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Trailer Loading-Horse does not want to load.
Before we even start try to load our horse, we must be in the right MINDSET.
Be prepared mentally for negative behavior, confusion, anger, and fear from your horse.
Understand that he needs guidance and patience.
He also needs time.
Visualize him loading into the trailer.
Five things you must have before you try to load him:
This is a very common problem, but one that can be solved with consistency and focus.
The solution is to first teach him that there is a purpose to this and you will do that by building trust from your horse.
The Horses Instinct’s
The first mistake people make is trying to make the horse load in the trailer instead teaching the horse to load in the trailer.
What you must understand is that the horses instinct is saying, do not load in the trailer, because this could mean death. Horses are claustrophobic, and do not like enclosed areas. So he will try his strongest instincts, fight and flight. As a leader, your biggest job is to take away your horse's fear, not to make fear.
Forward moment is the key to trailer loading. You must be to the point you can move your horse forward anywhere and anytime, and you must have a cue the horse understands so he will move forward under pressure. And if he is moving forward consistently, then you are ready to start.
If, for example, I'm going to the left, I have the lead line in my left hand and the tail end of the lead in my right hand. I will use the tail end to drive him forward and my left hand will point him in the direction I want him to go. I also want to be able to tap the horse with the lead in my right hand if necessary to get him to go forward, when your horse goes forward, release the pressure of your right hand so he knows he’s doing the right thing.
Prepare your horse for the trailer
Before I start with the trailer loading, I will have him cross a tarp, or a piece of ply wood, which further prepares him and makes it easier for him to load in the trailer.
I always prepare my horse for any new task that I may ask him to do.
Now, it’s time to load
Now it’s time to load your horse in the trailer. I always like to see if I can send my horse to the trailer. If not or if he feels a little uncomfortable I will lead him to the trailer.
If he starts to paw at the ground or the floor of the trailer, that’s ok because he is thinking about loading. If he puts one or two feet in the trailer and backs out that’s ok, he needs to know that the floor can hold him and also that he can get out of the trailer. Let him work at it.
If he want go back in, take him 10 or 15 feet back away from trailer, and do some half circles, then ask him for forward moment again to load in the trailer.
In other words, having your horse do circles is work, the back end of the trailer and in the trailer is a resting spot. Keep repeating this process, until your horse is loading easily and willingly into the trailer. Again, this process is about making the right thing - loading in the trailer- easy, and the wrong thing - refusing to load - work.
Always use this technique. I've never seen it not work. There are some horses that are harder to load than others, but stay persistent and they will finally load.
If this is the first time for a horse to load in a trailer, or maybe your horse had a bad experience loading in the trailer, use a stock trailer instead of a small two horse trailer. The stock trailer will be wider and not as confined. After loading your horse in a stock trailer, several times, this will build your horses confidence to load in any safe trailer