April 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm
I have been trying to teach my yearling to load in the trailer, which he is doing quite well at…but the problem I am having right now is that he will not get out of the trailer. I do not have a ramp and I do not have access to one. I try backing him up but he wont have it, I also trying letting him lead out. As soon as his foot steps out, he jerks it back and backs as far as possible. I know the problem is his confidence stepping down, I just do not know how to help him. I only have access to a trailer about once a month, so any exercises I can do on the ground at home would be extremely helpful. He is very good at backing normally…just not on the trailer :/May 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm
This sort of thing is why I prefer ramps! At our farm, we have a “bridge” used for trail classes. Something like that would be a good way to teach your baby how to step up and/or down (and I use the words so my horses will know what I mean once they have learned to associate). It is something like a pallet, only longer (a bit longer than the average horse) and made of much sturdier wood. If you or a friend can construct something like this, he can learn to step up or down out in the open where he can see, and hopefully transfer the lesson to a trailer, whether he needs to go forward or backward.
It is never the horse's faultMay 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm
That’s a good idea! I was thinking something along that line. Im sure this will help with other training too!! Thank youMay 5, 2016 at 8:44 pm
You are welcome. I hope you have lots of success with him.
It is never the horse's faultMay 5, 2016 at 9:11 pm
Thank you! With all the questions that’s ive posted, I should be a professional!! All the help and support is just amazingMay 9, 2016 at 11:13 pmriding for ChristTopics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118
Many horses have this type of reaction, but I think that every time you try to back him off the trailer, you need to just make him do it. He needs to get over the idea of stepping down. What if it was an emergency and he had to get off quickly, then you would have to argue with him. So, the best thing to do is to not baby him and just make him to do it and do it with a high expectation for your horse.May 10, 2016 at 1:24 pmanne2poniesTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1
Don’t let a step up trailer discourage you, horses can do amazing things when taught with calmness and patients. Ask your yearling to put one foot,(one foot only!) on/in the trailer, stop, and ask him to back away/off using a cue word or signal or both. Do this exercise a few times or until he does easily without fear. Then ask him to put both his front feet on/in the trailer, stop, and ask him to back away/off using your cues. Do this until he does it easily without fear. You’re going to keep inching him farther and farther into the trailer asking him to back away/off without fear. Remember to stay calm and take things slow. Yearlings are still discovering that they have back legs and how to keep track of where they are, so try to have him only put one back leg onto the trailer before asking him to back away. He will want to put both back legs on by hopping up, so you will have to read his body and try for one back foot on the trailer. By having only one back foot on and one off he will realize/learn where his back feet are and the height of the step. Repeat until he is calm and without fear. Then ask for all feet in, repeat.
Remember to use your cues, stay calm, be patient. Use lots of praise and stroking. Yearlings do have a short attention span so even though you are working slowly watch how much time you are using. Quit on a high note.May 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm
riding for Christ – this horse IS a baby. She should take all the time he needs to learn anything.
It is never the horse's faultMay 11, 2016 at 8:42 am
Joe-Joe! This is completely random, but we recently had a tree that was removed in my pasture and it turned out the stump was the perfect little ramp to help him step up and back down with confidence! So I have been practicing with that as well….. it may be random but it was free lol
Anne, I have been watching Clinton Anderson and he does the same method! I am definitely going to give that a better try when I get access to the trailer again! Thank you so much!May 13, 2016 at 11:38 pmriding for ChristTopics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118
Baby horses are not dumb they can learn like big horses too. If a young horse is taught wrong, when he gets bigger and older he will have bad habits and bad behaviors. Please try what I said above, Thank You!May 18, 2016 at 11:08 amTrishDarbyTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4
I had a couple of step up trailers and have since changed to ramps. One horse I had who had a mild case of Shivers wouldn’t back off, so I attached two long lead ropes and stood behind her on the ground and just eased her out with alternating pressure from one lead to the other, and she got it.May 18, 2016 at 11:45 amFoxFireTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4
With every horse I work with on trailering, we always start slow, as I’m sure you have. But, that includes teaching them to back up as they learn to get in.
So, what I would suggest is starting again. First of course one foot, whoa, step back. Done for that lesson. Next, two feet, whoa, step back. You get the idea, it’s just as important for them to learn how to get out as it is for them to learn to get in! It doesn’t matter if they are learning with this technique using a ramp or step up because it is so slow. If it were a ramp, it would be the same thing except the first step is onto the ramp. I always want them to stop, think and relax with treats at each forward and backward movement. I want them to go slow so that they don’t feel the need to hurry up – that’s when the wrecks can happen. As I look at your responses above, it’s pretty much the same as Ann2ponies has above, but I’ve just added the relaxation, waiting and treats. Good Luck!May 18, 2016 at 2:30 pmJ. CorwinTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4
Hi, I had the same problem. I did what some of the others suggested and did load one front foot on and off the back of the trailer a bunch of times, then two front feet and back off, 3 feet and back off a bunch of times, but when he got the 4th foot on he did not want to back off. I did gently push on his chest and pushed him off the back of the trailer and he scrambled a little but then the hind foot found the ground and he learned that the ground would be there. Not a problem after that first push. It sounds brutal but it was not. He just needed to know he could do it and survive. Just like training horses for other things. Sometimes you have to push them beyond their comfort zone. And I literally “pushed” him. And since a ramp is not an option for me all my horses have to learn to load and unload in a step up trailer. Then on my next attempt to load all 4 feet, we worked on walking a few steps forward and then a few steps backward to the edge of the trailer, over and over until he was good at moving his feet in the trailer. I used a verbal cue “step” with the repetitions during the training when they stepped out, and “load up” to step in and now when I go to unload, my horses will back to the edge of the trailer, wait for the verbal cue “step” and then step down.May 21, 2016 at 10:19 pmphibeeTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1
This is my go to when I’m teaching a new and difficult concept to a horse. It’s very easy for them to get and allows you to mark a very specific action.
I would start by getting him used to the clicker, obviously, and allow him to make that connection that click= good behaviour.
Then, you can start to try to get him to back. Any backwards steps he takes, you click. I might even start this on the ground without the trailer, and then move into the trailer once he’s backing nicely on the ground and understands the clicker. Then, move it to the trailer and treat it like the same concept in a new area.
If he’s anything like my two, they start to have fun with it trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing, especially if rewards like treats or pets come after the click.
I won’t say this is a permanent solution but I think it would be a helpful way to ‘back up’ (pun intended) the suggestions already being made.May 25, 2016 at 8:15 pm
Thank you for all the feedback! Im really excited to try all of this advice out. Im currently looking to buy a horse trailer so I wont have to rely on anybody. I might look for a ramp but I really don’t mind step up. I feel like it is still very important for my boy to learn that method as well. All of you guys are so great 😀 btw I reeaaallllyy want to try the clicker method as well, I figured its a good way to motivate my little guy
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