets on later that 'thing' they changed must be it. It some cases maybe it is.

    I'm just guessing that the old chronic injury hurts as the horse goes up the ramp (or steps up) so she doesn't want to get in. My feeling is it's usually something far more immediate and close to the situation than the horse realizes it's getting shod hours after it arrives and wants to not get shod.

    With a sore horse with a chronic problem, all that longeing and 'working the horse at the back of the trailer so he wants to get in' is out, of course(one of the many reasons I dislike it). But positioning the trailer on a bump so the ramp is very flat or the step up is very slight, that can make a big difference with such a horse. Personally if I didn't have a spot like that I'd get out the shovel or tractor and make one and keep it maintained. You never know when you have to load a horse with a serious injury to get it to the vet's.

    Leaving the other mares, that is possible.

    But to get at that, all you need to do is turn the rig around so as she gets on she's going TOWARD the horses and the barn. Once you do that as far as horsey logic is concerned she isn't leaving them.

    People call it 'catering' to the horse but if it's getting dark and nothing else is working after hours by God I'm turning the thing around, I don't exactly find any of the people who are criticizing, pulling up in their truck at 10 pm and magically loading the horse. Besides many of the professionals I've seen START by parking where the horse will be 'going toward the barn' so I am not sure it is such a crime.

    Another reason I think a LOT of horses start refusing to get on, is because of how the driver starts up. Start up VERY VERY slow and smoothly, much slower than you think you ought to. It can make a difference.

    The thing with loading is that you have to have very, very good timing and focus very intensely on every little move the horse makes, and be willing to do a lot of different things when they won't get in. Just because it isn't on some DVD doesn't make it a bad way. And keep in mind that if your horse always gets on, you actually lose the habit of doing that timing and have to kind of 'relearn' to do it with this horse.

    If NO method works, it can be that the timing or the amount of pressure in all the methods, is the problem. A little less pressure, a little more is needed - or the pressure has to be more clearly applied and more clearly released when the horse does as you want - or your response has to be a lot quicker.

    Example, horse is fighting you and won't get in - well - I see a lot of people, the horse moves forward one step, and they keep pulling like all get out, no let up. I asked a guy once why he did that - 'because he ain't alla way in yet, when he gets alla way in I'll let up'. Yeah, and how's that working for ya. Usually not too hot. Sometimes that is the way it has to be and it might work with some of the colder-blooded horses - others - not so much.

    Another thing you might consider (and I know if a horse always gets in easy most people DON'T do this) is to start loading much more than an hour before dark, in other words, always give yourself a lot more time than you think you need, because just about any horse can give you a hard time about loading one day. The last thing I really want to do is quit, because I DO think horses understand what happened when you quit.

    So why does it happen? An old timer told me, 'because they can'.
    "He's lame. I'm not very sure what caused it but it deff. something with his legs"

    "I know! She was coughin' her brains out! And still, she had to keep singing!"' - Cher, "Moonstruck"

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    Senior Member+ RyaneC's Avatar
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    Yea, I definitely should have started earlier. That was purely my fault there, and I usually don't do that. Time got away from me and I showed up too late.

    I never thought about loading towards the pasture! Thanks for that tip. Might be worth a shot.

    When she got stubborn, I made sure to stop and rub her with every positive movement she made for the trailer. Even if it was just omving one hoof then licking and chewing, she got a "good girl" and a rub on the neck, head, or both.


    Thanks for the responses guys. It's just made me feel like such a moron.
    Sinbar Susie, 23yo APHA mare; SinbarsImpresiveHeart, 16yo APHA gelding; Kings Lil Cutter, 14yo AQHA/NFQHA mare; Pavarotti, 9yo Camelot rescue spotted donkey gelding; and Docs Dual Zan Jewels, 1yo APHA filly

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    Quote Originally Posted by slc View Post

    The thing with loading is that you have to have very, very good timing and focus very intensely on every little move the horse makes, and be willing to do a lot of different things when they won't get in. Just because it isn't on some DVD doesn't make it a bad way. And keep in mind that if your horse always gets on, you actually lose the habit of doing that timing and have to kind of 'relearn' to do it with this horse.

    If NO method works, it can be that the timing or the amount of pressure in all the methods, is the problem. A little less pressure, a little more is needed - or the pressure has to be more clearly applied and more clearly released when the horse does as you want - or your response has to be a lot quicker.

    Example, horse is fighting you and won't get in - well - I see a lot of people, the horse moves forward one step, and they keep pulling like all get out, no let up. I asked a guy once why he did that - 'because he ain't alla way in yet, when he gets alla way in I'll let up'. Yeah, and how's that working for ya.
    I had to trailer a horse a bit back that hadn't trailered since I brought her to my place. And she came with a LOT of problems, one being pulling back. But we'd worked long and hard to get her to 'give' to forward pressure and when she began to freeze for the load I just encouraged her forward. The thing was 'forward' can mean just letting go of a 'backward' thought or a brace. With every release in the chest, neck, pole she was rewarded with a release. It took us quite a while and the hauler was getting anxious and offered to 'help' (no thanks) and I said, "No, she's just about there." I could see him mentally saying to himself "yeah, right!" because to him, she appeared the same. But I had seen her 'trying' to summon up the courage and offer to let down all her braces. She was 'nearly' there. You should have seen the eyes pop out of his head a few minutes later when she, seemingly out of nowhere, popped up and on.

    My point is 'forward' doesn't necessarily mean 'a step'. Reward at every opportunity.
    prairiesongks likes this.
    .....well, I've tried arguing with a brick before and found it more productive than getting involved in these threads Ambrose

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