I’m turning here because I have no where else to go at this point. When I tell you my horse is a bad loader it’s the understatement of the century. I have a 7 year old Oldenburg gelding that does not get in the trailer.
He is not overly fearful, he does not try to run away or freak out when he sees the trailer, he just plants his feet at the edge of the trailer and won’t move no matter what we do he will not take the plunge and just get in.
We have tried, treats, forehead rubs, grain, hay, grass, sweet talking and all other manner of coaxing imaginable. I will often sit down in the trailer holding him with grain out of nose reach and eventually he gives up on the grain.
We have tried smacking his butt with a broom, dressage whip, rope and peoples hands.
We have tried pushing him in with a lunge line and hands locked behind his butt.
When he gets overwhelmed and he has no where to go he swings his head left to release pressure on the chain and then rears. Any pressure on his head from a regular halter, chain over his nose or chain in his mouth will cause him to back away from it or rear.
We’ve tried spooking him into the trailer but he’s not overly fearful of anything. We’ve tried making him work outside the trailer and give him a rest when he steps on the ramp but he has one hell of a work ethic and he can’t get over the hump of actually stepping into the box.
He is my show horse with the potential to be a high amatuer owner jumper and eventual big eq horse. Therefore traveling is a part of his life.
We have resorted to sedating him and pushing him up the ramp backward but we’ve done this several times and he has yet to learn from it.
He has also never has a traumatic experience in the trailer that would make him not get back in and once he’s in he rides like a peach, never makes a fuss even when you stop and he doesn’t bother his neighbors unless the hay runs out.
I am at a loss, this is not the first tough loader I’ve dealt with but he is definitely the worst and after two years he shows no true signs of improvement. (I will also mention on fluke days he hops in within five minutes and other days we can be at it for three hours or more)
If anyone has the slightest insight or advice for me I would appreciate it greatly. I’m thinking of calling a few local trainers who specialize in troubles horses but I know him inside and out and I’m afraid that won’t solve the problem because of his tendency to shut down when the pressure gets to be too much.