kennakenner123 asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

Horse and trailer issues?

My horse hates trailers. Everytime I try to lead him in, he plants his feet and won't move an inch. Can someone help please?!?!

Update:

WOW!! all of you gave me great advice!! i'm going to try several of the methods that you all told me. Thanks everyone!! i can't give a best answer for this one, so i'm just going to have to put it to vote.

20 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    you could use a buttrope

    or load it with another horse

    i dont know if itll work but you can give it a try

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  • 1 decade ago

    There are few different methods you can try. First, assess the trailer - are you always using the same trailer? Do you have different type to use? I ask this because my mare is very claustraphobic. A lot of prey animals are claustraphobic - horses included. Some are more than others. My instructor has a three horse slant with half the width of the trailer as the door. The other half and part of the back of the trailer is a room for saddle storage. Three slant stalls are behind it - she hated this trailer because it looked dark and was a narrow opening.

    My trailer is a two horse stock, which is nice and open. A step up because she doesn't like the ramp either. This trailer was a great deal, which is why I have it, but am glad of its design.

    So, consider putting a light or opening a people door, if you cannot try a different trailer.

    Ideas for the getting him in a trailer. You can try constant forward motion. Walk her in circles starting farther away from the trailer and walking closer. Stop her and give a treat every once in a while, either the point closest to the trailer or just after she passed that point.

    Eventually she should be walking right next to the trailer. when she is doing this confidentally and well - try taking her straight into the trailer on the next spin around. Treats if she goes in and if she does, stand for maybe half a second, then ask her to back up before she decides to herself. This works better with a step up than a ramp load trailer.

    You can also try what I do with my mare who gets stubborn at time. This is not something to be done by someone not quick on their feet and knows what they are doing. My mare gets stubborn sometimes and plants her feet. If someone gets behind her, she get onery. So I hold the lead tight. I do not put all my weight on pulling her, but make sure there is some weight on pulling her. If she backs up, I go with her, but keep the lead tight. If she goes forward, slack in the lead rope is her reward. Verbal praise is also given - you can try treats as well. I do not with my horse because she does not really do this out of fear or anything reasonable - same trailer for the last three years....

    Usually she walks a few strides and I have to do it all over again - but then she 'gives up' and goes in the trailer like there was no fight at all.

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  • I'm with John R on this one. Another thing you can "try" is placing a FRESH pile of that horses poop in the trailer, back by the loading doors. It can sometimes make them curious enough to calmly walk up that close just to sniff it.

    Also, be sure the trailer is the right size. Many tall or wide horses will not comfortably or safely fit in a regular trailer, they require extra height or width. Also, longer trailers help some. Many horses do not like loading into a two horse trailer because it just ends! Sometimes, opening the feed doors in the front will make it brighter in there so it isn't like a black hole. Our horses will NOT load into a two horse trailer because they are use to their big open goose neck stock trailer where we open the back door, put the lead rope over their necks or around the saddle horn & we point them inside. They jump in, we close the door & secure it & away we go.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I've had trouble with horses and trailers before too. It's nothing new to horse owners! :-)

    One thing I've found quite effective is feeding the horses in the trailer on a regular basis. A lot of horses have a negative view of trailors because all they've known of trailors is being cooped up in them for long, uncomfortable rides. If you provide positive associtations with the trailor, the horse is far less likely to resist entering the trailor when you do need to move him (or her).

    For some horses, I've had to use a rear rope to encourage them to enter the trailer. Remember, though, that this sometimes frightens to the horse, and probably won't enhance their view of trailors.

    Hot Tip:

    This tip was given to me by a vetern horse owner, who'd trained many horses to enter trailers without any trouble whatsoever. . . . . Whenever one of their horses pulled back and refused to enter the trailer, he would back the horse for about a hundred paces. Horses don't really like backing all that much, and this method is extremely effective in preventing some horses from pulling away from trailers. After you've backed the horse, try loading it again. If necessary, repeat this process several times.

    Good luck!

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  • 1 decade ago

    My gelding did the same. What I had to do with him was practice A LOT. I don't own a trailer myself but anytime someone had a trailer hitched up, they knew of my dilemma and would let me "borrow" the opportunity. What I ended up doing was using a friends big Featherlite trailer, which had a feeding area. I opened up all the doors and windows to make it less dark and more inviting. When I went out to the paddock to get him, at feeding time, I didn't take him to his stall. Instead, I took him to the trailer and put his grain in the feeding area of the trailer. At no point did I tug on him or use any force to get him into the trailer. I decided he was going to reason with himself that going into the trailer was a BIG reward...dinner. The first time took more than an hour. It was hot, during the summer and I was standing inside the trailer, shaking his grain bucket...I was HOT. But I was patient and never got upset with him. He finally came inside the trailer and there were a few times he backed out on his own. But then he came back inside to finish his dinner. I did this everyday for a while and he learned that the trailer equalled pleasant things...food, neck scratches, praise, treats. I just had to be patient. But I believe that if you start punishing your horse and using whips, and tugging, pulling, etc. they will learn to associate the trailer with unpleasant actions and will hate it all that much more. Sadly, though the ending wasn't good for my gelding because he had a trailering accident a few years later and is back to thinking the trailer is a big monster that will get him. The only way I can haul him right now is in a big open stock trailer. I really need to buy a trailer and get him used to loading and traveling again.

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  • Also it can help if you back the trailer between two fences so his only choice is to go forward and not around to the side of the trailer. I had a hard time getting my horse into a two horse straight load.. When I moved my horse the first time it took 20 minutes to get her into a two horse stright load, a few months after that though I had to move her again and I used a different trailer, she walked right in like a pro in a two horse slant load.. So maybe trying a different trailer might help, cause all my horse didnt like was the divider bar when you first walk in the trailer.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Be careful not to reward him for stopping. I have seen many people lead a horse to a trailer; when the horse stops, they look back, pat the horse on the neck and say "nice horsie, don't be scared," or words to that effect. What that does is send the horse a mixed message at best, and simply trains him to stop behind trailers.

    Try this. Lunge the horse for a couple of minutes to get him responsive to you. Lead the horse to the trailer without looking back, and without stopping. Do it quickly. When he does go in, reward him with a pat, back him out and do it again. If this doesn't work, there are plenty of people out there who can correct this behavior without beating the horse. Buttrope is the last resort, in my opinion. Too many opportunities to get tangled up, and cause a bad experience. I only know one person (certainly not me) that can safely and effectively use a buttrope, and he hauls horses daily, mostly in emergency situations, and trains horses to load properly.

    When in doubt, get professional help.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Never bribe your horse to do anything. Plus most horses wont go for food in a scary stituation anyway. You could try using a rope behind him with one person holding the other end and tightning it. But the best way is to just work with him on it everyday or at least a few times a week. Just walk him near the trailer a lot and slowly start trying to go into it. Everytime he steps in and backs out, is helping him gain his confidence.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Oh boy. Been there. Most horses need another horse in there first to load up. However, there are other ways around it. If you are loading off pavement -- back up the trailer onto dirt or grass. Another technique is to back the trailer up to the barn doors so they dont really know where they are going. They know that they are okay everytime they walk out the barn doors so why not this time? That was the one that helped me with one of my horses. And I'm sure you remember to not be to forceful because they'll get aggervated and hurt themselves and so will you!!

    Source(s): Owner of numerous ex racehorses & stadium jumpers
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  • 1 decade ago

    Spend time getting him used to it so that he relaxes when he's around it. i work on the ground before introducing my horse to the trailer. teach him to walk through tight quarters and find a ledge or something that he can step up on and back off. then find something that he really likes and see if you can bribe him on with it. you can also try putting him to work if he doesn't cooperate. walk him up to the trailer and give him an opportunity to go in. if he makes no effort to go forward, trot him in a circle a few times around. keep doing that and pretty soon he'll get tired and realize that its more work to not go on the trailer. each of my horses has a different incentive for loading so find what works for your horse. good luck

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  • 1 decade ago

    First of all don't use the butt rope ! If possible park you trailer into the pasture and put his hay and grain in the trailer preferably in the back and everyday move it up and if he wants it he'll have to go in and get it, then he'll associate the trailer with good and not bad. Then try walking him into the trailer but if he stops use a whip and lighty tap him on the butt until he moves forward again.

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