Monday, October 10, 2011

Going somewhere? Not any time soon, apparently

Oh, we have a problem. It's one of those fun problems all horse owners LOVE to deal with and figure out how to solve.

Gabe has decided he doesn't like to get on the horse trailer. Period. He has always jumped right up and I know he had plenty of trailering experience while he raced, so this decision of his boggles me.

Saturday one of my riding buddies came over to pick us up so we could haul to a park to ride. Gabe has not had an issue with her trailer in the past and really seems to like her mare.

But this time, he took one look at that trailer and one look at the cute palomino mare waiting for him inside and pretty much said "Nope. Not today. I've better things to do."

Gah. I don't have a whole lot of patience for horses I KNOW know how to load and then simply decide they don't want to today. He and I apparently can both be pretty stubborn in out decisions. I don't believe in beating them until they decide to get on, but I can get exasperated and all him ugly names and tell him how dumb he is.

It took 15 minutes to convince him to get on the trailer to haul out and all it took was me slowing down and giving him some time to think it over instead of continuously walking him back up to the trailer and trying to convince him to put his feet on it over and over and over again.

All he wanted to do was stand there and think about it for awhile. Bribery didn't hurt.

He got on, we went on a wonderful, beautiful, fall colors gorgeous trail ride in which he behaved brilliantly.

Until it was time to get BACK on the trailer.

Yeah. Nope.

It took us even longer this time. He'd get three feet on and stand there all stretched out reaching for the grain I had in my hand. And just stand there. And stand. Then take a calm step backward when he changed his mind about it. Grrrr....patience was wearing thin but I wasn't going to beat him onto the trailer. That solves nothing and make the next time even worse.

So we waiting. And we waited. And I cajoled and bribed and called him horrible names and threatened to leave him in the woods all alone without dinner or peppermints.

Eventually, he sighed, and stepped all the way on the trailer. I guess he'd had enough.

So, guess what I'll be working on as much as possible?

Yeah. That trailer loading thing. Seems someone needs a reminder seminar.


  1. I have used the method made popular by John Lyons for many years and have never had a problem with it. I do find that bribery doesn't work, it's amazing how far those equine necks can stretch without moving the feet!

  2. It's always something. We realized a few weeks ago that we had NEVER taught Wrangler how to back out of a trailer. He just stood there patiently waiting for us to provide a way for him to turn around and walk off. Jerry had to semi-dismantle the trailer to get him off since we were with a group and waiting it out wasn't an option. Last week week we hauled out the old 2 horse and after a few lessons off and on, off and on, he gets this look like " ooohhhhh, I get it... no problem." Ours practically pull out our hands to eagerly jump into any open trailer because they just love our exciting adventures as much as we do ;-)

  3. Those horses can be quite stubborn when they get the notion in their that they do not want to do something. I once watched a friend attempt to load her horse for 3 days! He just refused to in!

    Shirley, what is the John Lyons method? That same friend actually spoke to him on the phone last week! I think she would love to try that method with her horse.

  4. Yep, I hear ya!!! They can be as annoying as all heck at times...much like husbands, I'm afraid. Grrrr

  5. Shirley...the thing that gets me most is he KNOWS how to get on the trailer. I've never had a problem with him before so I gotta figure out what was tying up his brain and prevent it from happening again...and you're right...those horsie necks sure can streeettccchhhh!!!

    Kathy...yeah, that's another thing I need to work on with him...he can back out but doesn't like to, he'd rather turn around and walk out. He panics when I ask him to back out and steps the back legs down nearly under the back of the trailer. I'm so worried he's going to panic just enough to get those hind legs slid UNDER the trailer, so I haven't pushed the issue, but I need to work him on it as soon as I can figure out how to make that gap under the trailer less of a hazard.

    Allison...Gabe constantly reminds me to take it slow and be patient..something I sometimes I have trouble with. I'm just glad it didn't take him three days to decide to get on! that would have been a long three days out in the middle of nowhere.

    C-ingspots...LOL LOL!!!! Love it!