Tips to Loading Difficult Horses

Ever since Tofino’s sight has been deteriorating, he has been very difficult to load onto the trailer, even though we never had a problem with loading at all before.

First thing first, NEVER use force. No whips, chains, hitting etc. The reason why a horse won’t load is either because it’s something new and need to get used to it, or it’s because they are genuinely afraid for many reasons.

  1. Be patient
  2. Open the side door of the trailer so the area feels less claustrophobic
  3. Having a horse already inside will help to ease anxiety and doubt
  4. Lead your horse yourself as they probably trust YOU
  5. Allow your horse to walk around the trailer and sniff it out
  6. Reward with each step
  7. Talk to your horse gently
  8. If that fails, simply cover your horses eyes with a jumper or towel and lead them inside (this seems to work most of the time)

Note: Don’t forget your safety travel gear!

2016-11-17-photo-00001400  2016-11-17-photo-00001399

If you have any specific technique you know of, please do not hesitate to share. Personally, I have been using the above steps and ended up having to cover his face once which worked like a charm. Without doing so, it would take me 20 minutes to load otherwise.

Hope this helps

One thought on “Tips to Loading Difficult Horses

  1. The above steps are very good steps, although if you don’t mind, I will add a few more.

    1. Understand that horses are often afraid of trailers not necessarily because they are new but because it looks like a dark cave on wheels. Horses are naturally prey animals.
    2. Ask them to move there feet. This creates both respect for you and takes there focus off the trailer. Remember, it’s not about the trailer it’s self it’s about the training.
    3. Teach them that the trailer is a safe place. If you have them move their feet, Lunge, yield the hindquarters etc. And let them stop if they get close to the trailer, it teaches them that they get relief from the trailer.
    4. Let them sniff the trailer, do not try to move to fast. For example, if the horse puts one foot in the trailer do not immediately start clucking and spanking him with your hat. This causes him to panic, thinking he is being chased.
    5. Give him time and reward the slightest try, if you repeat the above steps your horse will eventually load.
    Good Luck!


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