How to Load a Horse into a Trailer

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At some point in every horse's life, he will have to take a road trip. Loading him into a trailer shouldn't be difficult, but many horses are intimidated by the process. A confident handler can help ease even the reluctant travelers into the trailer to make the journey a pleasant one.

Things You'll Need

  • Vehicle equipped to pull a trailer
  • Halter with lead rope
  • Shipping boots or standing wraps
  • Blanket or sheet
  • Poll guard
  • Tail bandage
  • Park the vehicle and trailer on a level surface and let down the ramp. Inside the trailer, move any obstacles out of the way, such as a partition. The horse will be more willing to step into a spacious place than a cramped one.

  • Lead the horse into the trailer without stepping directly in front of him. Horses can see all around them but they have a blind spot directly in front. He may hesitate to step onto the ramp, so encourage him and speak softly. Demonstrate to him that walking up the ramp is harmless and lead him with confidence.

  • Tie up the horse once he is in place in the trailer. The safest way to do this is to tie a loop of strong string or bailing twine to the tying-up ring. Tie the lead rope to the string. That way if he starts to thrash, the string will break instead of his neck. If you're using a single horse trailer that affords more space, cross-tie him to both sides of the trailer.

  • Adjust the partitions and breeching bar and close up the ramp. This is best done with two people--one to stand with the horse and reassure him while the other secures the partition and ramp.

Tips & Warnings

  • While loading, always look straight ahead and don't hesitate. If you show confidence about stepping into the trailer your horse will feel confident, too.
  • While closing the ramp, stand to the side of the trailer. If the horse tries to kick, you're less likely to get injured by the ramp or by him.
  • Some people prefer to put a bridle on the horse before unloading. This will give you a little more control than the halter alone.
  • The horse may become agitated in a new environment. New smells, sounds and sights can excite even the most bomb-proof horse.
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