Getting Your Horse Acquainted with a Trailer

Being able to quietly and easily load into a trailer is an important skill that all horses should have.? Whether a natural disaster that requires evacuation or a medical emergency that means a trip to a veterinary hospital, your horse may be at risk if he cannot easily walk into a trailer.?

?It is important to never use pain or fear to threaten a horse into the trailer, as this will cause him to fight even harder upon the next occurrence.? The best option is to prepare your horse ahead of time by desensitizing him to the presence and potential scariness of the trailer.?

Park your trailer in a corral or riding ring, and ensure that it is secure.? Make the trailer a friendly place by feeding your horse his hay at the bottom edge of the trailer ramp.? As he gets comfortable, move the hay farther up the ramp until it is actually in the trailer.? Continue with this process until the horse actually has to enter the trailer in order to feed.? Be aware that this is a slow and gradual process that can take upwards of a month to show results.? However, the time you spend on this now will result in big payoffs down the road when he easily walks into the trailer with no fear.? You will want to continue this process as you see fit, so that he does not fall back into old habits.?

To keep the trailering experience positive, be sure to never rush or force him inside.? As the driver, always be conscious that you are pulling him behind you because many horses become frightened with sharp turns and sudden stops, which can result in future headaches.? With patience and practice, your horse?s trailering experience can be as easy as 1-2-3!

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