Help – my horse won’t trailer! How can I get him into our trailer?

Horse loading into angle haul trailerQuestion: We have been having some MAJOR PROBLEMS trailering my horse preacher. He is an x-racehorse and hates to load on a trailer. We’ve tried everything people told us to try. He got on there a couple of times but thats all. Tuesday my mom went over there and fed him in the trailer and when we got there a friend (Jason) went into the trailer nervous and scared. When he started to tie him up Preacher went BAZERK and Jason started to freak and get loud with him. I know you’re probably not supposed to get loud. So how can you get him from being non trailer shy and get that horse onto the trailer so I can go to my lessons and shows? He’s a real sweet boy.

Answer from April Reeves: Your problem is serious and difficult to fix unless you are skilled in groundwork. Your friend Jason did not help either. There is no excuse to raise your voice to a horse, and doing so just set you back. I’m always the type of person to tell it truthfully – loading a difficult horse is a dangerous thing to attempt without experience.

If your trailer is a front load your ability to teach Preacher is going to be tough. If your trailer is an angle haul, it will be much easier. Also, is your trailer tall enough for the horse? If he can raise his head fairly high without hitting it you have an appropriate height. If not, you will always have problems. I suggest you take a good look at your trailer and if it does not fit the horse, there’s no sense in trying to load him. It’s too dangerous.

Trailering is not something you do the day of a show or when you have to go somewhere. It is a training process that can last for days and often has to be repeated and maintained, especially with a horse that has had problems in the past.

Although I could describe to you how to do this, nothing I could write will help. An inexperienced horse owner should never attempt this on their own – it’s extremely dangerous for both the horse and handler. This process is either learned through a professional trainer or through a Professional training DVD. You need to see it, go over it again and again, and have it for review whenever you need to. It will also give you some guideline if you do decide to hire someone.

I will make a suggestion for a DVD. It’s called “Trailer Loading” by Adiva Murphy (www.adivamurphy.com / adiva@adivamurphy.com), and it is the very best one I have ever seen, and I have seen many of them. It’s also very affordable, and will show you, step by step, how to safely train your horse to load. You may want to try to train Preacher yourself, or use the methods in the DVD as a guideline should you hire someone to help you. That way you will know if the trainer is able to get the job done properly.

It takes time and patience to teach a horse to load, and something you will have to dedicate yourself to do every day until Preacher is quiet and comfortable.

Please do not let your horse be handled by people who are rough or who treat horses with anger. It only complicates and exacerbates the problem. Your horse has the potential to load every time but it is up to you to keep Preacher away from rough handlers.

Get help either through this video or a skilled handler. If you choose the handler, make sure of two things:
– They train you how to continue to work with Preacher
– They show no anger or aggressive behavior with Preacher

If anyone in the future ever gets angry with him, fire that person. Always let people know up front that you will not tolerate that style of behavior. Trailering doesn’t have to be dangerous, but it’s one of those necessary things we have to do with our horses. Never, under any circumstance, let a person get angry or aggressive with Preacher during trailering.

I’m not sure where you live, but if you are in Western Canada you may be able to find one of Adiva Murphy’s clinics or one of mine this year. We both have trailer loading sessions in our clinics.

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