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Re: RC: RE: Trailer loading



Marlene..

Based on your description here, it's finding the "step down" that's the
problem. With all 4 in the trailer, she doesn't have a "ground
reference".  She hasn't learned to "feel" for the drop down to the
ground.  Most horses will flip their head up when they step off
unexpectedly...no big deal...but she apparently panics over this. 
Remember, they can't see the edge of the trailer behind them.  Sunny has
learned to "test" with his toe to find it, then step off.  The more
excitable the horse, the harder this is for them to learn. One of the
few times when a ramp would be nice.

I have only worked with one horse who did this.  In order to get him
over this backing thing, I built a "trailer floor" out in the ring with
2x10's. Just laid them on the ground.  Taught the standard "go forward"
to load. (Put up a barrier of some kind so they will stop before going
off the other end or butt it up against a fence) Practiced with the
minimal step down until no problem.  Then I went to 2 x 10's UNDER the
floor to raise it a little. Again practiced until no problem.  Kept
digging out the entry till it was trailer height. (Nail the boards
together if necessary...must be stable) I always asked for a back to the
edge, asked for a "whoa", then continued backing. This "cues" the horse
that the step off is coming and allows for a controlled exit. (This is
how I taught Sunny to "feel" for the drop off) If they "hurry" off, go
right back on (just until all 4 feet are on) and ask again.  It's easy
to practice when you don't have to worry about the trailer and the horse
"falling off" a big drop. When this is easy, move to the trailer and
continue the exercise.  First time you might want to park the trailer so
the step down is small, then again work up.

Don't do this for hours at a time.  Make it a 15-20 minute mini-lesson
every day or twice a day...keep it low key, with lots of praise,
scratching, treats, etc. for distraction and so she looks forward to the
session. Make it fun. Be patient until she understands what's being
asked of her and deals with her fear. 

Sounds like a fun problem to play with.  

Jim and Sun of Dimanche



>What Iím doing right now is when we unload, just ask for a couple back steps, >before allowing her to turn and go out gracefully. 
>Just to teach her that backing in general isnít a panic situation.  But to her, >backing in general isnít easy.  Sheíll back all day in an
>arena.  Put a log behind her and ask for the back?  Nope, not gonna happen.  Break >it down simpler and draw a line in the sand,
>she still has a problem.



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