Trailer Loading - Rogo's Hot and Cold

Rogo has always been a dream to load. Calmly walk on, turn, get tied, gated, stand quietly until he reaches his destination and then quietly walk off. Although the other two have more experience and aren't bad, he was the best, a non issue. 
Our trailer is designed such that they have to turn to be slightly facing the rear once on (apparently more comfortable for the horse) and then they walk off. 
The first hint of trouble re the trailer occurred when we went to bring them home from their winter stay at Cheryl's. He started fidgeting once he was on and gated - nothing too serious but moving around alot. 
Then, when I loaded him to go to the Truro show he reared and hit his head (luckily I'd just started using a pad on his head) and he just wasn't all that great to load - nervous but not refusing. He came off fine in Truro, but loading to come home, he wanted to rush off once turned.
So naturally I decided we needed to go back to basics and do some practicing at home. It was worse! He pulled and rushed off the trailer and even stepped on my foot. Twice. It was getting to be dangerous - he could have gotten on the road.
Then I put a bridle on him, put a longe line through one side of the bit, behind his ears and attached to the bit on the opposite side. Maybe sounds severe (?), but he knows this from when I used it when he ran away on the longe (after months of longing) and he respects it and doesn't really pull. With this in place I led him onto the ramp and backed him off a few times - no going on and turning.
The next day I put the trailer in the pasture and fed him his supper in it. That night, same set up re bridle, and I walked him completely on and off twice. The first time worked, but the energy level was too high for my liking and the second time was calm.
Last night it was too rainy to practice, but I fed him on the trailer, locking the other two horses in the barn (he doesn't mind being separated from them, which is a real plus). I kept watching from my office window which looks down over the riding ring and pasture, and he just stayed on. And on. And on... After two hours I had to go take him off because the other horses were wanting out and I didn't want them to start fooling around the trailer. I think he must have fallen asleep for awhile, because he was still eating his hay when I went out. I slipped a loose, big halter on with a lead line clipped underneath and he lazily walked off. Yeah!
Now I'm not thinking this is cured, but I THINK we're on the right track. Much more practice and maybe some trial runs with Megan as back up :)
Now if it would only stop raining so I could get some ride time in!


Anonymous said…
Isn't trailering a pain in the ass Carol!!! All of ours are good but Jessie's new mare may be a challenge...out in a field for 3 and a half years!! Anyway, she got here. The same guy that delivered Rogo delivered Romie from Ontario to Nova Scotia. She is really calm so far. We had a horrible problem with Brodey when he bumped his head that you Jess has just learned that the best thing is to be calm and patient and they eventually go right on. Good for you for working so hard and being so patient!!! Thanks for your comments about raine. I feel really good about it....finally a success!!!
Carol said…
Yes, it is a pain in the ass. I think it's one of my least favorite things, which may be why I started having problems - I think I rushed :(
Megan tells me it's where most accidents happen and I believe it.
I sure wasn't posting to suggest I'm patient or know anything. I may be doing it all wrong (if so I hope someone tells me).
Of course the place I parked the trailer for practice loading is now a wet mud hole, much too slippery for practicing. I think we can move it to another spot though...