September 30, 2008
Trailer loading doesn’t have to be a battle.
By trainer and former America’s Horse columnist Joe Wolter
Loading into a trailer is one of the most important things a horse learns. There are few horses today that won’t, at some time in their lives, be faced with getting into a trailer.
Years ago I had to deliver a filly to a ranch. I was running late, and I put the pressure on this mare and got her in the trailer in about 10 minutes, but I didn’t bother to unload her. It was about a two-hour drive, and when I got there it took me two more hours to get her out. I had made it so difficult for her not to go in, that she went in, but then she found a safe place and didn’t want to come out. I wouldn’t have wanted to come out either. A horse’s attitude can affect both loading and unloading.
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Joe’s Trailer Loading Tips
- If the colt stops at the trailer, I let him stand there as long as he is interested.
- The colt might even drop his head and smell of the trailer floor. I let him stand there as long as he shows interest in getting on the trailer.
- Sometimes a colt might put both front feet in the trailer and still not go in. Even now I don’t pressure the colt to go on in, and I allow him to back out as soon as he loses interest in what we are doing.
- When the colt loads, I still don’t shut the trailer door. I allow him to stand there a few minutes, and then back him out until he feels comfortable with the situation.
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