Trailer loading. I’m about to rip my hair out.
Eeyore loaded ok enough when I got him but then decided it was optional and became a royal pain about it. He wasn’t scared. He would walk right up to the ramp then cock a hind leg and stare at me with a definite “make me” look on his face.
That’s when I put him into boot camp. I left the trailer hooked up for a week and every single night I’d load and unload him until he began walking right on and standing still to get the butt bar up and then remaining still until I told him he could back off.
Or so I thought.
Currently, he loads at home no issue. I walk him towards the ramp, tell him “walk on!”, throw the lead over his back and he marches right up and in without hesitation. It’s great.
My issue is on the other end. We go and ride, be that a lesson or on the trail like this week, and then I try to load him up to come home. He marches to the end of the ramp, cocks a hoof and rests with a distinct “make me” look on his face.
So then I have to open the front window, grab my dressage whip, thread the lunge out the window, attach the other out the open trailer back and to his halter.
Then I look at him, make the lunge line taut, give him the tiniest little breath of the whip on his butt and say “walk on!”
He sighs and marches right on no hesitation, waits for the butt bar to come up and then eats his hay. No issue. Not tense. Not scared.
It’s frustrating because I can’t work on this every day for a week straight. I can’t trailer him to some random place every night just to unload and load again. I don’t want to be that person who looks like a moron who didn’t train their horse to get on a trailer either.
I don’t know what to do. I thought it was maybe my driving. Maybe I’m so bad he doesn’t want to get back on at the end of it but I’ve really paid attention to it, read up on some facts (like never accelerate until the trailer is perfectly straight behind the truck after a corner or turn), and even did a test: put a coin on the center console and make sure it doesn’t slide in any direction during the drive. It didn’t. I’m not perfect but I do pay very close attention to going slow around corners, stopping slowly and in advance of any light and turns, and avoiding pot holes and bumps when able.
If it is my driving, I’m not sure who’s he would approve of.
Any advice? I know he won’t leave me stranded because as soon as I get my rig all situated he immediately caved and walks on. He isn’t stressed during travel either as he always unloads dry and calm. Other than more time I’m not sure what else to do here.