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How to Load Your Horse into a Trailer

trailer loadingOne common difficulty most horse owners face is getting a horse to walk in and out of his trailer. A good horse trainer can teach your horse to effectively enter and exit the trailer safely and calmly in response to a verbal “cue.”

Many horses have a bad initial experience with trailers, and that feeds the horse’s nervousness in subsequent attempts to load and unload the horse. A trainer will work on the horse’s trust issues and focus his attention on obedience to the verbal cue, rather than allowing the horse to focus his attention on the trailer itself.

Another reason that a horse may have problems loading and unloading from a trailer is because the trailer feels rickety to the horse, and he is afraid it may collapse if he walks into it. Test the trailer yourself and see if poor workmanship or deterioration of the trailer is contributing to your horse’s fears. Your horse may have a legitimate reason to be afraid of his trailer.

Of course, a horse that refuses to enter or exit a trailer could just simply be a disobedient horse. A good trainer can work on the horse’s obedience skills and teach him to be more compliant with his owner’s commands.

One such method used in horse training is to first drill the horse to obey the verbal cue without using a trailer. The trainer puts a piece of plywood on the ground and teaches the horse to step forward and backwards over the plywood, in response to the verbal cue. Once the horse has been thoroughly trained to recognize and obey the verbal cue with the plywood, then the trainer can move on to introducing the trailer into the scenario.

More than anything, training a horse to step into his trailer requires getting the horse to trust you. You can only to do this remaining consistent with your behavior towards the horse. Reward the horse each time he complies with your commands. Make the horse feel confident in your authority.

Never be hesitant to calm a frightened horse by stroking him or by offering some soft words of encouragement.