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How to Load a

Horse onto a Trailer

the Easy Way!

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Do you make these Mistakes Loading your Horse into a Trailer?
Andy Curry

Mistake #1:

"Here, Kitty Kitty..."

Unless they have been educated, new horse owners often think a
horse is like a cat or dog. They figure if they tap their thighs
and say, "C'mon,...C'mon,...C'mon..." the horse will simply
jump right in the trailer like a happy dog or cat.

Mistake #2:

"Using Food as Bait"

Putting hay, grain, apples, or whatever at the front of the
trailer to tempt a horse to step in and eat almost never works.
If it did, it would be a fluke. I've seen horses lean forward to
try and eat the food but wouldn't step into the trailer if their
life depended on it.

Mistake #3:

"Forgetting to Hook the Trailer to the Truck"

Don't forget to hitch the trailer to the truck before getting a
horse to go in the trailer. If a horse steps into a trailer that
moves around unforgivably, you will have a harder time getting
that horse in later. He'll remember it - especially if this is
the horse's first time.

Mistake #4:

"The Classic Tug of War"

Here's the scene. Man (or woman) pulls lead rope to desperately
drag their horse into the trailer. Horse weighs 10 times more
than man or woman and has far more strength than the man or
woman. Final score of this battle is: Human - Zero...Horse - Won

Mistake #5:

"Going Trail Riding before Horse is good at Loading in a Trailer"

I've seen it time and time again. People go trail riding and when
the ride is over the horse won't get back in the trailer.
Amusingly, the horse owner comments, "Dang horse, he got in their
last month". Remember to get your horse to practice this so it
gets fixed on his brain.

It seems there will always be at least once a horse owner cannot
load his horse into a trailer. But the secret is to teach a horse
sending signals so he knows what you want him to do. It's partly
how man and horse communicate.

If you ever find yourself frustrated with your horse because he
won't get in, here's a quick solution.

Get a long rope and loop it over his rear and let it slide down
to about the top of his back legs. Let the rope hit around his
back legs and note his reaction. (Be holding this rope in your
right hand and hold his halter with your left hand) He may kick
at the rope on his back legs or he may not. If he doesn't, it
means he's likely okay with the rope being back there.

If he kicks at the rope then he needs to get used to it. Just let
the rope kind of hang there and touch his back legs. The horse
may get jumpy and try to move from it. He may move forward or in
a circle. While holding his halter stiffen your left arm a bit
and make him go around you while holding the rope and halter.
You, the handler, are acting as an axis.

Fairly quickly the horse will realize the rope isn't hurting him
and you can move to the next step.

Pull on the rope to get the horse to move with you. When he moves
forward from your pull, release the pressure. The idea is for him
to move when you exert the pressure. He should catch on pretty
quickly to what you want.

Now lead him to the trailer and guide his head into the trailer
if necessary. With the lead rope attached to his halter, pull on
the lead rope while pulling harder on the "butt rope".

Your horse may or may not jump in the trailer but chances are he
will. Also, be careful doing this because he may pop in the
trailer very quickly and you could get hurt.

Andy Curry is the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training

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