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how to help an ex. racehorse calm down in the trailer

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  BLB Racing 1 year, 7 months ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    My ottb gets nervous when he gets on trailers, he thinks he’s going to a race. How can I help him chill and see that going somewhere is fun, and he shouldn’t have to be nervous?

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    More likely he is excited to be going somewhere, not nervous. However, the symptoms may be similar, and quiet is what you want. Take him for short rides to nowhere in particular (around the block, so to speak) and then return home without unloading. Eventually, he won’t know if he is going somewhere exciting or just for a boring ride (you will obviously still have to deal with the extra things done for showing as elements of excitement). And, of course, you will need to make sure the trips to somewhere are fun for him, not just fun for you. Most racehorses enjoy racing, and are usually very good shippers – often better than horses who haven’t traveled a lot.

    It is never the horse's fault

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    What exactly is the horse doing in a trailer? Does he load quietly and calmly? Does he call to other horses, when trailered alone, or is he better/okay when trailered with another horse? Does he paw? Does he sweat excessively even on a cool day? Does he all but charge off the trailer when unloaded??

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Ok thanks, I’ll try that! He just usually tenses and when I unload him he will bust out of the trailer

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    He usually loads pretty calmly but when in the trailer he calls to his mini “herd” and will get scared without his friends but then he charges out of the trailer and after a while then settles down

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    If he has a close friend, on your trips might it be possible to bring the friend as well?

    It is never the horse's fault

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    Some horses are simply herd bound, and do not and never will do well on their own. If your budget can handle a pony, a miniature horse, or a miniature donkey, find him a permanent pal, and take the little one with you to shows. Then practice loading & unloading, sometimes the pony first, sometimes your horse first until he figures out that being put into the trailer or removed from it doesn’t mean he will be separated from his buddy for more than a few minutes. And load & unload until he gets bored and will do it quietly and without fussing. I’m suggesting smaller pals because if you get a stall at a horse show, a small pal will fit into the stall with your problem child. A lot of race horses are raised with a “buddy”, who lives with the horse & travels with him, and he may well be used to always having a companion.

    sunbleachedbay Original Poster sunbleachedbay
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 10

    Thanks, most of the time one of the horses in his “herd” go with us but that’s really helpful

    I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse - John Galsworthy.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Or a goat. Most horses like goats and do well with them as companions.

    It is never the horse's fault

    SpringMoon Acres SpringMoon Acres
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    My horse had a similar problem with the trailer. He would load well because he was used to it but he was so nervous and my mom and i used to be terrified to unload him because he would get so up. I did a lot of loading and unloading just to practice not going anywhere. One thing I found helped was when I would get him ready to unload (Hooking the lead rope on etc.) I would do each piece of the process separately and then make him chill out before I went on to the next. So I would hook up the lead rope and when he would start to get all jazzed I would just stand there and ignore him essentially till he calmed down and started eating hay again. Sometimes i would stand just outside the door where he could see me still holding lead rope. The first few times took a long time but eventually he figured out if he didn’t calm down I wouldn’t take him off the trailer and get to go do fun things. I did the same thing with unhooking his head and with taking the bar in the back down.

    Putting the bar down in the back and keeping him there takes a little muscle and persistence, that one was the hardest for my thoroughbred to overcome, when he would try to take a step or two back you have to pull him back again. Lastly I would make him stand on the ramp, show him its nothing to be nervous about just an incline to stand on. It only took a few times of working on this for my horse to really start getting this thoroughbreds are so smart and love to learn! Good Luck!

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    If your horse is likes to be with the herd then he might be buddy sour. Or has little self-confidence. Then the horse needs to gain self-confidence.

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    Load the horse in the trailer daily just to tell the horse that if the horse was to go somewhere the horse wouldn’t be nervous. It will tell the horse not to worry about it. Hope this helps you!

    BLB Racing
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Might sound a bit crazy… But my standardbred stallion who is still racing gets extremely excited on the trailer. Loads and unloads calmly but when on the trailer paws throws his head dances u name it. I tried several different things. A slant load trailer, windows down, windows up, straight load trailer. Box stall nothing calmed him until…. I turned him around and put him facing backwards in the trailer. He was calm and enjoyed the trailer ride to the track. Maybe try it for a short ride with a friend driving behind you to see how he reacts. Good luck!

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