Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
Teaching a horse to trailer can be a very frustrating experience, very often because people don't devote the same time and patience that they do with other training....after all, it's natural that when we want to go, we just want to load and go, not train. Just some ideas...
Practice as much as you can without going somewhere. Start with just going in, going/backing out, then closing the ramp, etc. If this is a small, closed in horse trailer, many horses are pretty much OK until that last door/ramp is closed and they can't see the outside anymore.
Similarly, remain relaxed. I've seen many people get so happy that their horse was finally in that the first thing they do is run in a frenzy around putting up the ramp and slamming the doors closed...then their horse freaks out, trashing and kicking.
You still need to be the boss. A trailer is a scary place for a horse and it is a dangerous place to be in with a horse (as you know), but showing that fear will just make your horse more afraid. Try and use the same techniques you would use with groundwork...patience, praise, calm, and be assertive. Try and avoid starting off with the 'this is going to be a problem' mindset. You want to get to the point of being able to just lead your horse into the trailer and tying just like you would lead it to a post or into a stall.
Good luck and stay safe.
On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.