It takes time, dedication and patience to teach your horse to accept being loaded into a metal box and transported down the highway. Plenty of horses treat horse trailers as if they are actually horse eating monsters and have to be coaxed and coerced into getting into the trailer and staying there. A horse who tries to shoot backward out of a trailer right as you think you finally have him loaded is especially dangerous because he cannot see what is behind him and may run over the person who is trying to shut the trailer door.
Train your horse how to go forward, stand still and back up on your command. You will need to give verbal commands to your horse as you direct him to walk ahead, stand or back up using your halter and lead rope. Reward your horse with a treat, verbal praise or by petting him when he behaves as you have asked.
Practice loading your horse into the trailer by leading him forward and using the commands you previously worked on. Get your horse to walk forward into your trailer, stand still in the trailer and then back out of your trailer on command. It may take multiple attempts before you can get him to stand successfully without trying to bolt backward out of the trailer, but when he does you need to reward him with praise or a treat.
Load your horse into the trailer using your commands and ask him to stand still inside the trailer. Have your helper close the door on the trailer. Reward your horse for standing still inside the trailer. Have your helper open the door of the trailer. Command your horse to continue holding still inside the trailer until you are ready to back him out of the trailer. Command your horse to back out of the trailer and reward him when he does it properly.
- Standing behind the trailer and trying to slam the back door shut before the horse escapes is a good way to get either yourself or your horse hurt. Do not try to force a horse into a trailer or try to force him to stay in the trailer using force, it will not work and someone will get hurt. The only way to effectively teach a horse to load or unload is by spending the time training him to do so. If you cannot do it on your own, have a horse trainer help you.
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Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.