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When you have read my Ebook, you now know how to get your horse to load himself onto the trailer. In most cases, now you can close the butt bar (if you have a straight load trailer) and go for a nice drive. There are horses however who find the butt bar being closed a new or an even bigger challenge.
Here are some steps:
- Your horse needs to be able to stand still for at least 10 seconds on the trailer with the butt bar open
- Pick up the butt bar and put it down again – just so your horse hears the noise and can show how he feels about it
- Whenever the horse wants to come out, of course you let him – you now know what to do to solve this. (if not, get my Ebook on trailer loading here). Basically you move the horse around and get him to load himself again.
- Pick up the butt bar and rub him with it – where ever it is safe to touch him.
- Now ask him out – Yes, I am serious. You want your horse to learn that going onto the trailer does not always mean being locked up and transported to an unknown place.
- Move the horse around if needed and get him to load himself – when he’s standing still, pick up the bar, rub him with it and now, if the horse is still standing still, then close the bar.
- Now wait patiently and rub the horse on his hindquarters. If he starts pushing on the butt bar, you can tap on his hindquarters with your hand or stick, to discourage the pushing back and to encourage taking a step forward.
- When he does take a step forward, you can reward this by opening the butt bar and ASKING him to come out of the trailer. (asking him before he does it by himself prevents that they rush off. If they do rush off, just ask them to load again.)
- Take the time to really practise this well. This way you will gain much trust and respect from your horse. And you will also gain a lot of time and save frustration with every next time you load your horse. Because you will be able to walk to the trailer, your horse will walk onto the trailer in front of you, stand and wait until you close the butt bar. Close the gait and you are ready to go.
What if the horse panics when the bar is closed
This can be very tricky. It may mean you need to repeat step 1 till 6 many times. You will need to open the butt bar before things get worse. Just recently I got injured from trailer loading for the first time after loading more than a 1000 horses. It was a situation like this where the horse panicked when the butt bar was closed for about one minute. Taking him out earlier and repeating the steps, would have been the best thing to do. For some reason I thought that he would be able to handle it, because I’ve helped many horses this way. This is where you learn not to make assumptions. I was waiting for the horse to settle down and then let him out. In stead, he reared up and got his front legs over the chest bar. Now he wanted to turn around, which is where he really could have hurt himself. Now I went next to him (it was a two horse straight load trailer) and prevented him from turning around. I did succeed in this, but with his last attempt my index finger got in between his nose and the wall. This is where he reared up again, got his front legs back on the ground and rushed out of the trailer. I had to rush to the hospital to get 11 stitches in my finger.
So when you have a horse that panics like this I suggest you seek professional help from a (Parelli) Natural Horsemanship trainer.
I will for sure devote a video on this subject and it will be a part of my Online Video Course Trailer Loading With Eddy Modde.
What about slant load trailers?
Of course you can use the same principles for slant load horse trailers. In my experience, horses feel less claustrophobic in a slant load. Because their are wider and horses prefer to be diagonal. Another benefit is that you can walk in and out the trailer by just turning around. Even though I recommend you also practice backing out, being able to turn around adds a lot of safety to slant load trailers. Yet another advantage of slant load!!!
Good Luck and send me your questions or leave a comment below.
- Trailer Loading Video Coaching
- Straight vs Slant Load Trailers
- Horses that fall down in the trailer
- The last thing your horse did, is what he remembers
- Teaching your horse to be tied – preparation for trailer loading