Tag Archives: horse transport

Safely Loading a Horse

If you have ever been around horses, you have probably seen some very interesting trailer loading scenes. You may have seen people try to bribe their horses with food or you may have seen the two person method where one person pulls on the lead rope while the other person pushes on the rear of the horse. You may also have seen the three person method where two people use a rope at the rear of the horse as a sling while the person inside the trailer tries to pull them in. None of these methods are very effective, and none of them are safe. The only way to get a horse to load well is to practice loading with them.

There are several simple steps that you can follow to teach your horse to load properly. This will ensure that you do not have any of those “trailer loading scenes” and that both you and your horse will be safe.

Step 1 – Show your horse the trailer, open the doors and make sure that everything is safe. It is important to allow your horse to look around so that he will be able to see that he is safe. Once your horse is calm, proceed to step two.

Step 2 – Longe your horse at a walk toward the door of the trailer. You should have your horse stop, back up, and change directions. This will allow him to see the trailer from different views. Once your horse is calm with this exercise, reward him and move on to step three.

Step 3 – With the door open, drive your horse toward the door of the trailer and ask them to stop. You should them drive them by the door and around in a circle and ask them to stop again. You should again reward your horse if they are remaining calm and once they are comfortable with this exercise, move on to step four.

Step 4 – With the door open, drive your horse into the trailer. It is okay if the horse stops and does not go into the trailer. Just be patient and continue to drive them toward the open door and once they are inside, ask them to stand quietly and reward them for doing so. Next you should ask your horse to back out of the trailer. It is important to not let them turn around and come out head first because this is very dangerous. Once your horse has mastered this process, move onto step five.

Step 5 – Now you can begin to ask your horse to stand for long time intervals. The goal is to work up to thirty seconds in five second intervals. Once your horse will do this calmly, they will be ready for their first short ride in the trailer.

Keeping Your Horse Safe in the Trailer

If you are a horse owner or horse transporter, then you know that every horse needs to be transported at some point in its life. You could have a show horse that is routinely hauled to shows or you may only use your trailer to take your horse to the vet for regular checkups. It does not matter what the circumstances are, you always want to make sure that the horse is safe while they are in the trailer. There are many simple things that you can do to ensure that both you and the horse are safe during loading, travel, and unloading.

• If it is possible, use two people to load the horse.

• Never stand directly behind the horse when loading or unloading.

• Train the horse so that it can be sent into the trailer by itself.

• Make sure that the ground around and behind the trailer has good footing before loading or unloading a horse.

• Remove all equipment (saddles, bridles, etc.) before loading. The only thing that should be on the horse is its halter.

• Always speak to a horse that is in a trailer before attempting to handle it. You want to make sure that your horse knows you are there; this will keep him from becoming startled.

• If you are having trouble either loading or unloading a horse, seek professional help.

• Always secure the butt bar or chain before tying the horse. Make sure that you use care when reaching for it to avoid being kicked and always gently let it down when you unfasten it so that you do not accidentally bump the horse’s legs.

• When you are unloading a horse, always untie the horse before you open the door.

• Use some type of bedding or matting in the trailer floor. This will keep the floor from getting slick and prevent the horse from falling.

• Always check the trailer regularly for rotten or weakened floorboards, weakened door hinges, broken hitch welds, and worn or broken wheel bearings and spring shackles.

• Make sure that your trailer meets all state requirements for brakes and lights.

• When driving, double check all connections like lights, brakes, and safety chains and always drive in a defensive manner.

• If you are only hauling a single horse, it is safest to load it on the left side of the trailer.

• You should always check on the horses and the trailer hitch at every stop.

If you are careful and observant, you will ensure that both you and the horse are safe no matter how far you have to travel.