Some horses will be loaded into a trailer or horsebox without so much as the bat of an eyelid, whereas others are a nightmare to load. This can be a real pain, especially if you regularly compete in horse shows or events. There are, however, a few tips and tricks for getting a difficult horse to load into a trailer or horsebox.
Stay very calm and be patient with your horse. If you know that your horse is difficult to load, make sure you leave adequate time so that you don’t end up worrying about being late and therefore getting stressed out. If your horse wants to stop and sniff at or otherwise examine the trailer, let him do this until he is satisfied. If you rush your horse, you will only get him worked up and make the loading process even more difficult.
Bribing your horse with food can actually be very effective when trying to load him. After all, what horse can resist his favourite treats? Make sure you use treats or food that he really enjoys, and get someone to offer it to him in a bucket just out of his reach in the trailer. More often than not, this will provide the extra incentive that the horse needs to be loaded into the horsebox.
Provide a Good Example
If you or a friend at your stables has a horse who loads without trouble, trying loading him into the horsebox or trailer first, with your horse watching. If your horse sees that there is nothing scary or worrying about being loaded, and that another horse has gone in without issue, he may be more willing to go in himself.
Praise Your Horse
Be sure to enthusiastically praise and reward your horse for any advancement he makes into the trailer, no matter how small. Even if you take it one step at a time, you will eventually get him in there.
Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. If you spend days, or even weeks, practising loading your horse before you have to move him, it will make it so much easier on the day.
These are just a handful of useful tips on loading your horse into a trailer or horsebox. Take your time and stay calm no matter what, and your horse is sure to eventually allow you to load him.
William Kennedy is specialised in transporting horses. He works for a horse transport company in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/4061703371/