This is the story of the scary trailer or, how I accidently taught my horse to self load.
When I first got the trailer back in April, Nay said, “HELL NO.” And wouldn’t load.
I hired a trainer and he started hopping in. I could walk him in and out. And then he let us close him in.
Then she introduced self loading and he thought the concept was confusing but did it a couple times though it never clicked.
Then I tried to self load.
We lost the ability to load at all.
It took a lot of treats but he started loading again. As long as I walked him on, he would follow and I could do up the butt bar from inside the trailer (awkward, but it worked). Or, someone else could do the butt bar while I held his head.
Then, 4 weeks ago? He said nope right outside the trailer. Unlike all the other times, this time he wasn’t scared. He just didn’t want to.
It started off slow. He hesitated outside the trailer, but if I asked him to back up a few steps and then walk forward? He’d get on. Then that stopped working. After that? He’d ONLY hop on if someone got behind him with a stick.
Once he was on? Completely fine. He just didn’t want to.
So, Erik would help me load and then I’d get someone at the barn to help me load to go home. This worked. Until…
I tried to ride one Saturday morning and no one was home.
I tried everything and could not get my horse in the trailer. Nothing I did worked. Nay wasn’t scared, just convinced that he did NOT have to get in the trailer.
Finally, on the verge of giving up, I looped a long rope through the trailer slats, clipped one end to Nay’s halter and held the other. And annoyed the shit out of him.
For 3.75 minutes, Nay was one PISSED OFF THOROUGHBRED.
You see, when I held his lead rope, he was convinced he could exit stage right. But, now? The trailer added some strength that my arms didn’t have. He fought a good fight. He pulled and realized the trailer was stronger than he was. He popped up once or twice (not high because he’s Nay and he’s all bark), he stood with his head high pondering what bad life choices were out there for him. He gave me the side eye. And he walked on to the trailer and stood stock still while I did up the butt bar.
Normally, I’d have ended there and called it a day, but I was actually pissed off that I had to work harder than he did so I hauled him off and rode.
Going home, we tried the same rig. He was on in 30 seconds.
We continued that for about 2 weeks.
Then I forgot to set it up.
It turns out, this configuration of the pully and stick were exactly what Nay needed.
Because, the first day I didn’t set it up? We walked to the trailer, I gave him the same signals as I had before, and Nay walked right on. We’ve repeated this every ride and he’s been self loading with no issue ever since.
It’s almost like jumping. Once he figured it out, he really figured it out.
Well done! Necessity is the mother of invention.
Horses are such jerks sometimes! I mean, I love that he’s decided to just do the thing. But like… why all the drama? (And I can relate because Ducky was the same way. He wasn’t afraid of anything, he just wanted to be in charge.)
HA on Nay being a jerk and you figuring him out. What a brat. HOpefully it sticks. That is how we used to load trouble horses in the 80s when I was growing up with this great instructor. It always worked!! Lets hope his brain stays updated 😉