Panic when braking
I have a 9 year old gelding who has always been a dream to trailer. Our first trailer was an old, 2 horse straight load that he barely fit into, but he never balked and never had any issues.
My husband and I have been saving up for a couple of years now and finally bought a brand new 2 horse slant load that's much larger and comfortable for my boy. However... The first time I pulled him in it, he started panicking whenever I hit the brakes.
I have a couple of ideas of things it might be, but wanted to run it by people who know more than I do!
1. The new trailer has brakes, whereas the old one did not. Is there some kind of "breaking in" period with new trailer brakes? I didn't feel anything abnormal when braking from the truck, but I know next to nothing about how trailer brakes should feel. Someone at our barn suggested backing down the power to our brakes, but I didn't think we had it set that high to begin with. Is this something I should figure out how to do? (Our brake controller came with the truck, and we have no instructions on how to use it.)
2. Is it possible that he just feels clausterphobic in the "smaller" portion of the slant? Should I try closing the divider and putting him into the back section to see if having more space helps?
And last but not least, if he's panicked, how do I unload him without getting myself or him hurt? We managed to get him unloaded, but it was a little scary, and he was definitely in a hurry to get off the trailer. Since he always backed out of the old trailer, he backed off rather than letting me turn his head and walk off, and he all but ran backwards, which is something we broke him of over 2 years ago. I don't want him reverting to that behavior!