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Big time trailer fun
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Joe
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Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
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 Posted: Wed Aug 3rd, 2011 02:29 am
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Last weekend we were supposed to pick up a new horse.  He is a gift from the breeder, who knows a lot about genetics but very little indeed about training or riding.  The animal is a well made 15.2 Egyptian Arabian grey.  He could use a tad more in the quarters and has decent but not outstanding bone.  But all in all a fine 5 year old gelding and a magnificent gift.

The breeder said he had trained him to trailers, but it turned out that meant loading into a slat-wall stock trailer, not a closely confined horse trailer.  So, we stood around for a couple of hours while the breeder got him used to the idea. In the process of this, someone had the idea of putting his mother (and pasture buddy) in the other stall as she was trailer broke.  Turned out she was a stock trailer baby too, and blew up big time.  She tried to climb through the little service hatch at the nose of the trailer.  I feared severed tendons or other real damage, but when all was said and done, she got off with some bad scraped skin.

This adventure did not help.

Finally the new boy was in the trailer happily munching grain.  At that point the breeder snapped on the halter strap at the front of the trailer.  Next time our boy moved his head is stopped him short.  Seems he'd never been trained to stand tied, either.  He blew up, broke the strap and came out in acrobatic fashion.  @0 minuted later when he was safely back in a pasture, we all agreed that he needed a bit more work before he could be safely transported.

I had been reluctant to interfere on someone else's land with someone else's horses, especially as both breeder and spouse are E.R. docs and therefore a bit reluctant to take direction.  However, we did give tactful suggestions by email yesterday, which they appeared to accept.

So the question is, what are the preferred methods of training for trailering and standing tied?  We know some but are always hopeful of improving our skills.

We suggested taking him in and out of the trailer several times a week while letting him think it through but pressuring lightly, feeding him in the trailer for a while, and starting with short rides on the property.

We also suggested starting slow with being tied and gradually working away from the animal.  That has worked with others, but this guy now has a clear and frightening memory of head restraint, with an equally clear memory of escape.

Any thoughts?

Joe

Indy
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Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
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 Posted: Wed Aug 3rd, 2011 02:53 am
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If it was my horse, I'd borrow a stock trailer and bring him home. Start the training yourself rather then ask people who are not experienced trainers and have already made some poor choices in their training of this horse.

Congratulations on getting such a great gift.
Clara

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Aug 3rd, 2011 05:34 am
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Joe, go online and purchase any of the trailer-loading videotapes/DVD's by either Ray Hunt or Buck Brannaman. You also need to purchase and view, and view again and again and again, the DVD featuring Ray Hunt, made many years ago, which is entitled "Turning Loose." Obtain them either through Ray's website or else call Santa Rosa Saddlery in Santa Rosa, California.

In "The Birdie Book" it also talks extensively, with photo series featuring Harry Whitney, about the principles that underlie good trailer loading. If the horse's Birdie does not load first, it is useless to either push on or pull on the body. Therefore, with the body, the most we do is block it from going the wrong direction. You will see Ray do some VERY effective blocking, with a mare that is literally trying to kill him, on the "Turning Loose" program.

As to teaching the horse to stand tied, the principles and techniques for this are also set forth in the Birdie Book. In addition on that subject you should read your "Inner Horseman" back issue for Year 2001, in which is reprinted the complete published works of John S. Rarey. There he too, writing in 1849, sets forth essentially the same technique our elderly teacher taught to all of us students (i.e. me, Harry, Ray, Buck, Joe, Josh, etc.) whose names are frequently mentioned here.

I was out at my own stable last week and there was a youngish woman who has a horse that she is afraid of. She has good reason to be afraid of it, since it does not know much and she has no blinkin' idea (even though she has repeatedly been shown) how to teach it what it needs to learn, i.e. the very first lessons. And the very first lesson is the lesson of untracking, which is the basis for many things indeed, including for the horse's ability to stand tied without pulling back.

So I watched her there with her horse at the farrier's tie rack. She did have the sense to not tie the horse hard, but only throw a couple of loops over. She was picking up the horse's hind foot and, her timing being off, the two came a-crupper and the horse threw up its head and pulled back. Having seen this occur, I asked her, "Why does a horse pull back?"

And she said, "Uh -- I don't know, I guess." So I said, "OK, when it is tied up, what options does it have for movement, other than to pull back?"

And she said, "Uh -- well, it could go backwards or it could go forwards."

To which I replied, "Yes, it could go forwards or backwards. But it exists in three-dimensional space. Are there any other options?" But she could not think of any. This is a good example of a person who is not, by nature, at all dull, but who, rather, suffers from her brain being frozen. She is also afraid of me, as well as of her horse; she is afraid to get a "wrong" answer and therefore, when I ask her a question, she does not really try, for fear of failing. These things all conspire to produce a young woman who is unable to get out of whatever mental rut she may be in -- unable to think more broadly, more flexibly, more creatively, or in terms of other options. If she gave some kind of outrageous answer, I would have just laughed, but she cannot imagine this.

So, continuing the conversation, I said to her, "OK, other than backwards and forwards, in 3D space there is also up, down, to left and to right. Now....having heard that, my dear, can you think how you could use that information to show a horse that it does not need to pull back, in other words, to teach it that it has an option other than going backwards?"

But she could not think of a way. So I said with a smile, "OK, well, anytime you want to work on this some more, or actually get it solved to where your horse never pulls back again, then you can come and ask me."

Wanna bet she never will? But you will, Joe, that's what brought you here in the first place. -- Dr. Deb

Joe
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2011 12:11 am
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Dr D.

I will order those disks.  Of course, I don't have possession of the horse right now and it is 250 miles away.  Maybe I could give a set to the kind soul who is giving me the animal.

I will also go read Birdie again.  Now that you mention it, I do recall that section.  Actually, the loading part finally worked, but then it was finding his head restrained that blew it all up.

To the other poster who sugestd borrowing the trailer -- practical, I agree, but I lack a vehicle that can pull it and would also have to take it back 250 miles after delivery, and then come back.  That's a lot of driving in what would have to be a borrowed truck.  At this point, the giver is going to deliver the beastie himself.  I will then work on the standing tied part when I am near at hand.

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2011 02:02 pm
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Hi Joe,

Thought I would mention that Josh Nichol has a trailer loading article on his website that is very good and worth a read.

As for tying (which of course the horse needs to be taught to tie) but for the sake of getting him to your place, is not tying him in the trailer an option ? I never tie my horse in my trailer as that way he can adjust to where he would like to stand and perhaps will not cause your horse to feel trapped. However, if it would be unsafe for you horse to turn around (divider in the middle) maybe that is not a good option. Just a thought.

Good luck to you.

David Genadek
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Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
Location: Spring Valley, Minnesota USA
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2011 06:17 pm
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I watched a Gal here this weekend trying to get her horse into a stall. She stood there the horse stood there both wondering what to do. It was late I was tired so I walked over and grabbed the lead and sent the horse into the stall and he went right in. It reminded me of watching Liz's clients try to load horses. We would sit and watch for about an hour then Liz would go out and send the horse in to the trailer in a second. That is when I realized that when there is no question there will be no question. People need to learn to send their horses.
The other day I had a neighbor bring his mule over for some help with saddle fit. Some brief history the first time this guy brought his mule over he couldn't get it loaded so he tied it to the back of the trailer and pulled it over down the highway. He brought this Mule over and it's neck was pretty messed up. Well it turned out he had put the mule in trailer to go coon hunting the other day and he kept feeling the trailer lurch, five times to be exact. He put mule in the trailer with the
halter and the lead rope attached and just threw the lead rope on the hay shelf in the front of the trailer.
The lead blew out the front vent and kept getting tangled in the trailer tires. When he stopped to get the mule out the lead rope was only a few feet long. You would think he would have learned but he did the same thing when he loaded to leave my place.

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2011 07:17 pm
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Wow, poor Mule !!

I always use a rope halter and lead that attaches with no buckle so, I take my horses halter completely off everytime. However my reasoning is so he is not stepping on his lead, never thought of it flying out and getting stuck in the tires !!

There are alot of bad trailer stories that's for sure.

Joe
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 Posted: Thu Aug 4th, 2011 07:45 pm
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Well, yes.  I must admit that I have been around a lot of trailer messes, and that I generally don't tie horses in trailers.  However, I wasn't the one calling the shots, and as a guest and gift recipient, I had to tread softly.

Still, I am always looking for better ways.  Actually feel more ignorant with the passage of time.  As a young man, i was a horse master.  Now I am merely a student, and not all that advanced in my studies despite 40 years of working at it.

J

David Genadek
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Joined: Sun May 13th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Aug 5th, 2011 12:01 am
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Joe,
What was it that Mark Twain said. I left home when I was 16 thinking my father was the most ignorant man alive and when I returned home a 20 I was amazed at how much he had learned in that short time.( general gist anyway)
Yep at times you just have to sit back and watch.

Jeannie
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 Posted: Mon Aug 8th, 2011 11:29 pm
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Hello Joe and all-- These posts remind me of why I started experimenting to see what horses could learn in order to make a safer environment for everyone. I saw people being loaded into ambulances after a horse wreck, and then when they were healed up, they went right back to doing the same thing. It just seemed people did what they saw other people doing, and it either worked, or it didn't.

 I wish everyone would  show their horses how to release to pressure, one of the biggest causes of horse wrecks. You have to start off small and ask for more as the horse learns it has to give to any pressure it feels, without getting them in trouble by doing too much too fast.

  I will include a photo I took a few days ago, as I find visuals help me. As you can see, even though the rope is very short, B is putting slack in it, even though he is plenty strong enough to pull the rope out from under the board. This helped him out several years ago when he got his leg caught over a rope strung across a slip stall in an old rickety barn. When he tried to pull it back, he encountered pressure, and instead of pulling the barn down in a panic, he just stood and waited till I showed up to free  him. He understood the concept of waiting to be released from pressure.
         Best wishes with your new horse,
                                        Jeannie


Attachment: photo(13).JPG (Downloaded 119 times)

Joe
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Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
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 Posted: Tue Aug 9th, 2011 02:38 am
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Interesting indeed.

FWIW, your horse in the picture looks a bit like my new animal.


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