Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Whidbey Island Washington
For a horse who won't load, a dressage whip (as mentioned by someone else) is my best friend. Lead the horse towards the trailer, with slight pressure on the lead-rope, hand out in front of you, and at the FIRST HINT of resistance, tap with the dressage whip without turning your body at all. VERY IMPORTANT keep yourself squarely pointed at the trailer while you tap! If you have to turn to tap, you are going to pull the horse around you, consequently allowing (and encouraging)him to evade the trailer. The first hint of resistance could be a slight slowing, head coming up, leaning one way or the other, or it could be a dead stop. Tap lightly, you don't want to frighten him into the trailer, and keep tapping until the resistance is gone. If the resistance increases (and if he's pretty sure he's got your number, it WILL increase) immediately back the horse up, or lunge, both with ENERGY, not anger, but definite energy. I prefer to back, as it is harder work, and keeps the horse facing the trailer, but many prefer to lunge. Once you've done that, start all over, calmly expecting that the horse will load this time. Keep repeating until the horse loads. Have the horse stand for a minute, unload and do it again. And maybe yet again. It should get easier each time. If you manage to accomplish this with time to spare, go for a short ride and then come home and do it again. If you have another day, go to a local showground and unload and repeat the process there. Nothing worse than thinking you've got the problem fixed only to find that you have no way to get home!