Loading problems...Could clicker training help?

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
6,351
3,429
113
55
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
Hi everyone,i have a mare that will load but it takes time.She will go in a trailer but immeadiately shoots out or gets half way in and shoots back out and during travelling she sweats up a little which to me shows she not happy....I would like to help her become more accustommed to the whole process. When we moved her recently it took over 2 hours to load her.
I want to spend some time getting her used to loading, and happier in the trailer in general and thought clicker training might help.I have a clicker just wondering if someone could reccomend a suitable book or DVD please.

Or any other ideas i could try.

ETA.. where do i begin with clicker training?
 
Last edited:

stripey

New Member
May 23, 2009
30
0
0
lost on the Fens
The best book is Ben Hart's art and science of clicker training for horses. It is really important to have a good understanding of how clicker works before starting with it. Boring I know having to do the reading first, but it really is worth it. I would also recommend his e-book shaping plans from www.hartshorsemanship.com to go with it. That shows you how to break down everything into chunks to make it easier for the horse, I think he uses loading as an example in there.

You can start clicker by getting your horse to touch a target, and targeting can be useful to help with loading issues as well.

Best of luck with it :D
 

vikkig

New Member
Jul 26, 2007
2,869
0
0
how is she on the ground with you? can you lead her to scary objects and will she trust you?

rebel didnt box well but in general she didnt like any of us as we were new to her and she came from a background where she wouldnt trust people, it has taking a while however she will trust us on the ground with anything and everything and will now walk onto a box with no complaint, it worked for us, i have done the same with her daughter and she is happy to follow me on a box, however is not that great at getting off lol

good luck
 

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
6,351
3,429
113
55
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
The best book is Ben Hart's art and science of clicker training for horses. It is really important to have a good understanding of how clicker works before starting with it. Boring I know having to do the reading first, but it really is worth it. I would also recommend his e-book shaping plans from www.hartshorsemanship.com to go with it. That shows you how to break down everything into chunks to make it easier for the horse, I think he uses loading as an example in there.

You can start clicker by getting your horse to touch a target, and targeting can be useful to help with loading issues as well.

Best of luck with it :D

I will look into the recommendation so thank you.

I understand i will need to thouroughly read up on the subject before i start with this as its something i have not used before.But pleased to know it can help with loading issues.
 

wonkeywoody

New Member
Jul 12, 2007
2,072
0
0
www.iceryder.net/7games

is as good a place to start. May seem irrelevant to loading, but its all about your relationship, so build that trust and respect thro the 7 games. Then start working with obstacles. eg walk and reverse your horse over a board (ramp!) walk thro, reverse thro and stand in a narrow gap like a parallel jump with rugs hanging on the poles (similar to area horse stands in in a trailer) walk under a hanging tarp (see if horse has issues with something over her head - roof of trailer)
Once you can play the 7 games with obstacles and she is happy with everything you have asked then there is no reason why she shouldn't self load and be confident to stand in there on her own, not tied up wheile you close the box or ask her to unload......
 

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
6,351
3,429
113
55
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
how is she on the ground with you? can you lead her to scary objects and will she trust you?

rebel didnt box well but in general she didnt like any of us as we were new to her and she came from a background where she wouldnt trust people, it has taking a while however she will trust us on the ground with anything and everything and will now walk onto a box with no complaint, it worked for us, i have done the same with her daughter and she is happy to follow me on a box, however is not that great at getting off lol

good luck

Firstly she is a Dominant mare but one with very good manners in most respects I have owned her about 2 months now and she is very good on the ground and shows a basic level of trust considering its a new partnership and new enviroment.

We have had a few issues with her planting and not wanting to leave her field but we have resolved them with a pressure head collar and now apart from the odd moody mare moment she is fine to handle even my 13 yr old daughter can catch her and lead her.

I think the loading problems coud be due to previous experiences in her former life,I know when we went to pick her up from the dealers yard she was hit with a plastic pipe to get her to load ( something i didn't approve of) but as she is with us for the long term its something i would like to address with her and make her more comfortable with the whole issue of loading and travelling.

I have never experienced this before my previous ponies were all taught to load at a young age and were confident travellers as we did a fair bit of showing in the past.

Being from a dealers and being fairly new to us we have no knowledge of her previous life but willing to try help her be more confident loading and travelling it could be just a case of time building the partnership.
 

wonkeywoody

New Member
Jul 12, 2007
2,072
0
0
She will go in a trailer but immeadiately shoots out or gets half way in and shoots back out

That would lead me to think she is unconfident about the narrownest of the space in which she has to stand and /or the confinement of the trailer itself. Dont forget a horse in the wild would never walk into a dark small cave on wheels - might contain a lion!
Practise with the narrow gap (parallel jump and low tarp) and get her trusting and confident.
 

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
6,351
3,429
113
55
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
www.iceryder.net/7games

is as good a place to start. May seem irrelevant to loading, but its all about your relationship, so build that trust and respect thro the 7 games. Then start working with obstacles. eg walk and reverse your horse over a board (ramp!) walk thro, reverse thro and stand in a narrow gap like a parallel jump with rugs hanging on the poles (similar to area horse stands in in a trailer) walk under a hanging tarp (see if horse has issues with something over her head - roof of trailer)
Once you can play the 7 games with obstacles and she is happy with everything you have asked then there is no reason why she shouldn't self load and be confident to stand in there on her own, not tied up wheile you close the box or ask her to unload......

So a parrelli type approach of natural horsemanship might help too.Again i have no experience of this either so it is something else to look into.
and thank you for your replies.
 

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
6,351
3,429
113
55
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
That would lead me to think she is unconfident about the narrownest of the space in which she has to stand and /or the confinement of the trailer itself. Dont forget a horse in the wild would never walk into a dark small cave on wheels - might contain a lion!
Practise with the narrow gap (parallel jump and low tarp) and get her trusting and confident.

To do the seven games would i need to invest in equipment if so can anyone suggest where i could get this stuff please like head collars and long ropes or alternatives.I only have traditional equipment like lunge line etc.
 

wonkeywoody

New Member
Jul 12, 2007
2,072
0
0
Search ebay for rope halters - there are plenty of places doing them now.

As for the rope, do you have a local marine store? If not then again search marine braid on ebay. The stores on ebay will attach a clip (or carabina) too if you ask em nicely!!
 

myhorselovesmud

New Member
Jan 28, 2009
29
0
0
Hey,

I just bought a trailer and moved to a new yard today. I was worried that my horse wouldn't load as he's not been in a trailer for a while so yesterday I spent some time walking him through it giving him treats when he firstly put his feet on the ramp, then once he was in then once he'd unloaded. I did it about 4 times until he was keen to go in because he knew there would be treats if he did.

I then loaded him and gave him his dinner inside it then walked him out and put him in the field. Result was that today when I loaded him to move to the new yard, he walked straight in with no hassle. He still got lots of treats when he was in and once he'd been unloaded. He wasn't sweaty but then I had all the windows possible open and only had to take him 15 mins up the road.

Maybe you could try feeding your horse in her trailer?

I also found this on youtube when looking for advice on loading during the week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGsOV_eOYXk
I've seen Monty Roberts before and really like his work.

Here are some pics of my boy happily muching in his trailer:
picture.php

picture.php

picture.php

picture.php
 
Last edited:

stripey

New Member
May 23, 2009
30
0
0
lost on the Fens
Just a word of caution, if you are going to use clicker please, please, don't combine it with the use of pressure/rope halters. I know from my experience that I caused my horse conflict when I combined the use of positive and negative reinforcement, that was a very bitter pill for me to have to swallow. It took us a while to work all that out and I now only use clicker.
 

winterwood

New Member
Nov 10, 2008
142
0
0
Lincolnshire
www.equineempathy.co.uk
Hi some good advice given.

Gaining control of your horses feet can be really useful. She may lead well, but does she stop when you stop, without overtaking or bumping you. Does she back up willingly when asked, can you lead her forwards and reverse her through an L shape made from jump poles on the ground. These exercises get her to understand that you can control her feet and move her about, which will lead to her starting to look on you as an effective leader in whom she can have trust and confidence.

I would also initially take the partition out of the box and get her comfortable in it like this before building up to having the partition in. If you plan to travel her alone, then there is no need for the partiton. Simply get a full width breast (and rear bar if needed) and travel her without the partition.
 

Morgan123

Member
May 19, 2009
33
0
6
if any element of nervousness you should DEFINITELY use clicker training over parelli or something. the thing is you can achieve the same end whatever you use (parelli, MR methods, clicker, normal BHS) but clicker training is actually scientific - you are actually changing the way her neurons work and building positive associations phsyiologically in her brain. Parelli etc may make her go up and she may in the end seem realxed whens he does it, but it's based on some pretty sketchy observations of not-completely-wild horses and co-ercion (OMG so sorry i know that might annoy poeple and i ill be hounded off here but it really is true...).

If you look into the science of behaviour and the brain adn learning there is really only one conclusion to draw, and that's that building positive associations are the absolute best way to get an animal to do what you want. I know that SOME horses can built up some sort of positive idea wiht parelli etc but it's not nearly as well-founded or anything.

good luck wiht her, though, i'd love to know how you get on! I agree those books mentioned are excellent, and if you get into trouble i know a brilliant behaviourist!
 

wonkeywoody

New Member
Jul 12, 2007
2,072
0
0
Parelli etc may make her go up and she may in the end seem realxed whens he does it, but it's based on some pretty sketchy observations of not-completely-wild horses and co-ercion (OMG so sorry i know that might annoy poeple and i ill be hounded off here but it really is true...).

Please at least get your facts right before posting such rubbish.
 

Morgan123

Member
May 19, 2009
33
0
6
In rpely to wonkywoody - i'm sorry you feel that way but could you explain? I'm doing a dissertation on different schools of NH. Reliable sources (which i guess i shouldn't name) tell me that both Parelli and MR are based on studies of feral (not wild) mustangs, who are in various stressful situations (e.g. being rounded up, an abnormally high ratio of horses vs space etc). I'd be really interested to hear if you have other information.

There are some interesting misconceptions which have arisen from the data on these feral mustangs in comparison with actual wild equid studies. For exmaple join up is based on the response to being chased of showing some behaviours (e.g. locked ears) etc (as i'm sure you know) followed by turning in to the person in the ring. MR says this is based on what the wild horses do. In TRULY wild horses the only example in ten years of research was a zebra showing this behaviour after being chased to its death by a lion - eventually it turned to face the lion wiht its head lowered. Truly wild horses did not chase out herd members and then allow them back into the herd when they showed submissive behaviour. if that's not behaviour horses actually show, then it's a pretty problematic place to build a whole school of horsemanship from.

similarly there just seem to me to be some fatal flaws in the Parelli games; e.g. my information has said that the 'move over' game (no 2, can't remember specific name sorry, is it the porcupine game?) is supposedly based on mares 'practising' moving their foals. again this was not seen.

Also, take game 1 with the 'touching' the horse all over with a hand and the carrot stick. My information says this builds up trust because you're basically acting like the mare would wiht a foal, licking it. However the problem is with the pressure halter - if the horse in quesiton is at liberty (as in positive reinforcement programmes) then that certainly would be a quesiton of building up trust. however as it's specifically a pressure halter, the whole point of which is to apply pressure to the particualrly sensitive parts of the head, the horse is therefore effectively punished for any movement - therefore it is not learning to trust its owner, but instead simply learning that it must stand still to avoid the punishment on its head, surely?

I'd be really interested to hear your responses on this (though perhaps we should start another thread as i didn't mean to hijack this one; i just thought it's useful to give a full overview to anyone as i think some of these schools of thought can seem a bit misleading sometimes). i hope the OP doesn't mind and is doing well wiht the loading!!
thanks!
 

Bobster

New Member
Aug 3, 2009
19
0
0
I'm full in support of Mogan123 - only she/he (?!) managed to say it much better than I could. Thanks for the clear post!
 

winterwood

New Member
Nov 10, 2008
142
0
0
Lincolnshire
www.equineempathy.co.uk
Some interesting points made by Morgan.

As far as Join Up is concerned I think things have moved on and progressed. Monty now talks about it being a two way communication exercise using body language, signs and signals, and being able to 'read' a horse.
It is just one part of how he works with horses, and many people cannot see beyond it. Due mainly I believe to him using it so often in Demonstrations. It is, I feel, a useful tool if done well and used wisely.

Over the past couple of years or so he has done many demo's where he has not done Join Up with every horse, but used halter work (especially with bad loaders).
 

Miriam

Moderator
Jun 24, 2000
10,188
0
0
Taught my mare to clicker train, getting her to touch a target. Then tired her with the trailer. She went on without a problem going to the target. Not sure what happened as she seemed to click what we were doing and refused to target into the trailer so be aware that it may work and then may stop
 

Morgan123

Member
May 19, 2009
33
0
6
yeh that's typical Miriam, it's because the context of clicker trianing is relaxing and the horse is actually focussing and using its mind. it sounds like your horse found the trailer a bit stressful, and stress impairs thinking. in that case you have to just go a bit slower.

for example, i taught my horse to ‘shake hands’ so that when I tack him up, he will just lift his feet and stretch them out on command after I do up the girth. I taught him the command in the field, and he loved it, did it a lot!! However when I put the saddle on (which he found stressful) the context for him was different and it took him a little while to transfer the knowledge across.

Horses are very contextual learners as we all know I’m sure!!
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
L Ex racer loading problems! Transport and Travelling 5
Bodshi Un-loading problems Cafe 4
*taz* Major loading problems!! (considering sedation) Transport and Travelling 11
cobbychic Loading problems now sorted! Transport and Travelling 3
SilverKismet Loading problems! Training of the Horse and Rider 8
wibble Loading Problems Training of the Horse and Rider 19
P Problems loading might try a horse whispher General 18
Maclynky Loading problems, advise required Training of the Horse and Rider 2
M loading problems Training of the Horse and Rider 13
Lucyad Loading problems Training of the Horse and Rider 11
chev Loading problems - any ideas? General 19
Kira657 Loading problems sorted Training of the Horse and Rider 8
aliw Loading Problems 2004 Archive of Posts 10
chunky monkey Loading didnt quite go to plan Cafe 81
mu0ljk Loading Help! Transport and Travelling 21
Jessey Unplanned loading practice Cafe 6
Jane&Ziggy Fun with loading practice Training of the Horse and Rider 14
HorseHelen Trouble loading solo Transport and Travelling 20
L Pony loading problem Transport and Travelling 2
HorseHelen Loading issues Transport and Travelling 5
HorseHelen Best loading tips ... Transport and Travelling 24
sjp1 Anyone Found Straw in Trailers Helps Loading? Transport and Travelling 4
Rentabugg Loading to go home Training of the Horse and Rider 5
KarinUS Loading Worries Transport and Travelling 4
Mary Poppins Loading!! Transport and Travelling 6
sjp1 Loading - GRR!!! Transport and Travelling 1
Vicki100 Buddy The Self Loading Pony... Transport and Travelling 19
sjp1 Loading the Monty Roberts Way.. Training of the Horse and Rider 2
juliecwuk Help with trailer loading! Transport and Travelling 21
W Loading in Style... Cafe 14
N Trailer Loading-How Horses Train Us! Training of the Horse and Rider 3
M Exhausted and deflated - abandoned loading Transport and Travelling 12
H Loading a nappy mare Transport and Travelling 0
Jane&Ziggy Your loading advice and suggestions please Training of the Horse and Rider 12
domane Helpful loading video.... Transport and Travelling 0
juliecwuk Anxious horse - trailer loading Training of the Horse and Rider 41
The Original Crazywoman Horse striking out when loading Transport and Travelling 9
LauraGeeGee Loading a horse using a cattle prod Video. Cafe 3
Dark Storm LOL! All that effort into getting Bailey loading, am I back to square one? Cafe 3
Dark Storm Bailey's loading again! :D!! Cafe 21
J NH Trailer loading free e-book Training of the Horse and Rider 2
Dark Storm Loading youngster on Box.. Transport and Travelling 6
Flipo's Mum Loading - Order of Events Transport and Travelling 22
Laura2184 Excercises to prepare for loading.. Transport and Travelling 6
S Practicing loading on a box Training of the Horse and Rider 3
M **Loading a stubborn horse in a horsebox** Transport and Travelling 16
katieB Tips for loading my youngster Training of the Horse and Rider 3
J loading seesaw Cafe 2
jordanross advice on loading up Transport and Travelling 38
M Loading people... (going to ask all my questions now before I have to pay!) Transport and Travelling 9

Similar threads

newrider.com