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Trailer loading...backing out
>>Cool, let’s expand upon this
thread. How do people teach backing
out of trailers – particularly to a horse that is very traumatized by the
This is probably going to sound really whacky, but all I can
say in my defence is that I have done most of my training with no help, and a
strange horse. It tends to make you think very
Okay, so I taught Toc to back up,
with me standing in front of him. When he was doing it calmly, without
rushing, I would back him into his stable, or through an alley-way - anything
where he has to watch where he puts his feet. I also backed him
under tree branches, so that he would learn to keep his head down when backing
(so often, they raise their heads).
Then I got him used to me holding his
tail while he backed, and directing him with it.
I didn't do this because of loading
problems, I did it because there were times on trail when I'd have to back away
from something, and there was no room to turn around. But when I think
about it, it is probably why he backs so calmly out of a trailer.
>>But to her, backing in general
isn’t easy. She’ll 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
Before you ask her to back over an
obstacle (which most horses find difficult), try just backing her from light
into dark. Find a tree and back her from sunlight into shadow.
That's a big step for a horse. Then back her into her stall (which is
usually a safe place for them, so no biggie). Do you have an alleyway in
your barn, or a crush or something? Back her into that. Reward just
one step with masses of praise. Don't ask for too much at once. One
step back into shadow is a big leap of faith for a horse.
Eventually she'll be confident that
you're not asking her to do anything which will hurt her (which means that you
have to be sure, when you back her, that nothing will). Then you can start
working on something on the ground. I wouldn't ask her to walk over logs
yet (don't want her hitting a leg and scaring herself. Start with a line
in the sand and first walk her *forwards* over it, so she knows it's not gonna
hurt her. Then walk her forwards over it and halt when it's under her
belly and then back her over it (make sure that she can still see the line :
you'll want to make it quite a long one). Then you can walk her forward
over it, so that you stop with it behind you, and then back her over it.
Once she is doing this calmly, try a gum pole on the floor (not as high as a
log), and then progress to higher logs.
Once she is doing this calmly, then
try to find a very small enbankment, about a foot high, with a slight step or
slope. Walk her up it and then back her down it. Many horses panic
when their back feet go down off of something. This is the start of what
she'll be experiencing when backing off of a trailer.
Once she is happy doing this, then
try to find something noisy and clunky to back her onto. Again, forwards
first. Many horses get a fright when they start backing because of the
sudden noise behind them. Natural reaction is to shoot forward or spin
around. Let her get used to this kind of noise (in fact, if you can back
her onto the trailer ramp it is even better, as it's the exact noise she will
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