It’s normal for your horse to feel anxious when being loaded onto a trailer. Unfortunately, the anxiety won’t go away on its own, so getting him into the trailer can be a struggle from one trip to the next. Fortunately, you can alleviate his fears and get him onto the trailer with ease by following these tips.
First and foremost, you need to be patient at all times when trailering your horse. Your patient demeanor will create a calm atmosphere, helping the horse relax. This, in turn, will ensure that everyone stays safe during the process.
You will have ample opportunities to exercise patience during the experience. For example, your horse might want to explore the area before getting on the trailer. Give him the time to sniff around and check everything out so he can get his bearings before loading him up.
While some people use feed to lure horses onto trailers, that can be a mistake. First, there will be times when you don’t have feed available, meaning it will be even more challenging to get your horse on the trailer. Second, feeding him as a reward can create a negative feedback loop, which is the last thing you want with your horse.
Instead of using food, provide cues for your horse to get on the trailer. You’ll need to have several training sessions to establish the cues, but the hard work will pay off in dividends.
During your first session, go to your horse’s side and tap him on the hip or leg while pointing his nose toward the trailer’s entrance. At the same time, another person should coax your horse toward the trailer.
If he doesn’t get on the trailer, use lead ropes during the training session. While you don’t want to pull your horse aggressively, the ropes can provide gentle guidance toward the trailer.
These cues will help your horse realize what he’s supposed to do. As he starts recognizing the cues, remove the ropes so he can start moving into the trailer without being pulled. Continue to practice this so it’ll become second nature.
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Stay Positive During Training Sessions
These training sessions can be frustrating for you and your horse, but remain positive. If your horse senses anger or frustration, he’ll be less likely to comply with your wishes. Instead, you want him to sense a positive vibe during training sessions. This will help him relax and follow the cues.
While you’ll have to put in some hard work up front, it’ll be worth it when your horse starts recognizing the cues and taking action. So, start the process today so your horse will be ready to load.