Practice trailer loading (without a trailer!)

Practice trailer loading

railers are scary places for horses. They can’t see their surroundings and are trapped in a very small space. The ground feels different, it doesn’t smell like the barn and the trailer even moves a lot when you’re on your way to somewhere. But you can teach your horse to like this place. And you don’t even need a trailer to practice!

Since not everyone owns a trailer, but it’s still very useful to know your horse will load in a (medical) emergency, I like to play around with materials to mimic the scary parts of a trailer.

The floor

The wooden floor in a trailer makes a lot of sound. If you have something at the barn to mimic that wooden floor with, you can practice with getting used to the sound and the way wood feels under your horse’s hoofs. You can start off with only practicing with walking over the wooden board and occasionally stopping and trying to get all four hoofs on it.

The sides

After that you can create the sides with two jumps with tarp over them. If you can make the obstacle high enough, your horse won’t be able to see his surroundings anymore, just like in the trailer. You can place both sides far away from each other when you go through them first and then get them closer and closer. Once they are as wide as a trailer, you can place the wooden board on the ground and practice with the combined obstacles.

Dead end

The trailer doesn’t offer any way out, except backwards. Place another jump at the end of the obstacle and practice with going in and out of the trailer from one way. Try to focus on relaxation, especially inside the obstacle. Also help your horse go in and out very calmly.

The roof

If you have a structure to hang another tarp on, you can create a roof over your “trailer”.

Trailerloading is about confidence. If your horse is unsure about the situation, he will not go in the trailer easily.
Playing around with these obstacles will build confidence and help prepare your horse for the real trailer.

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