2. What trailer will be best to use (I am borrowing one). She will be the only horse in the trailer, plus some tack and hay.
I certainly suggest any type of stock trailer for 2 or more horses. They are the least claustrophobic. Backing out is typically not a problem even in a 2 horse straight load if you leave the divider out since they are much more comfortable backing when they can see their feet. Just back out slowly and don't allow your horse to try and turn...most horses are too large to be able to turn in a 2 horse.
3. What is the best way to get her in the trailer? She has never had experience in a trailer, minus when she was 7 months old, she is almost 5 now. She is on her way to a trainer, so hopefully I can work on this with her once I get there, but I really need ideas on how to get her comfortably in one. I am willing to spend time doing it, but was wondering what methods anyone else has used to help their horse relax in a trailer, and just to get in in the first place.
There are plenty of methods and you'll get a lot of (conflicting) advice about how to load, but you won't really know the best approach until you start working on it. Here are my general tips, just from my experience..
- Until your horse 'self loads', do not try to load by yourself. Having another person to provide any help with the hind end will save you from a lot of frustration.
- Practice where they are no distractions for you or your horse.
- Put all of the trailing loading horror stories out of your mind. You must
be relaxed and confident. You want to lead your horse into the trailer just like you were leading her anywhere else, expecting her to walk right in with you
(even though she probably won't at first).
- Do not bribe with hay, grain, or treats. Reward only
when she is fully
loaded. Many horses learn very quickly that partial loading is 'good enough' to get a treat and it's tougher to finish the job.
- Do not get struck in the partially loaded state just to allow her to get comfortable. You can back out and start again, but I always perfer forward movement and have the hind end helper provide foward encouragement with a straw broom on the butt.
- After loaded, quickly but calmly close any butt bars/gates/doors. With an open door/butt bar, a scared horse can easily break a lead, trailer tie, or halter to get out of the trailer and will even go through the escape door if open.
- Keep a watch on your horse's eyes for signs of real terror. A terrified horse in a trailer is a recipe for injury to you and your horse, regardless of having shipping boots, etc. Even a large, roomy trailer is really still a small space to be trapped in with a horse.