HORSES TERRIFIED OF NEW TRAILER
QUESTION: We have purchased two, nicely broke horses, that were delivered to our place. We finally bought our own older, used trailer at Auction to haul them places. Both go nuts. The one will load but then become frantic and even go to biting at us like a demon? The other refuses to load at all? We tried learning how to load from a Professional Book/Video. The Instructions seem so easy but do not work. How can we do this on our own with out being able to haul them to a clinic hundreds of miles away?
ANSWER: Two good documents under the OUR ARCHIVES section of my website for you to read. Just scroll through the "Horse Information" until you hit on them. Keep in mind while reading these documents that these things may have happened to the horse before you owned it!!!
I think they simply have no idea about being in a tight, confined space. Simply not loaded enough. Also a used trailer may have a horrid smell to it even months later. Such as "Pigs" may have been hauled in it and horses who don't know what a Pig is can get first nervous, then actually belligerent from the smell. The smell can remain even after cleaning. Other used trailers, even though well cleaned can retain the smell of cattle, turkeys, even oily/greasy machinery parts and if a horse is not used to that smell, they can get upset but never belligerent that I know of like with the smell of pigs when they don't know what a pig is. NOTE: First Horse Biting at them that bad once loaded?
To small of a confined space, ESPECIALLY NOT ENOUGH HEAD ROOM (perhaps trailer is only 6 feet high which is bad for taller horses), rubber matting can upset some, even mats, wooden floors with no shavings or straw down, poor springs/shocks so the trailer sways even though it is not being pulled, etc. etc.
Take your trailer into their corral/pasture/paddock and leave it on level ground in the vicinity of favorite resting area. Block the wheels good so no danger. Do not leave the truck as horses will teeth the paint on vehicles and/or rub on them and cause damage.
Tie the door wide open safely. Make sure the separation partition(s) are safely fastened against the trailer walls. Safety first here always. If sharp, protruding latches, fasteners, anything inside or outside, wrap them/pad them well with duck tape.
Now put their feed grain in there. Sprinkle it on the floor starting with a "Trail" of it at the back, leading up towards the front, where you leave the main pile of grain. Then walk away as this is the NON AGGRESSIVE approach to teaching horses to load themselves without Human Interference.
First they will stretch their necks a mile to eat the grain and then walk away. But put that little trail of grain again, leading to that yummy pile up front. Then they will begin stepping up into the trailer all on their own (your no where near them, they are doing this all on their own)....................after a few days, they will probably be standing in it, sleeping when you come out in the morning as they now consider it a safe Shed or Building.
Now, you will have conquered their fear or should I say, they conquered it all by themselves. Now you can begin tying them and closing the door on them for a few minutes. Then turning them loose once calm (never ever turn a frantic/fussing horse loose as this teaches them to fuss even more for the reward of being let out of the trailer unless actually injuring itself. Wait until it has calmed down, then release it) Then finally making very short hauls, then finally onto longer hauls.
This is the totally NON Aggressive way. The horses teach themselves with no human in sight!!! Or you can do the Clinics, books, etc where someone teaches you "Hands On" how to load the horse, let it back out, reload it, etc. etc. until it stands quietly. Some of these Horse Loading Books, Videos, Clinics are quite good actually.
I prefer that the horses get over the fear on their own but that is up to you.
NOTE: Although edited for this newsletter, the two horses get along well and are NON aggressive with each other which is important with this method to prevent an aggressive horse injuring the other when Free in the trailer when your not there.
HORSES TERRIFIED OF NEW TRAILER