Loading ‘Problem’ horses is not only frustrating and time consuming, but also costly if you can’t attend entered events. But is it the horse that is the problem? There are a number of reasons a horse won’t load, here are a few pointers to try and help you gain your horses confidence to enter the Horse Trailer.
Make it Inviting
Horses don’t like to feel enclosed, open up the front ramp so the horse can see through the trailer.
Make sure you choose a trailer with plenty of windows, to allow natural light in and for the horse to be able to see what’s surrounding them. If you have a trailer with limited light, maybe try them in a different trailer to see if that helps. Some horses don’t like stepping up onto a ramp and would prefer to step up into a horse trailer. If your trailer has a combination ramp/door, then it’s definitely worth trying to see if that’s the case with your horse. If you have another horse which is a good loader, load them first to give your horse the confidence that it is ok to enter the trailer.
Do your Groundwork and make sure your horse is listening to you. You can practice leading them in hand and making sure they obey simple walk, reverse and stand commands. When they respond accordingly, release the pressure on the headcollar and this will help them understand what you are requesting.
For more advanced groundwork help, consult a Horsemanship consultant to help with basic groundwork and ultimately the loading issues.
Practice and Reward
Take time to practice loading when you’re not travelling anywhere. Walk the horse through the trailer a few times, then walk them in with the breast bar up. Once in, give them their feed in the trailer and make sure they feel that a horse trailer is a nice place to be! The more often you can do this, the more familiar they will feel with the experience of loading.
Is it the Trailer causing a problem?
With the majority of trailers being forward facing, some horses do prefer travelling in a Horsebox due to the Herringbone position. By using telescopic partitions, it also allows for the horses to have more or less room as required. Maxi Trailers carry from 2-4 horses and offer the same travelling position and customised stall width as a horsebox, without the need for a separate vehicle or a Lorry license.
Is the Horse trailer causing an issue with the aforementioned lack of light or is it a bumpy ride? Cheval Liberté Horse Trailers not only have multiple windows, they also have the signature Pullman2 suspension. This provides a much smoother ride compared to other manufactured horse trailers, as shown in this video;
Assess Your Driving
You should make the journey as smooth as possible to keep your horse relaxed whilst travelling. Imagine having a glass of water in the cup holder. You need to drive to ensure it doesn’t spill by not taking bends too fast or breaking too sharply.
Another tip is to keep your wheels turning by reading the road ahead. When approaching traffic lights which are changing back to red, slow right down and roll up to the lights. Chances are, by the time you get there they will be changing to green again and you wont be stopping and pulling off abruptly. This is not only good for your equine passenger, but also for fuel consumption!