Horse Training: Loading a Horse into a Trailer

ArticleHow to - horse trainingTuesday 16 March 2010
Loading a Horse into a Trailer
Training a horse is not always easy, but it is achievable if you persevere and keep positive. This article will give you a few ideas on how to train a horse to load into a trailer. 

Training a Horse: How to Train a Horse to Load into a Trailer

Make sure that your horse will walk forward on your command; if your horse will not do this then you will find him difficult to load. 
Before you start make sure that you attach your trailer correctly and make it clean and inviting for your horse. 
It is a sensible idea to try to load your horse into an enclosed pen in case the horse breaks free. 
Once you are ready to try and load your horse into the trailer give them a moment to stand next to it and smell the trailer. 
Once your horse seems confident with the trailer and is standing still and comfortably you can ask your horse to move forward. 
DO NOT pull or go into the trailer with your horse. 
If your horse does not move forwards into the trailer then there are some ways you can encourage him. Make sure though that you do not praise him for not moving forward. 
You need to be firm when reassuring your horse. You must be careful that you don’t lapse into ‘baby talk’ as this sounds like a reward. 
Try using a lunge whip to lightly tap the back of the horse’s legs to urge him to move forward. 
DO NOT scare or spook your horse with any unknown objects when trying to get him inside the trailer as this will only intensify the problem. To train a horse to load into a trailer you must use what you can to make the horse feel comfortable and secure. 
If your horse still doesn’t move forward after positive encouragement then hook your lunge line onto the end of the halter, then run the line through the tie ring in the trailer. By doing this you will gain the ability to move your horse forward safely while keeping their head straight. 
Make sure you release the tension in the lunge line if your horse moves backwards to avoid injury. 
Once your horse has started to move forward, even if it is just a couple of steps, stop the horse and reassure them; positive reassurance is an important part of horse training. 
Ask your horse to move forward again. 
If your horse decides to back out do not worry but make sure that you encourage him to move forwards again immediately. 
Continue and persevere with this technique until your horse is inside the trailer and standing comfortably and calmly. 
Once your horse is standing quietly then you can shut the divider or back door. 
Once the doors or dividers are closed you can tie the horse with a breakaway snap trailer tie or tie the lead rope to the trailer. Then you can reward your horse. 
Unloading your horse is done in the same way and should also be executed calmly to avoid injury. It is important when training a horse that you teach them to load into straight and slant trailers. 
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