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Loading a stubborn horse - urgent help please?

(14 Posts)
HeidiHole Sat 24-Sep-11 15:37:31

My horse has been visited by a vet and he found something that needs treatment at the clinic. We spent 2 hours in the stable with sedation and couldn't do it so only solution is the horse goes to the vet where they have all the proper kit and location.

The vet clinic is 90 minutes away (very rural) and we sold our horse box years ago as never needed (hack out from home, stables at home etc etc)

Horse travels fine, once in the trailer but hasn't been in a trailer for 8 years.

Last time (8 years ago) we had to put him in he just slams on the anchors and will not go in... we eventually got him in but i remember it taking aaaaages... (horse not agressive in ANY WAY just stubborn)

So the vet is coming tomorrow at 8am to collect horse so I don't have time for all the techniques like "feeding horse in the trailer for a week to get it used to us" However i just know he will refuse to go in sad

I have a shed load of treats, and a long crop to tickle his back legs with.. Last time my friend held one side of a long rope under his tail and someone held the otherside and they sort of "pushed" like that if that makes sense

any miracle advice? as this is going to be embarrssing and at the end of the day he NEEDS this dental work and has to get to the clinic.

Jojay Sat 24-Sep-11 15:44:45

Have a lunge line handy- clip on one side of the lorry, run it round the back of the horse, above his hocks, and heave ho - sounds like that's what youer friends iddi last time and if it worked....

Try and have a few competent helpers around. Good luck.

HeidiHole Sat 24-Sep-11 15:48:25

OK dont have a lunge line but have a lot of rope so will cut a long length and try that. So tie it on one side and just hold the other end? urggh not looking forward to this especially as the vet is travelling for 2 hours with the trailer to get to us... hope she doesn't have to return empty handed! thank you so much for replying

Stormwater Sat 24-Sep-11 15:55:11

The vet will probably be pretty experienced at this so should be able to suggest things if you're having problems.

Start with food (is the horse normally fed a hard breakfast? - if so, wait and encourage it into the trailer with breakfast). If no luck try a lunge line round the back whilst also leading as normal, with a whip. You'll just need to get as tough as necessary!

Another good tip is putting something softer on the ramp so that the noise is deadened a bit.

If he will stand quietly but stubbornly won't go forward, hold him in place with the rope behind and lift up one foot at a time and move it forward physically, tighten the rope behind as he goes forward. Sometimes if you can get them to move forward a bit this way, they'll just shoot forward in a rush so be ready to keep up with the momentum if this happens!

HeidiHole Sat 24-Sep-11 16:12:02

No he is out at grass no hard feed and I don't have any in yet as it's not winter. I do have lots of horse treats though so will have someone at his head dangling them! thank you for your reply i appreciate it! also about something on the ramp thats a good idea as that'll definately unsettle him, he's pathetic nervous sometimes.

AlpinePony Sat 24-Sep-11 18:01:44

Please don't try and push/whip or anything else.

How confident are you generally? I have never had a horse refuse to load with me, I take the no prisoners and no fuss approach.

Please post on the Kelly marks intelligent horsemanship forum tonight and see if you can get an emergency RA visit for the morning.

If you 'beat' this horse in to the box tomorrow how are you going to get it home? sad

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Sat 24-Sep-11 20:02:13

Firstly, put it in a bridle. This gives the horse the message that you mean business, this isnt just a casual headcollar event. Then line the horse up to the ramp, and try not to let it keep circling. Better to stand still or progress by inches than give the horse the idea that it can keep turning away. The lunge line is quite a good idea, as it gives the horse a gentle pressure, which eases when it goes forward. Try not to pull the horse forward, it will just pull back. Keep really calm, and move one foot at a time if you have to. Once the horse is in the box, praise, treats and patting. Let him know how clever he is.
We used to have a shetland mare who was a shit to load. We would spend hours cajoling her. In the end, we discovered that all we needed was a bit if blue irrigation hose. We had lost it slightly, and were going to break the rules and use it to wheel barrow her in (desperate). She took one look at it coming along behind her,(It never touched her,) and she was up the ramp and in in a second! Little bugger! It worked every time! confused

HeidiHole Sat 24-Sep-11 21:54:09

Hi alpine...not hugely confident but reasonably. What is the take no prisoners approach if you can't use force? Genuine question! I known he will slam on the breaks and he is a 17hh Clydesdale this is no small chap! So imagine him stood with his heels in what would you do please?

Saggy thank you for your post too good advice as well!

Butkin Sat 24-Sep-11 22:14:03

What we used to do with a tricky loader:

a) we'd bridle it (or Chifney)

b) We'd attach lunge line to rear clip as discussed above and would follow horse with it so he couldn't duck out that side.

c) we'd also park close to a wall on the other side so that wasn't an option either.

d) we'd drop the front ramp down - but leaving up the front breast bar - so that the trailer looked light and he could see the exit.

e) the leader would never look back at him but would walk confidently at the side of him carrying a bucket of feed.

f) have a helper behind him to slam the back bar shut as soon as possible to avoid him reversing out.

g) lots of praise/treats if he did it quickly.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 24-Sep-11 22:45:48

Second everything butkin says, mine used to pull this stunt every single bloody time (he went to shows week in week out and was fine once on, just hated the sound and feeling of the ramp I think) we would spend at least half an hour loading him every time, then one week someone suggested the bridle. He walked up to the ramp, stopped, then walked straight on. Stubborn little bugger he was.
Before the bridle we also used to use 2 lunge lines crossed at the back, someone on either end, which gave pressure on his bum without risking anyone being stood on. But you will need 3 bodies for the double lunge line.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Sun 25-Sep-11 00:44:24

I agree with everything Butkin says except for the Chifney. The worst bit ever, I would NEVER Put one anywhere near any of my animals. Ever.
Oh, and anyone involved in loading should wear gloves. Nothing worse than rope burns!

HeidiHole Sun 25-Sep-11 08:42:48

Thank you thank you everyone! Success he is away and I'm so grateful to everyone.

Kept him in over night with a drop of hay then cashed in on his hunger this morning with hard feed in my hand as I led him. Someone in the box rattling treats and two people being on the double lunge lines (the vet had some)

A bit of resistance he just stood still but a crop was got to just tickle his legs (didn't smack him) and tightened the lines and he went with a rush after only 25 mins

Such a relief! Thank you everyone

Stormwater Sun 25-Sep-11 13:18:24

Well done, that's perfect! Hope the treatment goes well and that you have the same success getting him home too, bet he'll be keen to get back after a day at the vets.

Jojay Mon 26-Sep-11 22:27:41

Great news

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