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Cheri Wolfe

Trailer Loading -- In One Hour Or Less

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Ann, it is possible your filly is claustrophobic. A boarder had a horse that couldn't stand enclosed places and would fight the trailer. As soon as the divider was removed he hauled just fine.

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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!

she is 19... she has been hauling since sixteen ,her dad my husband taught her how to drive the trailer/truck with her gelding wally,who is a fantastc horse to load and haul.she also hauled Krissy the other mare and wally together. she also hauled my little blm msutang, allthree horses hauledwell,no problems.

thelast two years she has hauled wally herself to the shows, by herself. so she knows how to haul ...

this filly is really wierd, at times her first owner, informed us the day we were to haul her home reared upped and flipped over while getting her feet trim she ever done that, before ,she was 1 1/2 years old when mydaughter got her. She neverr reared agained, while getting her feet trimmed with our farrier she was real quiet...sttod still yet today no problems .

She did rear once under trianing, my daughter put her inher place, she hasn't reared since ,...

as isaid she has been hauled several timess before her old owner told she neverhad a problem hauling her.

as i said going there ,she hauled just fine .it was on the wayback when she flipped out...

once she was back up facing facing the manger, we probably should have hauled her on her home,problem was i didn't know how badly she wa injured, both halter.tie rope wer broken.. had repalcemnt halter, but not a tie strap only an old lead rope which i thought wasn't adequate to tie with.

I wanted to get her out her check for njuries she was fine, she did refuse to relaod ,we called for backup a three slant trailer, she would not go in it..

So mydauhgter her Bf walked her 11miels home,next day called the vet out she was very swollen underneath her front legs, chest..from where she bangeg herself. she had sore bruised muscles..strains..

we not sure what caused her to flip out. if some debrie hit her or what.

a week alter after she healed somewhat, walke her tothe trailer, she jumped right in.

we know she isn't frightened of the trailer just being hauled..

Edited by Ann Wheeler

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Ann, it is possible your filly is claustrophobic. A boarder had a horse that couldn't stand enclosed places and would fight the trailer. As soon as the divider was removed he hauled just fine.

possible...

at thispoint we will keep working with her , course now its' winter so it was put off..if all fails, will hire a trainer experienced with a problem horse laoding /hauling.....

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I would like to try and put 4 pallets covered with something so foot does not go through and put a pipe/2x4/anything under them right in the middle so it tedder-todders and with pallets being side by side for front feet and in front and back for back feet I would try to get her on them.......

.......sounds like fun!

The movement under her should help balance this girl.

maybe try to tie her, then put a rope around one foot and play with pressure...

Sounds to me like she might have a pull/rear switch connected to her brain from some sort of pressure problem.

even though winter is here,she might be better in spring if she got worked this winter.

tell your daughter to be safe!

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ice under snow.very cold.mwhen snow melts,gets slippery. a bit too dangerous

trailer is unhoooked, parked

daughter is in college freshmen year, 40 miles from our place

alongwith her job..her vehicle is her truck...

I won't work with a horse alone.

besides due to my limitations no longer am able too ..

we worked with her all summer.fall,until mydaughter had to leave....

somedays she was okay once or twice then she wasn't,we just her to be stable,when hauled, it was decided to wait until spring /warmer weather ,daughter will be home from college..... only willdrive on the days she has towork.since her job is part time, only works two/three days a week...

plans are to retrain her from the get go.... we will see...

she c n be tacked without being tied, or tied she does stand for everything else...as i said she will stand still in the trailer for a period of timei n the trailer, it's when we move it is when she starts flipping out..

had a person,have horses does training,, (although from what I iseen, not training more of abuse) stop in one day while we working with her.

told me to put hobbles on her..

I just looked at him, told him. " I wouldn't do that. just would make things worse...Besides one doesn't put hobbles on horse when trailering.....anyway I never heard of it or seen it done in the years I have shown, etc...I don't have hobbles, ....."

he got mad and said woman are stupid and just cuddle horses.......

Edited by Ann Wheeler

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Ann, I had a gelding like that. I bought a solidly build open stock trailer, loaded him up but did not tie him, slammed the door and went for a ride. I returned home when he stopped running laps around the trailer - about 4 hours. But I later found out that his problem was being alone in the trailer and not the trailer itself after hauling him with another gelding I owned who loaded and hauled like a dream. I never did tie them and figured they'd decide what was most comfortable for them. They would always turn themselves around to ride facing backwards. They rode very quiet, never got anxious to get out when we stopped and problem solved. I have heard that putting a mirror in the trailer so they think another horse is in there with them helps - not sure if I would try it unless it was shatter proof.

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Um question- isnt not tying a horse in an open trailer kinda dangerous. (cant get the question mark to show up ends up like this ?) I came upon an accident one day when a trailer with 4 horses in i flipped over cause one of the horses moved around so much it tossed the trailer around and the driver lost control. Everyone was ok but it could have been very very bad!

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I found this thread a few days ago and thought maybe there was hope for my situation. But now I'm not sure.

I have a 4-year-old that is refusing to load. She has only trailered once (when she was a foal) and has been handled very little, but is friendly and not spooky. Yesterday I went through the steps of making her walk over a tarp, then plywood, through water, over other things. She balked and pulled back several times then gave in (I was using the nylon cord under the chin). She was following me everywhere after an hour. I thought I'd try the trailer.

She got right to it, I backed her, then came to it again and I backed her. I urged her to take a step in and she refused. I kept puling (not hard) and after 15 seconds of pressure, she backed up quickly. I followed her and she stopped and came forward a few steps. I did this for a while. It was like she figured out she could come close, back-up, take a few steps forward and get relief from the pressure.

What next? More obstacles? Keep trying with the trailer? She goes through and over everything I could find to lead her over.

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I usually put the cord under a horse's upper lip if they still want to back against the pressure. Once a horse figures out that coming forward gives them complete relief, I start expecting more out of them. The main thing is that you don't pull too hard because you don't want them to get mad or get 'reactive'. You only want the cord to irritate the horse and not inflict pain. Then, you just out-last her.

It is all timing and feel. Instant relief after they comply is what it takes. You can also take a 6 foot piece of cord with a 2 or 3 inch loop tied into each end. I put one loop on the horse's left cheek, then put the rest of the cord behind the horse's ears, down the right side of its head, under it's upper lip, and run it through the first small loop. That makes a slip loop that tightens behind the horse's ear and under its lip. I snap a lead-rope into the loop at the end of the rope and run it through the noseband of the horse's halter. I also keep a second lead-rope on the halter so I can lead the horse with that rope and only use the lip cord if the horse 'stalls out'.

You can also place your trailer where there is a fence about 6 or 8 feet behind it, but I have not had to do that. I know other people that have done that to limit where the horse can go.

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Just make sure your trainer friend has the patience to out-wait the horse and make her make the move forward to get relief. So many trainers think they have to put a lot of pressure on one. I just find the most effective nerve and out-last them a time or two. Within a little while, they are volunteering to go before you really want them to.

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Well, we finally got her loaded and home. The trainer used a combination of what you described (Cheri) and some other techniques and it took him about an hour. She loaded and unloaded several times and hauled great. She definitely learned more than just how to load.

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Cheri, I am so grateful for this post. We are going into our 5th year of trailer-loading difficulty. To make a long story short, my (now) 7-year-old Arabian mare got caught under the butt bar of my 2-horse straight load when she was 2. Since then I have hired a total of 7 trainers to help her overcome her resistance to loading and staying in--techniques that ran the gamut from the mildest to the most severe. Two were professional loaders. All said that she was one of the most difficult cases they had come across.

We have been able to get her to load (most methods) and stay in (the severe ones) but every single time, the next time we try things are worse, there is more of a fight, the ante needs to be upped. The mare is incredibly smart, stubborn and frightened, all at once.

Last year, with the help of acepromazine and a special harness I got from England, similar to the foal-leading teaching harnesses we use here, I was able to reliably load her onto my trainer's big horse show trailer. She would stay in, with the butt bars up, and a companion horse, and unload nicely. You could walk into the trailer, turn her around, walk her out either the side or through the stalls. She got comfortable with that.

Fast forward over the winter to yesterday. I hooked up my 2-horse trailer, we aced the mare, and I took up where we had left off, leading her with the harness, which puts pressure on her hamstrings. She went in, immediately reversed, came in again for a few seconds and a mouthful of food I had in a bucket at the front of the trailer, then she flew out again and the session degenerated into a stubborn foot-planting match, increasingly farther away from the ramp. My trainer finally went and got a fleece-covered heavy chain she rigged up through the filly's halter, over her poll and under her chin. Much like you describe. We were able to load her fully with that, and quit there. I came home and found your article here.

Today we aced her and put the chain over her poll and under her chin again. I did some groundwork (I should mention this filly is, in the words of one of the professional haulers I hired, "broke to death." She leads perfectly, willingly, submissively, "on land." Responds instantly to WHOA, backs up, puts her head down on command.) Then I progressed to the foot of the trailer and we did one foot on, one foot off, two feet on, etc., with gentle pressure on my part on the leadrope. All went well. I got her to come half way in, backed her out, and after about half an hour the dramatics started, she would get almost all the way in, I would stop her, she would stand for a minute and then fly back out. I would try to maintain steady pressure on the rope and go flying out after her (she's a powerful little witch - GRIN). She would stop once she was clear of the ramp and we would begin again.

So at one point, and here is where I want your opinion, I got tried of being whipped out of the trailer like a fish on a line. I wrapped the leadrope over the top of the chest bar and back under it and held the end that way. Next time she flew out I had far more leverage and was able to stay in the front of the trailer. She backed out hard, hit the end of the rope, reared, got upset, and then almost FLEW BACK INTO THE TRAILER up to me. She was nervous then, but not totally freaking out, and much more responsive to WHOA when she tried to back out again. I got her to actually stop in her tracks and come forward. I then proceeded to back her a few steps, ask for a forward step, back her again.

Two or three more times she would lose it and fly out, always coming to a sharp stop on the ramp with lots of dramatics--and at one point she slid off the ramp sideways and scraped her inner hind leg--a flesh wound but painful. When she hit the end of the rope and quit pulling, and the release was immediately, she would instantly come right back into the trailer. She was at that point less stubborn, more wary, more respectful, more frightened.

We worked on backing out slowly, stopping at every step, as I did not like the way she rushed back. In the end we were able to get her to back out step by step until she was ALMOST off the ramp, whereupon she would rush the last few steps.

I just want to know--does it sound like we are on the right track? Is there anything you would suggest that we are overlooking. I didn't like her being pushed to the point where she was upset, as this has not boded well for future work in the past. I guess the test will come when we try to load her again. We could have put up the butt bar today but chose not to.

In every other way this is my dream horse. I am determined to overcome this problem as it has haunted us for years.

Thank you for any advice you can give me.

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