Horse won't stand still in trailer - kicking, biting and rearing!

Stushie

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I got my new horse 3 months ago. She is almost 6, 17h, Dutch Warmblood mare. I would say she is very very immature mentally and still has some developing to do physically.

I'm in Scotland and I bought her from England. I picked her up in my Equi Trek trailer - the bigger one for 18h horses and apart from a bit of confusion over facing backwards lol she loaded fine and off we went up to Scotland. I have a camera on board and she travelled perfectly but didn't eat any hay what so ever.

We arrived and unloaded and all was fine. The only issue I've had with her since getting her was getting on at mounting block (posted on separate thread) as she just went to the block and reared up - soon fixed that with a pressure halter and has not done it since. She is excellent under saddle - really seems to be a horse that wants to work and seems to enjoy it which is great.

3 weeks after she arrived I decided to take her to a small local dressage comp to quietly ride round and see how she reacted to things like collecting rings etc. I loaded fine, travelled fine and arrived at venue, put the ramp down and she was fine, then went to walk away and she lost the plot!!!

She kicked, almost bucking and then reared up, smacked her head on the roof but got up on top of the tack locker in the trailer. If I didn't have the locker there she would have been hooked over the breast bar!!!

I have never in my life got such a fright and had to take her out because she was thrashing around like a wild thing! So, took her out and fortunately no injuries and she calmed quite quickly. I took her in to her dressage a while later and as much as we were rubbish as i think I was the one that wasn't calm!!! She behaved perfectly and again, when shes working she is just perfect.

I wouldn't put her back in my trailer that day, I was still too shaken by what she had done so put her in with my friends horse (her field friend too) in her trailer and she was like a different horse. Eyes relaxed, no fear, eating the hay, resting a back leg and having a snooze!!

Since then I've been doing a lot of work at home - in, travel, back, standing, etc etc but she is not getting any better with the standing in the box. I cannot ever imagine that I could just arrive at a show, put the ramp down (or leave it up as tried that) and leave her for even a minute as she is just having a tantrum about it.

I now don't think she Is frightened, I believe she is almost like a petulant child who just wants what she wants and in this case it's to get out as soon as we get somewhere. She is the same in the stable - as soon as she has finished her breakfast in the morning she's off!! She starts kicking the door, rubbing her teeth down the bars, box walking, etc but as soon as shes been out and you bring her back in she's like a different horse lol all back to normal!

Apologies for the length of the post but thought I would give as much info as possible!

Apart from this issues, I love this horse - and! She has the most loveliest nature believe it or not lol and very very mannerly - doesn't pull, barge, run off, she scared of nothing - she has yet to spook at a thing even though others around about her are going nuts lol. She is in season but no change of behaviour thankfully!

Her background is - from Holland, broken and backed at 4 and imported to England at 4.5 yrs where she was until I bought her. She was stabled at her last home with one other horse, spoiled rotten lol and only had done 2 dressage comps but travelled in a lorry with her pal!

I definitely think she is insecure when on her own but hacks alone, schools alone, leaves others horses with no issues etc but she is a lot better when her brain is engaged in something hence - so easy to work with under saddle!!

Any ideas or experiences with this sort of behaviour? I've also decided to sell jeep and trailer in favour of a lorry now as I can't get that image of her on top of the looker out my head!!!

Thanks in advance.
 
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Goldenstar

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I have one of these too he climbs on the tack locker of the lorry it's awful he's not scared and he worse after he's worked if you go to another I have to take a groom with where ever I go.
Last week I took him for dressage training he went first did forty drive mins hard work in the carriage then was walked off grazed and groomed I took my other horse in and as soon as he heard the trainer voice from the indoor school he started managed to pull the tie ring out of the wall of the lorry with his foot !.
I was furious he had a groom with him .
I have bought hobbles will start them in the stable and then load and leave to stand in the lorry.
Mines better in the trailer.
I feel your pain.
 

Mickeymoo

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We had allsorts of issues with loading and travelling.

Why don't you leave half an hour earlier and when you get to the comp get her out the trailer and take her for a wallk around so that she can see where she is then put her back in.

We have one that will stand in the trailer but if he see's me he will bang and kick - he is 26 so its not a youngster thing. We also had a problem with him going back in the trailer when he had finished competing. What we do now is untack him and keep him out the trailer, take him for a wander and some grass, then after about half an hour he will wander up the ramp like a lamb.

In my experience they are all different. We have one horse that will stand in the trailer for as long as you want him too - but it took me 3 seasons to get him to go in the trailer happily.

We have the large space trekka and they are both fine in it but they have their little ways which we stick to, then we are all happy.
 

freckles22uk

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I had to move a colt I bred 2 years ago as I moved house, and he was a pig to load! even with the pony in there (colt was a yearling at the time) .. then a friend bought him off me, again pig to load and once in was rearing, and got his front legs over the bar..

a month ago I had him back, (hes now 3) ... took the trailer, without the partition this time, he again did not want to load, but we took or time, and after 30 mins I got him walking in and out with no problems, I traveled him cross tied (only a short journey, max 20 mins) and he traveled fine, and was very relaxed in this time, and quite chilled out
 

ladyt25

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If you are getting a lorry I would suggest getting one without tack lockers in the horse area and make sure you get ones will substantial partitions with a head board so she can't get her head/body round the front. At least then you should be a bit safer in the knowledge that she can't het herself 'stuck' anywhere. I have no idea why she would act in the way you've described - is it once you've opened the front and she can see out.

or just as soon as you've parked up? You say she's not scared but it sounds a rather extreme reaction so I would suggest she is in fact worried about something - you may find she doesn't do this in a lorry
 

Brightbay

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How much work have you done to train her to stand in the trailer?

When people buy "made" horses, they make an assumption that someone has spent the time to train the horse to do all the things necessary (or else they assume that somehow horses "know" without training). So at some point, someone trained your horse to have tack on them, to walk, trot and canter on a lunge, to carry a rider, to respond to aids when ridden, to be led.

Sounds like they may not have trained her to stand to be mounted (often omitted as many trainers use young fit riders who are boosted into the saddle with the horse still walking) and they have always have transported her in company.

So you have a horse with holes in their training - that means it's your job to fix those holes using a training process. Unfortunately, the first thing you trained your horse was that when she became frightened of being alone in the trailer, you release her when she leaps around. You'll need to do a bit of extra training to overcome the lesson she learned that day. You need to make the trailer a pleasant and relaxing place by working on it when not in a stressful or exciting situation, and by doing it in small increments. If I were you, I'd do the same with standing in the stable :)

Work on her training now, and you will have an easy to manage horse in the future, who understands how she should behave in different situations. Leave it, and you have a confused and frightened horse who doesn't like being alone in an enclosed space. Horses aren't petulant - if they act frightened, they are frightened, even if you think they're in a situation where you think it's silly for them to behave that way. If they act frightened and you then remove them from the frightening situation, you just reinforced their behaviour in exactly the same way that applying legs until the horse moves, then releasing the pressure reinforces that moving forward relieves the horse of the pressure of your legs. The way to deal with the situation is to remove the horse before they become scared and while they're calm and relaxed - that way they learn that being calm and relaxed is what gets them out of the situation. Over time, they then learn that the situation is in fact nothing to be worried about.
 

Stushie

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Thanks for your replies. I too cannot go anywhere without someone being with me but its not practical as I'm a dressage person who is surrounded by show jumpers lol so we as all off to different events! I'm able to get out and about but cannot take a step away from the trailer which is not possible - I can't even go and gt change in the front of the trailer as she starts her tantrum!

I use a pressure halter when we get there (not when travelling) and this has helped as she really responds well to it on he ground and to a certain extent stops her rearing but I wouldn't leave her alone with it on obviously.

I had mirrors put in - I bought 4 plastic mirrored tiles and they lasted about 2 minutes before she got her teeth into them and ripped them off!! She's pulled the camera off the wall twice - I've had to move it out of reach now!! She grabs the breast bar with her teeth - it's like sheer and utter rage - if it wasn't so annoying it would be funny as she really does remind of a toddler who has a tantrum if they don't get what they want.

I will keep at it but its starting to restrict what I can go to and I paid a lot of money for the perfect dressage horse that I can't take to dressage at the moment!!!

She is young and still new to me so I'm hoping she will grow out of it - please god make that the case!!!!
 

Jools2345

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the only solution i can see is to arrange to take her out and about on a lorry full of horses, she will stand on the lorry whilst others come and go then go and do her bit come back and stand back on lorry.

as show is a stressful environment and getting used to it in the company of other more experienced horses is invaluable in my mind
 

Goldenstar

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Mine is not a dressage horse but a driving one he also dismantled his tempory stabling ( which is part of his carriage trailer) one night when we went to the lorry two doors down for supper he would have been fine if the party had been at his lorry I have solved that problem by using electricity .
He would love to go the ridden dressage and I have a young one to out soon and he would love the day out but it's expensive to pay for some one all day to do two prelims for fun.
My horse was older when he came to us and was an only horse he's a complete sod .
I would if possible load her for feeding every day at home .
It's a very difficult one because if she goes over the bar the consequences could be awful .
I have resisted the hobbles with mine but I am sick now that's my next move.
What does she do if you take her straight out lead her round for a few minutes then put her back in .
I would travel every day I could now and work away from home if she where mine .
 

Stushie

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Brightbay - I agree 100% - as I don't jump on to mount and she was terrible to and to stand at the block - 1 week of training and learning and I used a halter and she is now perfect.

And I think your right - she has never been trained to stand in a box. All the work I do now is at home - short spells of standing in trailer and take her out as an almost relaxed horse which is working but she is still very raging when in it - no signs yet of her accepting it but I will keep going.

My worry is even when she isn't barging about - - she still kicks the back of the trailer and I really don't know how to stop that as even when I think he looks a bit settled - she still kicks and its certainly not a gentle kick if you know what I mean.

Thanks for your reply - its really helpful.
 

Goldenstar

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You know I was just thinking is the worse comes to the worse a companion pony might solve this for you .
I would not go down this route apart from as a last resort but it's there is all else fails .
But as you say it's an expensive horse if it's a choice between no competing and giving an old sensible pony a home it might be worth it.

I would not assume a lorry is the answer but if you do make sure it has no tack lockers mine does its scary.
 

Stushie

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I'm feeding her in the trailer but she won't eat it or her hay but I will keep doing it.

When I take her out the trailer, I move the partition right over and she stands in position, I untie lead rope and she quietly turns to come out and more often than not, she stops at the top of ramp as she normally spots something of interest in the distance lol,and believe it or not, i have to lead her out of the box (which is obviously a good thing!). She doesn't push to get out or run off the ramp - quite the opposite which is why I'm not convinced of the fear of the trailer but more maybe being shut in? Partition is over practically to the other side so she has loads of space.

If I take her out and turn her around - she walks straight back in, gets in position (now anyway as had to do some work on that a she was always trying to turn round) and I tie her up, put partition over then about 30 seconds she had kicked and bitten something - I don't let it escalate but if I did, I have no doubt she would attempt to go up again hence why I'm not leaving her.

Re lorry - that's exactly what I'm thinking as I'm going to have this horse for life and even if we get better - I'm not sure i will ever be fully trust leaving her in my Equi trek because of the breast bar / tack locker in front which is a shame as my now retired horse loved being in his trailer - in fact he associated it with going home so couldn't get in quick enough and ate his hay all day - bless him.
 

Stushie

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Goldonstar - I have thought about a companion but reluctant to do so as on - I don't have one as my retired horse is now chilling out at grass enjoying his quiet life and I don't have anything else. I could perhaps 'borrow' a pony but as you say - last resort and I'm not keen to to go down that route - having one to deal with when your on your own is bad enough!
 

3Beasties

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Have you tried giving her an instant calmer before you take her anywhere? It might just take the edge of her!

Is she any better once she has been worked and then put back on the trailer?
 

Stushie

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I have tried the calmer - I used it the next time I put her in father the rearing incident and she was better but still kicking and biting but I felt she looked calmer but the next time, same calmer and same training scenario and she was back trying to rear so think we just had a good day a she had been out all day and the sun was shining!

I havnt seen a difference in her after work - the only massive difference with this horse is if I put her in my friends trailer with hers - That would solve all mine ad her problems if we travelled together but it's just not an option but when we are at the same place I take the opportunity to put her in with her friend as she then can stand and hopefully take some good learning from her older pal! If my friend isn't there with hers then I need to go straight home because of it!
 

Jools2345

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what is she like in your friends trailer without another horse? i appreciate it may not be something you have tried as you dont want her to damage your friends trailer
 

3Beasties

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what is she like in your friends trailer without another horse? i appreciate it may not be something you have tried as you dont want her to damage your friends trailer
Good thinking! It may be that your trailer is the problem....
 

CBFan

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It could well be the trailer that she doesn't like... My boy HATED my friend's rear facing trailer - spent the entire journey banging and crashing around. Travels like a pro in my Ifor... May be worth trying her in your friend's on her own (offering to pay for any damage caused)

Could your older horse not go with her on her road trips? Surely he'd quite enjoy a change of scenery every now and then? He'd be a good influence on her too by the sounds of it...
 

Dry Rot

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How much work have you done to train her to stand in the trailer?

When people buy "made" horses, they make an assumption that someone has spent the time to train the horse to do all the things necessary (or else they assume that somehow horses "know" without training). So at some point, someone trained your horse to have tack on them, to walk, trot and canter on a lunge, to carry a rider, to respond to aids when ridden, to be led.

Sounds like they may not have trained her to stand to be mounted (often omitted as many trainers use young fit riders who are boosted into the saddle with the horse still walking) and they have always have transported her in company.

So you have a horse with holes in their training - that means it's your job to fix those holes using a training process. Unfortunately, the first thing you trained your horse was that when she became frightened of being alone in the trailer, you release her when she leaps around. You'll need to do a bit of extra training to overcome the lesson she learned that day. You need to make the trailer a pleasant and relaxing place by working on it when not in a stressful or exciting situation, and by doing it in small increments. If I were you, I'd do the same with standing in the stable :)

Work on her training now, and you will have an easy to manage horse in the future, who understands how she should behave in different situations. Leave it, and you have a confused and frightened horse who doesn't like being alone in an enclosed space. Horses aren't petulant - if they act frightened, they are frightened, even if you think they're in a situation where you think it's silly for them to behave that way. If they act frightened and you then remove them from the frightening situation, you just reinforced their behaviour in exactly the same way that applying legs until the horse moves, then releasing the pressure reinforces that moving forward relieves the horse of the pressure of your legs. The way to deal with the situation is to remove the horse before they become scared and while they're calm and relaxed - that way they learn that being calm and relaxed is what gets them out of the situation. Over time, they then learn that the situation is in fact nothing to be worried about.
We need a "Like" button on HHO!

The above is one of the best posts I have read on this forum.

I'd start loading this horse with a companion. Then remove the companion for a few minutes. Then put him back on. Keep on doing this for longer and longer periods, occasionally changing the routine, so the horse that won't settle realises that it's isolation is only temporary. But the above post says it all really.

Understand the nuts and bolts of what is going on inside their heads and you can then go about finding a solution -- otherwise you are fumbling around in the dark trying random remedies which probably won't work, or could even make things worse.

Most of the methods to get a horse loaded involve more or less unpleasantness for the horse (ropes, special head collars, etc) so small wonder the horse associates loading with something it doesn't want to do!
 

Stushie

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It's a good question and I have done it as she has an Ifor Williams and I can put back ramp down so she can't at least kick the back!

I would say the once that we did it she was much better after a while but I think I was much better as well as no tack locker and breast bars are higher than in mine!

She tried to rear as I saw her go down on her haunches but the breach bar stopped her doing it as it looked like she basically got her backside under the bar and when she came up she's realised she can't do it! In fact there was a bar shaped mark on her arse when i took her out lol So more time I felt was spent being calm than in mine - only issue was she took to cow kicking instead of out the back cos she soon worked out there was nothing there to kick!! Very naughty!! But I'm going to use the ifor this Sunday as a trial and take her out and stand in it and bring back. If I thought that would help then I would hire an ifor for a few months (assuming she stops kicking) as I will try anything to help her relax!
 

CBFan

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It's a good question and I have done it as she has an Ifor Williams and I can put back ramp down so she can't at least kick the back!

I would say the once that we did it she was much better after a while but I think I was much better as well as no tack locker and breast bars are higher than in mine!

She tried to rear as I saw her go down on her haunches but the breach bar stopped her doing it as it looked like she basically got her backside under the bar and when she came up she's realised she can't do it! In fact there was a bar shaped mark on her arse when i took her out lol So more time I felt was spent being calm than in mine - only issue was she took to cow kicking instead of out the back cos she soon worked out there was nothing there to kick!! Very naughty!! But I'm going to use the ifor this Sunday as a trial and take her out and stand in it and bring back. If I thought that would help then I would hire an ifor for a few months (assuming she stops kicking) as I will try anything to help her relax!
Well that's something at least!... She does sound like she's having a propper paddy but it could be a separation thing. Worth trying her with a companion I think?...at least until she is more practiced at going out and coming back etc.

As already said, it's hard when you haven't had the horse from birth as you don't know how it has ben trained. My boy has ALWAYS travelled alone. I believe he would travel fine with company but I can't be sure. I think part of the problem with my friend's trailer was that it was rear facing, the other problem was that it didn't feel as robust (floor flexed under his weight - new trailer!!) which unnerved him... It is just a case of working out what their issues are... NB I never take the ramps down until I am ready to unload as I feel this is just inviting trouble....
 

Gryfiss

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Just wondering if there was a update on this thread I have a similar problem so was wondering if u had any luck solving the problem ! X
 
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