My mustang will load in the step up trailer but when I go to close the butt bar he steps down under the bar. He also steps out if I go to close the door. Other times he stand to allow himself to be shut in. I just never know what to expect. How do I stop him from backing out. If I try to tie him in he pulls loose or breaks the lead.
Shutting the trailer door
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I think you just need to have two people helping. One holding your horse (then going under the butt bar when hooked in), and the other hooking in the butt bar. I hope this helps. I am picturing my trailer (which might be different from yours).
If you want a safe loader, never tie your horse before the door is closed!
Having said this, the only solution I see is making it comfortable for your horse to stand still until the door is closed. This might involve another person closing it for you, even closing the buttbar first and you standing with the horse. Hope you'll find a way to get out, yourself!
Thanks for the suggestions. He stands perfecttly still until I go to the back to close the butt bar. So maybe two people may help I will definetly give it a try. I have never seen Monty have this problem once he gets the horse to walk in, so I thought I might have missed something. THANKS AGAIN.
Hi Comanche, you say you have a Mustang ? Has he been adopted from a rescue ? My guess is that he has had (no matter where he comes from) bad experiences with the trailer that happend just in the moment you are discribing. He fears the moment when the butt bar is closed. Maybe he has pulled back once hart in that moment and broke the line and the butt bar too and escaped from inside hurting himself ? I learned form reading Monty's books that horses have an incredibly good long term memory. They never forget anything. The bad (and good) memories come up in there brain right in the moment when the same signals are visible, when the same thing happens like the person who loads him walks away to the rear part of the trailer. And then they have to react and go into presure or escape or just do not move anymore etc. So maybe it is a good idea to confront this moment. Open and close the butt bar. Leave him in the front with a person or two at his head as miriam said and walk to the back. Close the butt bar and open it again. Walk back to him. and so on. Or even load and unload until you feel that you can cover the bad memories that are coming back into his mind when you leave him in the front with a good experience like safety and no harm whatsorever. It would be great to read how it was going. Good luck, VioBerlin
Hi Vio Berlin, thanks for the suggestions. Comanche was a one year old captured with his mother from the Salt Wells Springs, Wyoming herd. I have his BLM Wild Horse and Burrow certificate. He was sold to an individual in Kentucky with his mother and after one year there was sold to another individual without his mother. I can only assume his previous trailer experiences were not under the best circumstances. I started working with him as a five year old and he had not been ridden nor had a saddle on at that point. He can to me with real trust issues, but using Monty’s book I was able to gain his trust and he became a great trail horse. So after two years of being the only one he would let ride him I ending up buying him. But back to the point, when I was first working with loading him it was a slow process, he would put his head in the trailer and his two front feet in but not his back. Eventually he loaded all four feet and at that exact he put his last foot down wasps came out of hiding and stung us both, me three times and him once right on the end of his nose. He didn’t freak out but made a quick retreat and for the next couple of months would not load. We worked through that and I have actually trailered him a couple of time with no loading problems but I never know how it will go. The last planned trip I could not get the butt bar closed. However, the next day he loaded several time with no problem even allowing me to close him in. I decide to use some of the suggestions this weekend and with Comanche’s help I have found a system that works for both of us. I put my daughter, the only other person he will allow to ride him, at the front of the trailer and with the dually halter on and a long line I run the long line through the front window and back to the end of the trailer and I use the line to direct him in and am able to shut the butt bar with no problem. We loaded and unloaded a dozen times over the weekend with no issues. So thanks to everyone for your suggestions.
Hi Comanche, good to hear these news. You wouldn't beleive what kinds of ideas you can have for resolving such a problem ! Well done. You know, some day ago when I was lying awake in my bed, Comanche's loading problem came back into my mind and I thought that a RAMP attached at the back of the trailer would give him more security. If he steps back he doesn't step into nothing just like "falling off the earth" but feels some firm ground. I guess you will resolve the problem with your daughters help just by repeating the prosess and ending at a good point. So you will cover all his terrible experience with a velvet of good experiences. Let us know how it goes. You already did a great job to get his trust riding him ! :-)
I could not have done it without all of the good suggestions I received on the forum. It made me look outside what I had been doing. After working all week with my daughter up front, last night Comanche loaded with just me at the back and the lead rope going through the front window. He loaded and stood still while I closed the butt bar. We repeated this several times with no problems. I think my mistake was being in the trailer with him and then moving to the back to shut him in. I think my movement to the back precipitated his movement back and out. He truly is such a smart horse, sometimes too smart for me, I guess.
Thanks to all who responded.
One more suggestion, which may help him be more comfy once in the trailer: back your trailer up to a round pen or enclosed arena and put some of his daily rations in the trailer. Then turn your mustang loose in the enclosure and leave him be. He will find the food and when he gets hungry, he'll enter the trailer and eat. I have a three year old Arab stud that would go into the trailer with me, but he was nervous and he refused to load without me leading him in. I've done the above with him and he has relaxed enough that he goes right in now, and even figured out how to turn around and exit face first. That was something I couldn't get him relaxed enough to do before. Making the trailer a place where he can relax and eat on his own will do much towards making him okay with the whole trailering process.
Here's another suggestion. Before I learned about Natural Horsemanship, my gelding used to pull back and break the lead rope when I tied him up. This led to him resisting any pressure on the lead rope by going backwards (into pressure). I had great difficulty loading him in the trailer alone as he would also back out when I went roung to the back. Once I learned about NH and got him coming towards pressure on the lead rope, I was able to tie him up once I led him into the trailer. In Montys book From my Hands to Yours, he describes how to train a horse out of pulling back but I heard another way which I though was better. Have a long lead rope attached to one of the rings on the Dually and pass the end of the lead rope through a tie ring fixed securely to a wall. Ask your horse to back away from the tie ring whilst feeding the the lead rope out so he is approx 6-8 feet away. Then stand away from your horse to one side so the rope is at a 90 degree angle and slowly take up the slack in the rope so as to ask the horse to move towards the tie ring. If the horse resists and tries to pull back, allow him to go back but keep some pressure on the Dually halter until he stops and willingly comes back towards the ring and rewards himself by releasing the pressure. Practice this regularly so he can be tied up safely in the trailer and will stay there whilst you fix the bars and lift the ramp.
Hi comanche I am happy to hear that you sorted out the loading issue so well ! congratulation. Have fun with you horse and as soon as I as my little colt for the first time to load I will let you know how it went. Good luck, VioBerlin