Last year my one horse, Gambler, went from okay at trailer loading to "WTF is that thing - I ain't getting in that box - screw you!" The very last time we loaded it was with a blind fold just so I could get the bugger home. I'm not overly proud of that moment, but it got him in the trailer. Sad thing is, I have no idea what flipped the switch. No traumatic incidents, no undue stress or injuries with loading, just stopped getting in. *shrug* That will remain one of life's little mysteries.
Unfortunately, after that last incident, it got cold, the trailer was put up for the winter and I never got back around to working with him on the issue. Bad pony owner, boo! >:( Now it's spring and I avoided dealing with it... until yesterday. Oh boy did I set myself up for some frustration!
Now Gambler's one of those horses that just doesn't do force. Sure, you could try using brute force but you're only going to end up tired, pissed off and have an utterly fried horse without being one step closer to your goal. Someone in his past did something to his little horsey brain so it equates any sort of forceful correction with "Run away! Run away!" I'd like to find that person.
So, with the trailer backed just inside the overhead door to my indoor 'arena' (30' x 30' hard-pack dirt) I prepared myself for a battle... of patience, hunger and irrational fear. See, he's not getting grain unless he gets in that trailer. So, eventually, he's gonna get hungry enough to get over himself and get in; it's just a matter of how long 'eventually' is and whether my patience can last until then.
Yesterday sucked. 7pm to 10:30pm and he ended up going to bed hungry (still got hay) and I went to bed frustrated. I now have a greater appreciation for my other horse, Freedom, who walked right on the trailer and who I can just smack on the rump when he's being and ass. Horse 1 Human 0.
Today sucked less. 5:00pm - 7:30pm. 2 1/2 hrs of pressure & release to get him on the damn trailer but in the end he loaded and stood quietly. Seriously, once he was on it was like, "Okay, now what? Oh look, GRAIN!" Horse 1 Human 1.