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Cheri Wolfe

Trailer Loading -- In One Hour Or Less

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I keep reading how many people have trailer loading issues and no one seems to get that if a horse leads correctly the horse will load.

If a horse trusts and respects his herd leader, he will follow him/her off of a cliff, let alone a trailer. So I am posting this rather than hijacking a post asking for help and you can agree or disagree with it. I have posted part of it before, but here goes.

Leading Issues + loading

I am afraid there are going to be a lot of people that disagree with me on this one, and you are all entitled to your opinion. Here is mine.

I think a horse should lead by its head ? period. I don't think it should take a whip or a butt rope (once they have been broken to lead). I don't think you should have to longe a horse into a trailer or into a barn or through a gate, etc. I don't EVER use a bribe or use feed to get a horse in a trailer. If he is broke to lead, he should lead ANYWHERE. A pull on the lead rope and a 'smooch' should always mean 'come forward' and this response should NEVER be optional. If I want to lead a horse out of a burning building, I want him to come, NOW. What is different about leading a horse into a trailer? If leading is not optional, leading into a trailer is no trick ? just a matter of respect and trust for the handler ? nothing more complicated.

Three or four years ago, many horses died in the big fires near San Diego, CA because they would not load and had to be left behind. They had a minute or less to jump right in a trailer they had never seen before or die. The sheriff's office gave them no more time than that when the evacuation order came.

We had sold several horses to a lady that lived outside of San Diego in one of the canyons that burned out. She called us after the fire had burned her place completely out. She lost her home and her barn and 2 of her horses. She called to ask how we had trained the horses to load that she got from us. She said they jumped right in the trailer in the middle of the night in smoke so thick you could hardly see or breathe. The only horses she lost were two of her older horses that would not load.

Now, there are several ways to accomplish this. What it comes down to for me is, if 'stalling out' or refusing to lead is uncomfortable, then the horse will hunt for relief. That relief has to come from the horse stepping forward and giving himself slack. Call it what you want, but it is a form of the old 'war bridle' ? just not as severe and not used as roughly.

You can put a chain over a horse's nose or under its chin or sometimes under its upper lip and when it is tight, the horse is going to be uncomfortable. If you do this and then stand at a 45degree angle and not straight in front of it, it will eventually run backwards or come forward. If it runs backwards, just follow it and keep pulling (don't yank or jerk). You don't have to pull hard. It is actually more effective when you don't pull real hard.

YOU MUST NEVER LOSE YOUR TEMPER AND START JERKING THE HORSE. This gets an agitated horse 'on the fight' and NEVER gets good results. Some horses will fight forever ? it seems - once you start 'jerking' them.

The key is to take ALL pressure off the instant the horse takes one step forward. It is the same old pressure and release thing that works for almost every teaching situation.

Some horses are super-sensitive to a chain and really prone to get on the fight (especially if one has been used improperly before), and a piece of ? inch nylon cord works better. If I use a cord, I put it under the chin by putting it through both side rings on a web halter and tying it together. Then I snap a lead rope into the center of the cord where it is tied. I have had horses that I used the same kind of nylon cord and went behind the ears and through the bottom ring and to a lead rope. I just play around and find the best 'nerve'. If the previous owner used a chain and jerked the horse around but lost the battle, I will use something different. I have used a nylon cord under the horse's lip when it seemed to have a high tolerance for discomfort and wanted to 'sull' real bad. A sulking or sullen horse is much more difficult than one that wants to fight.

Bottom line ? when I pull, the horse has to come forward to relieve the pressure and discomfort.

I never start out with this method at the obstacle that started the problem. I start out with going between a tarp on the ground and a fence. I can gradually narrow the space until the horse has to step on the tarp. I will walk a horse over a piece of plywood. I will keep doing this until I can put out a new obstacle and the horse has learned to not hesitate. THEN, he is ready to tackle the place that he refused to lead before. At least 95% of the time, horses that were impossible to trailer load, will lead right in. The other few may take several minutes, but it has always worked for me. Then, they are REALLY broke to lead.

I will absolutely stand by the statement that is a horse leads properly, it will load in any trailer anywhere, day or night.

People did not pay me to get their horse to load when he wanted to --- They paid me to get their horse to load EVERY time that sucker was led up to a trailer and told to get in!!!

Over the years as a public trainer, I was called out to load more than 50 horses that the owners absolutely could not load. This included horses that were 15 to 20 years old and had not been loaded in many years. It included totally 'goofy' hot bloods and horses that had been in trailer wreaks including one that had been in a turnover accident and had to be cut out of a trailer. It includes horses that flipped upside down when you just got them near a trailer or came at you pawing and snapping like an alligator. My husband and I still do it today. [Husband went to a lady's house recently and loaded an old barrel horse that she was given if she could only get him loaded to take him home. It took him less than 5 minutes. He was skinned up all over when he got there including all the hide and hair scraped off of the front of his face. Later that weekend she and her dad brought him out (he jumped right in their little two horse trailer) and brought him out so Pete to help her with him.]

It seems that once I loaded a few horses for various residents in the area, everyone in the country with an impossible horse contacted me to teach theirs to load. For a while, I was going out every week, loading someone's horse. I had a flat fee and charged it only after the horse loaded several times in both my trailer and theirs.

This started back in the 60s. There were no slant loads and there were very few gooseneck stock trailers. Goosenecks were born about that time. Horses had to lead in a narrow, low trailers made by Stidham or Hale, etc. Most had no escape doors and all were smaller than anything on the market today. Some even got narrower at the head like the Roy Barnes Trailers.

I would fool around with the horse for an hour or so with the chain or lip string and find their best 'nerve'. Then I would work at getting forward movement over many obstacles. I wanted them to 'stall out' and refuse several times before I went to the dreaded trailer.

I would get in the little narrow trailer and get them right to the back of it. Then I would back them up and walk around. Many of them offered to get in when I got in, but I made them wait a while. When I did let them load, I only let them put their front feet in and backed them back out. A lot of them wanted to run backwards 90 miles an hour, so I fixed that before I let them get all the way in. We would go forward one step and back two steps. Then forward 3 steps and back one (with their front feet still in the trailer). By this time, they were keeping their head low and waiting on me to make every move. Then I would go ahead and load them several times.

Every one of these horses came with a story. Owner would say -- He's been this; or he's had that happen; or I don't think this is going to work on him because he ....

Worst horse I can remember was one that sulled and folded up and would lay on the ground when you got him near the trailer. We finally moved the trailer to a spot near an electric fence. The next time he threw himself down, we ran a wire with a gate handle on it over to him and 'plugged him in'. Needles to say, he jumped up. He laid down one more time and then walked right into the trailer like all of the others.

By the time I loaded each one, it was no longer nervous about it and most acted a little impatient and wanted to get in.

We buy some of our older trail riding prospects at a local sale barn. I love the ones that are skinned up and have whip marks on their butts and rope burns, etc. They are cheap. If they ride around nice when the owner is riding them outside, I figure they probably have a trailer loading problem that will fix easily.

This method works with ramps, high step-up trailers and I even used it to get horses to jump up into pickups with stock racks - a standard of the 50s and 60s.

I have never fed a horse to get into a trailer. At home here, I have never take a horse near a trailer until I am ready to load it and go somewhere. I know my horses respect me and my halter and they will go anywhere I ask them. Every horse should load because the handler asks it to. They should all LEAD right up into any trailer just because the lead rope is tight and that means GO FORWARD.

If the horse bolts and tries to break away from the handler at any time, this method will also teach him to respect the lead rope under those circumstances as well. in a horse's pasture or pen. I have never tried to get a horse in a

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I agree, I just had an experience with an unridden, 7 year old who was the owner's baby. After a short time with her and her making excuses for the horse over and over (biting, striking, kicking when asked to load). I finally told her I thought he was enabling her horse to be bad. I think that can be said for many horse owners.

I cringe when I hear a horse owner begging a horse to do something, "come on Thunder, you can do it, just a litttle step, come on boy, come on just a litttle..." as he stares at the open trailer.

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I do agree with what Cheri brings up in this post. Let me also add that it is MUCH easier to truly halter break and teach your horse to lead BEFORE you get in front of a trailer. I agree completely that a horse should comply without resistance at any request to go forward.

You can teach a horse to do just about anything. Not all of the things humans teach horses are desirable habits.

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I just wanted to say thay my 3 yr old filly used to load ok, never great but ok.

Then she just stopped and I would have to get someone behind her. She would load then if they just stood there. Then it got to where they would have to tap her.

Then one day I was by myself and couldn't get her to load. I was sooo mad and lost my temper. I had to quit because it was a losing battle at that point.

I asked for help here and Cherri gave me this advice.

I don't like the thought of chains or ropes across their gums so I tried something a little different but the same method.

I took a 3-4 ft piece of nylon rope and made two loops, 1 in each end. Then I ran it through the right cheek piece, up over her head, down the other side and through the left cheek piece and under her chin. I then ran that end through the loop at the right cheek piece. It was long enough that I was able to use it in one hand like a 2nd lead rope. I had contant pressure on the lead rope and a little pressure with the nylon rope. I kept the pressure the same. She pulled back a couple times but that only tightened the nylon rope and she would come forward.

I was able to load her by myself several times that day. I haven't been able to truely work with her on loading or other obstacles like Cheri said but I do carry my handy nylon rope with me when I go somewhere.

Instead of asking someone to get behind her I just use my handy rope. Works every time!!!

Thanks Cheri!!!

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Cheri, you are 100% correct. More times than not, it's a leading problem rather than a loading problem. I don't use the same tool as you, but similar. I use a rope halter to teach leading. Any horse that I have worked with will load, no problem. Many will even load themselves. I did have one that suddenly decided that it wasn't going to load one time, but that might have had something to do with my injury. I think the horse knew that I was not in a position to proove my point with it. Embarrased to say that the only way we got that horse loaded and home that day was with bribery, but at least I knew the horse well enough to know that it would work.

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I think, when you start working your horse back and forth in front of the trailer door, and backing the horse up and all around to make coming forward his release, all the while working toward getting this horse into the trailer. You ARE teaching the horse to lead. Difference being, you are not doing this teaching, prior to attempting loading, as Cheri is suggesting. Rather you are doing the teaching, in the critical moment.

I agree with Cheri, in the sense that, you really need to get this skill down good and solid from the start. And some times we think we do have it solid, and end up with a horse that won't go where we want him to. So we don't really have it as well as we think we do. Cause his not wanting to go in the trailer is telling us, we don't. There should be no tightening of the lead rope when I put pressure on it to ask him to move. Come forward means just that, come forward, right now. You don't have a choice to say no, by pulling back on the lead rope. The more you work on it, and get it down solid more and more, the less problems you should encounter during your trailer loading. Hopefully if you've done it enough, he will walk right in.

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amen cheri!

there are ZERO reasons and excuses for any horse be unable to lead or load into anything in less than 10 seconds.. horses that wont load really get under my skin.

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i just got a 5 year old mare that they supposedly loaded and unloaded many times to shows and trainers--well, i find that hard to beleive--cause when they went to load it on our trailer--it tried to bolt away--they actually got the whip and made it go in the trailer----

now we had a problem getting it off too-- and hubby got upset after a 12 hr round trip for the horse and additonal 1 hr to load--at hour 2 of trying to unload--

she orinally started to back out-but stopped and lounged forward like she was afraid of what was behind her--probably because of them whipping her intot he trailer--and she also has a head shy problem--but the scars on the mouth tell the story there--

our stalls are step up into about 6-8 inches and i have been working with on her stepping up and down with her fronts only for right now- to gain her trust--i think tomorrow i will definately try to of the ides a i have read about on here

i have been riding her in a hackamore to show her i will not jerk on her face and she is responding well..i dont want her to go backwards.

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I like'd that story Ms Wolfe! My Filly is one of those horses that survived that fire! she was just a baby and she got in! and still does!!!good lessons here!

Edited by honeysmom

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I like the concept and generally I would agree...except that I encountered one this year that none of that worked on. We had to completely sedate and then LIFT the horse into the trailer.

Sometimes, the scars people put on horses cannot be overcome by common sense.

That said, the horse in question is loading well now with some consistent work. But it was not something that we were going to accomplish in a day.

Edited by BuddyRoo

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My friend has a horse with a loading problem. I am definitely going to try this or rather have her try it with her horse! Thanks, Cheri!

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Great post Cheri!

For the dummies like me :happy0203: would you mind posting some sort of picture? I have never used any type of chain or cord with a halter so I'm not entirely sure how you properly thread it through the halter so that it properly goes over the nose or under the chin.

I'd hate to thread it wrong where it won't release the pressure when I need to reward!

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Good avice. To me a horse that loads good will load no problem, a horse that loads great loads its self. I have worked on my own horses and I have a filly I'm training for someone with no leading experience. It has been two months and this Filly loads herself and leads better than my older horses, but she has never had other experience other than loading to come to my house, wasn't halter broke at a year old. I can tell her get in and once she gets in go get the bar and walk in and tie her and slide the bar in and I used a method very similar to yours. It does work and all my horses will load, not all are self loaders but we are working on this still.

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it's not loading that is the problem,it's when the trailer moves, horse freaked out, broke the tie straps, halter, ended up flippingherself overbackwards, then with herfront legs overr the divider, by time she got struggling, her front legs ended up over theback of the doors.endedupwalkignher home 11miles..

this filly has been hauled before with no problems, then out of the blue she freaked out..

yet she will walk load in the trailer walk right in...so the problem isn't laoding,it's when the trailer moves ,that she freaks out.each and every time when we worked with after the fact. she as leg wrapss on as well as the head bumper. we have new tie straps that work,new halter, is tied short, but head bumper doesn't cover her face,or eyes,she freaks out moving her body back and forth ,bangs her head tries to rear.she would have bad scrape wounds around her eyes from banging her head about, afraid she may put out an eye....

no won't put another horse in with her, due to her freaking out, don't need another horse getting injured or stressed out by her behavior.

She is my daughter's show prospect.

yes we havetaken her on short trips ,but no longer get out of the driveway she gets worse, we end up coming back, very short trips. she isfreaking out banging around in the trailer yes we make her stand in the trailer for an hour or so before we move and an hour or so after we get back.

she will stand fine as long as the trailer isn't moving.

so what does one do in that case....?

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straight load or slant?

If she did everything pretty good but ride in trailer, I would drive on and (let-er-freak) cause when she does the trailer stops,I'll bet money she will stop freaking when the trailer does not stop.

load and go! maybe not wait for her to think about it.

maybe wait to un load so she won't pick up a habit of getting out quick.

It'll be hard to show a horse that won't go to the show.

good luck!

be safe

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Explain to me how a horse pulled back and flipped upside down in a horse trailer. We have very broke horses and they stand tied without anything behind them. But, even these broke horses are never loaded in a regular horse trailer with stalls (either slant load or straight load) and tied without the butt bar or chain fastened. You always tie last when loading and untie first when unloading. I have seen some real wrecks from people the undid a butt chain without unsnapping or untying the horse first. I have heard of them breaking a hind leg when it slipped under a trailer or off of a ramp and the horse was still tied.

If you have a horse that fights hauling, cross tie it or tie it long enough that it cannot get all of the slack out of the tie rope. I would never tie a horse short that fights in a trailer. I don't want them to have another thing to fight against. Actually, I never tied horses real short when I used a two horse straight load.

Next, you need to figure out if the horse is 'climbing' the side of a trailer. That is nearly impossible to fix. Half dividers or pipe dividers works the best with them, but is still not a complete fix.

Then, if you have a narrow old straight load two horse, your horse may never get good to haul in it. Once a horse has been fouled up n a narrow two horse, some never get good to haul. It takes a slant load with wide stalls or a stock trailer.

My old stallion I had several years ago was in a serious trailer wreck. The truck and trailer was broad-sided by a drunk coming in on a ramp and and rolled on the interstate. He had to be cut out. He always sweat and got nervous when hauling, but took a two day trip across the country when we bought him. We gave him 3 cc of Ace orally when we loaded him and just let him wear it off in the trailer. We checked him once and hour and it looked like the Ace wore off in about 5 hours. We were ready to dose him again, but did not need to. He was just nervous and sweat out. I hauled him many times after that and did not have to use the Ace again.

I would try to figure out if your horse is climbing or just exactly what she is doing when she 'fights' the trailer. I would make sure she could not tighten the lead-rope when in the trailer. If she is lunging forward in a trailer with mangers, I would tie a second lead-rope to the side of the trailer or divider so she could not go forward far enough to get her feet in the manger. [This is how I tie babies in a trailer.] And, I would haul her a time or two with Ace, gradually using less and finally none at all. If she is just lunging back and forth and jumping up and down, I would ace her and go for a long ride. I would NOT let her out until she quieted down. I would definitely outlast her and not reward her bad behavior.

I do not know what kind of show prospect she is supposed to be, but unless this all started with human error (like un-doing a butt bar with a horse still tied), she is probably not a great show prospect in any way, shape or form. A good sensible disposition is the first prerequisite for any good show horse, especially for a youth horse.

By the way, is she halter bred? Just curious.

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It's funny how most people have 2 problems with their horses: clipping and trailering/loading. Two things that are typically put off until the last moment when emotions can run high.

I always want to learn more, especially since you never know what you are going to encounter and what is going to work best for what horse, which is why I decided to check this thread out. I love what you are explaining, Cheri, is the approach that I've used with all of my horses.

I had a project pony, Star, who came with many issues. I dealt with her some my first year of college (the college barn leased her since they didn't own many horses). This poor mare had so many issues--clipping, tying, riding (bucked off at least 9 people the first semester), had the left lead 30% of the time, right lead was impossible. I found out she was for sale and I had to have her, she just had so much potential (well built, great movement, was sweet, but didn't know what was being asked of her).

When I went to pick her up, the former owner and BO insisted that they load her. 45 minutes later the mare was finally loaded after they pulled the longe line behind the butt card out (mare wasn't happy).

The next two weeks we worked on lots of leading, showmanship basics, grooming, riding, etc. She didn't go near the trailer for those two weeks. We decided to take her to a show just to see how she would be. Took the mare up to the trailer and she hopped right in.

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Well, unless a horse is really broke and never has a come-apart, they should not be tied in a slant load until after the divider is shut. It is no different than tying a horse in a two-horse before closing the back door or butt chain.

I have a 6 horse Sooner aluminum slant. If I do not know a horse to be 100% solidly trained, I run his lead-rope through his tie ring, around the front of the divider, close the divider and tie it to the ring in the stall behind his.

Or, I run the rope through the tie ring, close the divider and then drop down the front door and fasten the horse and take off his long lead-rope.

I NEVER tie a horse I don't trust completely to do the right thing before the slant divider is closed and latched. I do not want to be hit by the divider or run over by a horse.

I would school this horse with the lip string or chain to take only the steps forward or backward that I want the horse to take. This method works as well to fix your problem as it does for loading.

Edited by Cheri Wolfe

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What if the horse is really really well trained to lead but still wont go in a trailer? My gelding will go over under around and threw anything i tell him to but when it comes to the trailer he will put up a big stink both coming in and coming out. He has had no accidents in or around the trailer and has been hauled several times, to shows around the farm and from one farm to another as we have to do each yr. Still he will fight it. I know its not the step up or the type of trailer cause we end up having to use all kinds of trailers and he will go over a bridge or platform no problem both following me or being sent over it on his own. He wont even go in if we level the trailer with the ground and eliminate the step up part. At first i thought it was because he was extremely clostrophobic(sp?) but he will go into a barn or stall with no problem. when we do finally get him in he breaks out into a major sweat as if i just rode him on a 30 mile ride in super hot temps at full bore!( never would but thats what it looks like when we get out) even if he was just in there for only a 5 min drive. Ive worked him like i do everyone else and for them it a mad stampede to be the first one in. I dont have to do anything with them but open the doors unless i only want a spacific group in a certain order LOL. But he wont. Any ideas that could help me with him? Minus the chain things i dont like those and will not use them. Personal preference.

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Used this post the other day to teach my yearling filly to load. Shed been loaded a few times before just by pushing her due to my lack of time and being out of state from her to teach.

The last time she was trailered she fought and laid down (shed been pastured with minimal handling for months and was being moved to an intrem place before comming here) and I knew I had to figure out how to get her and a suitable training trailer together to learn this skill.

It was completely my fault she hadnt been taught to load to this point and I hadnt had time to do much work with her past basic leading, tying and foot handling and she hadnt been worked with on those skills since she was small. I figured it was a leading problem anyway since she would still stub up occasionally so I took the time before moving her the other day to teach her.

I tied her up for a good 45 minutes and she sat back once in the first few min and got her butt busted for it and then stood back up right and stood quiet while we loaded some other things and took care of some chores (she is smart and learns fast...bonus)

Then after 5 min of applying Cheri's leading lesson with just a rope halter, she loaded perfectly 3 times in the mostly dark trailer as it was night. She then stood tied in the trailer quietly while we waited to load the other two horses and hauled like a champ for 2 hours to the new place.

I know it is my fault she hadnt been taught and had a couple not so great loading experiances before from it and Ill have to work more with her but I was really shocked it worked so fast. Cheris method and my smart filly made me look entirely BRILLIANT in front of my new, just learning horses fellow LOL

I also really like that my filly can put 2 and 2 together pretty quickly tho...Shes my smart little Skipper W baby :)

I made her back away from the trailer a few times when she wantred to go in and made her stop halfway in and back out a few times too...Then when she actually loaded she went right on with a slack lead 3 times. the backing off is still hairy but Ill take the progress we made that night :)

Thanks Cheri!

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I glad it worked well for you. It is a really easy way to get any horse in a trailer and have them keep getting in without any extra work or equipment from then on. But, like any time one is dealing with a horse, 'timing' and 'feel' are everything.

Did you use a chain or a nylon cord?

Did you put it over the nose, under the chin or under the lip?

I keep a nylon cord in my truck under the seat. It is always there if I need it for any reason. I cannot count the horses I have loaded with it for other people at places I have been with my horses. I've loaded them at 4-H meetings (when it took 3 hours for them to get them loaded to come to the meeting), at shows, barrel racing and roping practice sessions. You name it and there will be someone there that has to beg, feed, use a butt-rope, tranquilize or beat to get their horse into a trailer. I'll offer to help. If they want it, fine. If they don't I leave them to their mess.

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>>>Worst horse I can remember was one that sulled and folded up and would lay on the ground when you got him near the trailer. We finally moved the trailer to a spot near an electric fence. The next time he threw himself down, we ran a wire with a gate handle on it over to him and 'plugged him in'. Needles to say, he jumped up. He laid down one more time and then walked right into the trailer like all of the others.<<<

AND NO ONE ELSE THINKS THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS!!!???

You just lost any respect I had for you as a "trainer", Cheri. But knowing that doesn't matter to you, well....more's the pity. You should be training Walking horses, sounds about like their ilk.

I would NEVER recommend you as a trainer, nor put any stock in any of your other techniques.

And I don't care how many people jump to your defense--if they're of your mindset, I wouldn't send my horse to them either. As far as I'm concerned, that one paragraph colored every other respectable piece of advice you've ever given.

I'm biting my tongue now to stop from saying what I'd really like to say!

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Well, we had this discussion a long time ago -- long before most of you got here.

I used to train a lot of outside horses that were on their way to the killer pen. I was literally their last chance to live. They were so spoiled and many were so dangerous that they had already crippled or maimed other trainers or their owners. [back then, I was idealistic and thought they should all be saved. Now, I know better and just tell people to ship that kind to the sale and let the chips fall where they may. They are not worth risking life or limb.]

This mare was one of them. I would not bother trying to save one like her today. There are just too many nice horses out there that want to do the right thing. This mare had attacked people and if she could not get that done, she just flopped down and sulled --- worse than any horse I had ever seen. She had been beaten and she had been tarped down before I got her. I told them if they could get her to my place, I would try her before they had the killer buyer pick her up.

They drove her up a chute into a stock truck with four other horses. They still had the other horses in the truck when they got to my house. They were afraid she would jump out of the truck if they tried to haul her alone. and they were too afraid of her to try to get a halter on her.

So, I would not even mess with her today. I would tell her owners to just ship her, but, after working with her for a month or so, she trained about like any other horse that has a less-than-great disposition. She had to quit sulling and falling down or she was doomed. I did not own a cattle prod or I would have used it on her. (Yup, I sure would have.) But, I did have a hot wire running above the pasture fences, so I set her up to sull on me there. After that, she started trying to get along, never tried to attack anyone anymore and never needed any other discipline.

For those on here that have not dealt with terribly spoiled horses or viscous mean horses, they do not train like green colts. If you do everything right with a green colt, you should never have to get after him. I have trained horses from start to showing in cowhorse and reining, dressage, jumping and about everything in between. I used to start 50 head or more every summer including TBs, Arabians, mustangs (many that I caught myself) and many QHs. Most never needed to even be scolded for much of anything. But, badly spoiled horses are a different matter. I've rehabilitated horses that flipped upside-down when someone even acted like they were going to step up into a stirrup. I've re-trained horses that had attacked trainers and put them in the hospital -- one with a life-threatening fractured femur from a stud that got him down and pawed him until he was almost dead. I showed that stud at the APHA Paint Nationals later that year in Halter and Hunter Seat Pleasure (as it was called back then). He later went on a made a pretty impressive team roping horse.

Re-training badly spoiled horses or mean horses that have learned to attack people is kind of like watching sausage or bologna being made. It is not always real pretty. But, when a horse is headed to the slaughter house, they don't have much to lose. I had everything to lose -- but I got real good at getting them re-trained and getting them to the point where other people could also ride and handle them on a daily basis.

When it gets right down to it, I have probably saved more horses from slaughter than most rescues. So, you get no apologies from me. Most trainers just sent them back home and told their owners to kill them.

Edited by Cheri Wolfe

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Perhaps you should be more aware that there are people on these boards who fancy themselves trainers. What you succeeded in doing, in my opinion, is teaching a fast and easy technique to those who may decide to use it or a prod on any horse that doesn't do what they say. If my comment forced you to elaborate, then all to the good. From my viewpoint that horse had definitely been traumatized or it wouldn't be using such means to avoid the task at hand. I know you understand the concept of horses just doing whatever it takes to survive.

If I were that horse, I'd say just kill me now, rather than let me find out about one more way the human can painfully win.

I'm just not a fan of training through extreme pain and fear, I've seen it done the other way, that's the path I'm on. Just out of curiosity, if the wire hadn't worked what would the next step up in pain and fear have been?

With all due respect to your infinite experience as a trainer, you have a right to train however you like best.

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Well, if people try to use a hot shot on a horse, they will get just what they deserve -- a violent and adverse reaction. I cannot think of anything else a hot shot would be good for except extreme cases of 'sulling'. Thank goodness there are not very many horses that learn to sull like that one to get out of doing what anyone wants. And, of course, we have bred much better horses over the years that move very lightly from pressure. I'm just happy that this wicked mare was not given the opportunity to reproduce.

My agreement with the people that owned her was if I could not get her over sulling to that extreme and over trying to attack people, I would load her with other horses into a stock trailer and take her to the sale for them and she would go on the killer truck that left once a month from where I lived. The killer truck at that time went to North Platte Nebraska to a dog food company. They were bringing about 7 or 8 cents a pound at the time.

Like I said, now I would just tell them to ship her -- that she was not worth the chance of someone getting hurt by her. Then, there were not that many good horses around, but there were still horses that were better than her.

At that time, I thought they were all worth trying to 'fix' and 'save'. Now, I know better.

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Re-training badly spoiled horses or mean horses that have learned to attack people is kind of like watching sausage or bologna being made. It is not always real pretty. But, when a horse is headed to the slaughter house, they don't have much to lose. I had everything to lose -- but I got real good at getting them re-trained and getting them to the point where other people could also ride and handle them on a daily basis.

[Not Worthy]

This was Susie to a T. Had she EVER had a positive experience in her life or EVER been properly trained to lead or yield to pressure, we would never have had to resort to the measures we did.

But she hadn't, hadn't and we did.

We were at a crossroads. She was either going to be euthanized on the spot or we were going to get. her. in. a. trailer. We had 30 minutes and then the vet was going to leave.

the good news is that with daily work and consistency, she was loading well in about 10 days. First she had to learn to lead. Then she learned to tie. Then she got loaded. There ARE basic steps that are pretty important if you want loading to be easy.

My horses walk right in. I point, they go. It's cake. Never realized how great a thing that was til I ran into some who would sooner kill themselves (and you in the process) than do as asked.

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I just used a knotted rope halter Cheri since this filly wasnt necessarily completely soured although shed had a bad experience, but more so unlearned and I needed her to load relatively quickly and i wasnt going to fight her. Her fight was minimal and she learned quickly to come off the pressure...If she hadnt, I would have used the nylon cord to make my point and get the job done.

Mostly it was the technique that quickly made sense to her, simple pressure and release, and we didnt approch the trailer till I had worked her sulling over just walking with me somewhere which she did right away. I also didn't let her get in even when she wanted to a few times. A smart trainer will tailor a sound technique to the horse at hand.

Edited by Trinity

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Explain to me how a horse pulled back and flipped upside down in a horse trailer. We have very broke horses and they stand tied without anything behind them. But, even these broke horses are never loaded in a regular horse trailer with stalls (either slant load or straight load) and tied without the butt bar or chain fastened. You always tie last when loading and untie first when unloading. I have seen some real wrecks from people the undid a butt chain without unsnapping or untying the horse first. I have heard of them breaking a hind leg when it slipped under a trailer or off of a ramp and the horse was still tied.

she pulled backed hard enough to break the the tie ,then tried to turn around,in doing so she reared upped had her front legs up over the divider, it is half divider and reared again, thus ended up side down. um my daughter was hauling her home from the show grounds from 4-h meeting 6 miles traveling down the road when this filly pulled this, so yes both butt bar and door were shut behind her..we always untie first before unloading our horses..

If you have a horse that fights hauling, cross tie it or tie it long enough that it cannot get all of the slack out of the tie rope. I would never tie a horse short that fights in a trailer. I don't want them to have another thing to fight against. Actually, I never tied horses real short when I used a two horse straight load.

okay but we have only ring for one tie with,the problem is she throws her body from side to side., we do tie with enough slack.. Sorry but i don't want her trying to turn around,which she will do when her head is loose.. we tried that ,didn't work..

Next, you need to figure out if the horse is 'climbing' the side of a trailer. That is nearly impossible to fix. Half dividers or pipe dividers works the best with them, but is still not a complete fix.

no she doesns't try to climb she moves back forth side to side throws her body.we haved watched we i would follow behind the trailer whilemoving , we did not stop / not allow her out of the trailer untils she stops fighting... , again reloaded her she loads fine, we start moving, she does it again... thus bangsup her face , her eyes

Then, if you have a narrow old straight load two horse, your horse may never get good to haul in it. Once a horse has been fouled up n a narrow two horse, some never get good to haul. It takes a slant load with wide stalls or a stock trailer.

we are thinking of renting alivestock trailer,or take the divider out of our two horse trailer..

My old stallion I had several years ago was in a serious trailer wreck. The truck and trailer was broad-sided by a drunk coming in on a ramp and and rolled on the interstate. He had to be cut out. He always sweat and got nervous when hauling, but took a two day trip across the country when we bought him. We gave him 3 cc of Ace orally when we loaded him and just let him wear it off in the trailer. We checked him once and hour and it looked like the Ace wore off in about 5 hours. We were ready to dose him again, but did not need to. He was just nervous and sweat out. I hauled him many times after that and did not have to use the Ace again.

I would try to figure out if your horse is climbing or just exactly what she is doing when she 'fights' the trailer. I would make sure she could not tighten the lead-rope when in the trailer. If she is lunging forward in a trailer with mangers, I would tie a second lead-rope to the side of the trailer or divider so she could not go forward far enough to get her feet in the manger. [This is how I tie babies in a trailer.] And, I would haul her a time or two with Ace, gradually using less and finally none at all. If she is just lunging back and forth and jumping up and down, I would ace her and go for a long ride. I would NOT let her out until she quieted down. I would definitely outlast her and not reward her bad behavior.

we will try that

I do not know what kind of show prospect she is supposed to be, but unless this all started with human error (like un-doing a butt bar with a horse still tied), she is probably not a great show prospect in any way, shape or form. A good sensible disposition is the first prerequisite for any good show horse, especially for a youth horse.

she does have good sensible dispostion, easy to train she is bred for western pleasure, she isn't a problelm , very easy going very intelligent, seh picks up one everything very quickly ,remembers. as i said she hauled before with no problems, she rode fine ther tothe show grounds, it was comiing back..whens he flipped out. she isa training project for my daughter, for 4-h / open horse shows..

By the way, is she halter bred? Just curious.

no she is western pleasure bred

Edited by Ann Wheeler

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Several years ago I had a horse that was absolutly crazy when it came to loading. I did all the WRONG things . Got him loaded but I wish I knew then what I know now. Once inside he was Ok though.

I also saw a barrel horse in a straight load bumper pull , with doors closed the hatches off above the rear doors . He broke his tie turned around in that trailer and crawled his way out ,through the space between the trailer roof and the top of the door.

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Ann, the one thing I notice (and I'm no where near Cheri's level or experience or expertise) is the potential for a bad haul if you're allowing your daughter to drive.

Now, I don't know how old your daughter is - but a bad experience when being hauled can be bad for a horse. I pulled my horses at 16 years old. I had no choice, no one was around for me to rely on who had much more driving experience than I. However, we pulled through by the grace of God and we're no worse off for the wear.

But, to anyone who reads this, it's SUPER important to be a diligent, responsible driver when hauling live animals. It's a much rougher ride if you treat your rig like a sports car - zooming here and there, quickly accelerating, etc.

Good luck!

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