Loading issues

Joined
25 April 2016
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163
Hi,

I'll try to keep it short and just say that we have tried all the tricks in the book so im hoping someone has some other ideas!

We have a horse that will load himself 10 times a day, every day all the time he is calm and quiet. the problem is that he wont load very well after hunting/competing/going out to a school or clinic. He will load perfectly on the way there but not the way back. You can tell that when he is high as a kite (for example just finished hunting!) that he just cant get into a good head space to be respectful and go on the lorry when asked. He will go sideways, backwards, kick out (resulted in me in a&e a few weeks ago...) and any which way apart from up the ramp. Once he does finally get on (after a bit of a fight which I dont want to have with him) , he will have a wee and stand there eating haylage as quiet as a lamb with a leg rested... You would never know hes on there either, he travels quietly and happily munches his grub on both outward and return journeys.

We have tried giving him time to chill out when back at the lorry, eat some haylage, offer a drink and have a hand walk round to relax and this does help but not enough. He is getting worse and not better and is not consistent. Last week he was an utter horror, the week before I had him on in 10 mins just asking with the quietly quietly approach. Any ideas?

As above, we have tried all the usual tricks and it makes no difference if he is in a bridle, rope halter, dually or his normal headcollar!! I do the nicey nicey approach, and i am normally very good at getting them to load but he throws his weight around (17.1 HW hunter!) and will run through you. Its like he just cant come down of his cloud and totally loses any manners or respect for you. Normally he is very good on the ground.

Thanks!
 

splashgirl45

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never used them myself but how about giving him a shot of calmer before loading, you can get them in a syringe like a wormer and you could just try a little to see if it takes the edge off....you would have to be careful not to overdo it as he would have to balance himself while travelling, someone on here may have more of an idea of how strong they are....or if they work...
 
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I swear by this:

https://www.justequine.co.uk/produc...es/stallion-ring-horse-controller-headcollar/

We have an elephant of a horse who knows how strong he is and throws his weight around and runs through you when you try to load him. This gives you complete control of them so you can keep them in front of the ramp and gives them no where else to go but on.

ETA: I think it does sound like if you could calm your horse down somehow you'd be ok loading but failing that I'd go with the above especially if yours is getting dangerous.
 

alainax

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Have you tried a different lorry or driver? Could be he is objecting to what happened on the first leg of the journey, hence only having an issue for the second leg.
 
Joined
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In response to the calmer I have thought about telling other half to carry some of the horse calming cookies and giving him one halfway through the day! In the hope that by loading time, he is a bit more chilled.

alainax - Good thinking BUT if I have my mare on board too he will go straight on. Which makes me think it is less about the journey and more about anxiety in his head. But you never know, its a good idea and one I will look into. I should have mentioned that he is at his worst when alone but unfortunately its tough luck! He has a serious lack of respect when in that mood.

Squeak - That looks interesting! Although he swings his ass out to the side so im not sure it would benefit the sideways issue but could with the running through me bit!
 

be positive

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If he is good with company I would try a mirror, it may be that he just needs to relax and "seeing" another horse would make all the difference, a calmer is unlikely to work unless he is needing the mineral replacement, which he could after a serious workout but I don't think it likely to work quickly considering their adrenaline will stop proper sedatives working.
It might be worth putting him on magnesium daily and use an electrolyte in the water given before loading in case he is lacking something after work.
 

JillA

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Have you thought that the main difference is your stress level? Especially as it becomes a constant stressor wondering whether he will load or not. Is there someone else who might try loading him for you? Otherwise I would recommend getting someone like Richard Maxwell - btw one of the things he says is when you have unloaded at a venue, immediately load again, and again, a few times. Worth trying.
 

Spottyappy

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I had one who was (and still can be with new owner) an utter bitch to load coming home. One day, tried everything, including someone riding her in. It all failed.
Took her to a Kelly Marks session, for students so it was free to us.
What came out of it was to corral her, so bAck lorry into a corner and block off any sides that were exposed(we used windbreaks) so the only way was up.
This was mostly very successful, but occassinally when we couldn’t find anywhere to back into, she was back to being a right bag.
Then, a blind fold has worked successfully.
 

The Xmas Furry

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I feel your pain OP.
18 months ago, it took me 2.5 hrs to get my (new then, to me) fuzzy back on the box to come home.
Last weekend saw her marching confidently up the ramp to come home.
I have spent hours working on her. I even now, unload on arrival somewhere and reload a few times.
After anything adrenaline filled in the first months, I untacked, got myself sorted whilst she was on the end of the rope and we went and had a walk, have a ciggy, walk more and more till we were both bored to bits, and once she was calm and quiet, she was then loaded - usually without an issue.
I HAD to crack it on my own as I go everywhere on my own! I will say that Tarrsteps came over to work with her at the start, once rules had been put in place then the rest followed most of the time.
I've also transported across Europe, so consider myself pretty experienced, but still needed a sensible friend to confirm and help ;)
Good luck, hope you find a way to work.
 

madlady

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I'd say sod it.

Chill, sit on the ramp holding the horse that doesn't want to go home on a long rope, let him chill, munch a haynet, grass, whatever, while you have a brew and a sarnie (or a glass of wine :) ) and don't even think about loading until you are calm.

Then see if he wants to have a go, if not, sit back down for a few, rinse and repeat. Don't set out with any time limit, say to yourself that you'll sit and relax for hours if needs be. Hopefully you being calm will feed to him and he will calm quickly. I do think they pick up on adrenaline and also the swines know if we are in a rush and will then proceed to act like a plank! Worth a try?

One of mine is a crap loader, and the more we try to rush the worse he gets, and he's a big strong lad! In summer we needed to bring him in for the weekend but we went with the opinion that yes no worries we have all the time in the world - he loaded in 15 mins which is a world record for him!

ETA since then we've needed to load him a few times - 20 mins has been the maximum and once he walked on first time.
 

Spottyappy

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Contrary to madlady say8ng let him eat, Kelly Marks said to not allow food, grass or hay anywhere but inside the lorry once loaded.
And we never did.
She explained it that the only nice “comfy” place was to be inside, once loaded.
 
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Richard Maxwell. Problem solved. No exaggeration the guy is a genius, read my threads about my nightmare loader (3years and I'd never fully loaded him) 20 minutes and Max had him fully loaded. I NEVER thought it would have been possible
 
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totally agree. you have answered your own problem. until your horse is calm and has come down off his high there is no way he can load. you need to learn how to get him to lower his energy levels and calm. I have learnt that through years of experience with my boy. I do use calmers - quite often for me so that I am calm before I start because if I am not calm I know full well he won't be. they always take there lead from us. I even do exaggerated deep breathing to get both his and my heart rate down. I know there are people who will think I am stupid but it does work. good luck.
I'd say sod it.

Chill, sit on the ramp holding the horse that doesn't want to go home on a long rope, let him chill, munch a haynet, grass, whatever, while you have a brew and a sarnie (or a glass of wine :) ) and don't even think about loading until you are calm.

Then see if he wants to have a go, if not, sit back down for a few, rinse and repeat. Don't set out with any time limit, say to yourself that you'll sit and relax for hours if needs be. Hopefully you being calm will feed to him and he will calm quickly. I do think they pick up on adrenaline and also the swines know if we are in a rush and will then proceed to act like a plank! Worth a try?

One of mine is a crap loader, and the more we try to rush the worse he gets, and he's a big strong lad! In summer we needed to bring him in for the weekend but we went with the opinion that yes no worries we have all the time in the world - he loaded in 15 mins which is a world record for him!

ETA since then we've needed to load him a few times - 20 mins has been the maximum and once he walked on first time.
 

rabatsa

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Another reason for reluctance loading coming home may be something hurts. If the horse has just been ridden for several hours and exerting itself then an ache which is not around at home becomes evident and travelling with all its little muscle corrections suddenly becomes a painful issue.
 

JillA

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Another reason for reluctance loading coming home may be something hurts. If the horse has just been ridden for several hours and exerting itself then an ache which is not around at home becomes evident and travelling with all its little muscle corrections suddenly becomes a painful issue.
Good point
 

turnbuckle

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If he's revved and wants to stay at the party, I suspect it would need a big slug of calmer to make a difference. Sounds a bit psycho-babble, but could you think of a "chill routine"?

Saddle off, nice cooler on, a little song, a massage?

You never know...!
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone, much appreciated. I feel better knowing i'm not alone!

In regards to having someone like Richard Maxwell out, it has crossed my mind BUT...I can literally stand at the bottom of the ramp and fling the leadrope over his neck, and he will walk up on his own at home so its out of home we have the problem. Having said that, I will email him and see if he thinks he could help us. I wonder if him or someone similar could come out to a meet at the end of the day and help me there...hmm
In response to when was trailer checked, its a 7.5 tonne lorry,very very big inside and is checked reguarly as I am paranoid about floors etc! Also recently had ramp refurbed as was getting slippy and my mare stopped wanting to go in, so ramp is great now.
Pain has crossed my mind, but I have spoken to my vet about this and she knows him very well and isnt convinced it has anything to do with that. The other thing that makes me think it isnt is that if my mare is on there then he will walk up no hesitation.
A mirror is a genius idea and an easy one to try!
I think the ideas about working out how to calm him down is where i need to start, he is just utterly horrid when in 'that' headspace.
Giving him a magnesium calmer everyday isnt really an option sadly as if he was any more laid back at home he would be going backwards, hes pretty lazy as it is! Electrolytes is a good idea! He wont eat any that I have tried so far though which are, Horse First, Equine America Applelytes and ones that tasted of cherry...anyone have any ideas of some more palatable ones? Or maybe a syringe version?
We do back the lorry up (where we can) so that at least one side is covered but it isnt always possible.

I will add that the last few weeks we have been just getting back to lorry, sponge off, tack off, rug on, i have a ciggy while OH gets changed and i walk him round for 10 minutes. Really thinking about it, it has helped as although he is still taking a while to get on, he is less angry about it. And i havent been kicked again so that has to be a good thing...
 

LaurenBay

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How soon after riding do you load? just wondering if he gets a chance to calm himself before going on. Can you tie to the lorry and give a very small haynet and give him a brush. Pack all your things, hopefully by then he has calmed down slightly and some of the other boxes would have gone.
 
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How soon after riding do you load? just wondering if he gets a chance to calm himself before going on. Can you tie to the lorry and give a very small haynet and give him a brush. Pack all your things, hopefully by then he has calmed down slightly and some of the other boxes would have gone.

Hi,
As above, this is something we are trialing. Normally about 20 mins. :)
 

The Xmas Furry

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Buzzing about.....
I will add that the last few weeks we have been just getting back to lorry, sponge off, tack off, rug on, i have a ciggy while OH gets changed and i walk him round for 10 minutes. Really thinking about it, it has helped as although he is still taking a while to get on, he is less angry about it. And i havent been kicked again so that has to be a good thing...
Thats your answer then ^ Just allow more time & keep repeating the chill down routine x
 
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