How to get a horse safely and calmly into a trailer?
I am transporting my horse 3 hours south, in February. So I have a few questions.
1. Is there anything I need to fit my horse with to keep her safe? (leg wraps, special halter, ect)
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.
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.
I was thinking a 2 horse slant may be the best for her, since I can walk her in and turn her around to get her out without making her back out of the trailer.
Any ideas would be helpful :)
For gear, I always have protective leg gear...polos or those regular trailer wraps...I don't like the wraps as much, because if a horse steps on one, it can slip down too easily, diminishing the protection offered. I use pillow wraps under the polos for additional protection. I use a leather halter, with fleece halter protectors. I usually use a head bumper too, but it got lost somewhere in my last move! I will put a light sheet on the horse, especially if it is a bit chilly; it protects from the wind, and also prevents dings and scratches. Make sure you have her health papers, and coggins test papers (copies), in the trailer with the horse, or in the truck with you.
As far as what type trailer...well for a horse who has never hauled, I would get a simple stock trailer; a slant will make her feel quite clausterphobic, so save that for when she has been trained to load and haul.
You say she's going to get trained, but I would definitely work on loading a little before you are ready to ship her; there are alot of different methods to getting a horse to load, so just do some searches here in the training thread, and see if you can find one that suits your needs for this horse. For training, I would use a rope halter, for sure, so she can't lean against you.
... I suggest that you use some sort of leg protection, polo wraps or you can purchase some boots that are specially made for trailering, I believe that these boots also come in a wrap form. But I'm not sure about this. There are also other options like you can purchase protective head gear, ect. But this is not as necessary and is put down to more of a personal choice.
... Your second question I am unsure about so I have decided to leave that up to other members of the horse forum community.
... I think that you should do some work loading before you attempt to load her for such a long haul. Take her for a small ride in the trailer to get her use to the movement of the trailer. When loading her, there are several methods but I personally use the method of a straight forward, normal load. Letting the horse take it one step at a time and stopping when need be. If its at all possible someone who is experienced with loading should load the horse into the float. As they will be able to deal with the horse in a bad situation and also be calm and confident when loading.
I hope that I could help you out and offer you some answers. Good luck with your horse and their training.
Hi you can use a slant load trailer or an open trailer stock trailer. if you get a straight load trailer the horse might see it as a deep dark hole and I imagine you know how deep dark holes and horses mix... straight loads are ok but overall i'v read where slant loads are quite a bit safer than straight loads and i'v also read where a horse is more relaxed if they ride backwards... Where do you live? because something else to keep in mind is if it is really cold where you are like the 30-20s and you have an open trailer then the horse can get sick so you will have to think about blanketing your horse. The wraps you don't neccissarily have to have any wraps but if you have to have some type of wrap get shipping boots those help with circulation and they have velcro... something else you can do is just pull over about every two hours and let the horse stay in the trailer and give it some water and maybe some feed and just give it time to let his legs rest from the vibration... Just incase you were wandering why I said dont let the horse out of the trailer is because I was transporting a horse about 7 hrs and I let the horse out to rest and eat and relax and it took me like 3 or 4 hrs to get the horse back in. the hay is just something you can give the horse to play with during the trip. If I were you I would choose the trailer you are going to use and practice loading with the horse something you can do is not feed the horse any feed for a couple of days so when you get ready to trailer the horse you have a little bit more bargining power
OO on my trip where I transported the horse for 7 hrs i drove for like 2 hrs and stopped and let the horse out and she would not get back in thankfully a guy was driving by about 3-4 hrs later and saw I needed help and asked oo and the hay give him hay I was just saying horses during the trip alot of times will just nibble and play I usually give my horses about 2 flakes for about a 2 or 3 hour trip I also bring along some extra hay and feed because you never know what will happen like you breaking down or whatever oo something else is take the horse and load him up and just drive around town and even go out to eat and leave the horse in the trailer I think I would start doing this about 2-3 times a week if your going to trailer in FEB well I think this is it sorry about the multiple posts.. oo never turn your horse around to go out always back your horse out its better and safer for you and as previously stated make sure you bring all your health paper including coggins the police can pull you over and if you don't have it they will impound your horse and you can face BIG fines.. theres really no special equipment you need just make sure you have a halter and a tie down the owner of the trailer should have a tie down oo and make sure you don't use a cowboy halter use something like a nylon halter or a leather halter one of those halters that has those metal circles underneath so you can hook up to it when you tie down make sure you give the horse's head alittle room to move around don't tie him down where he can't move his head
One thing is that try to not get a trailer with a tackroom on the back (where the horse goes in) because that may make the horse feel eve more claustrophobic. I saw a Quarter Horse go through one of those today and it seemed pretty tight.
Also, a stock trailer can have some disadvantages such as it doesn't have doors in the front for you to get out and there is no where to put your tack but is roomy. A slant load or straight load may cause your horse to become claustrophobic but often has those doors and room for your tack.
However, I could be wrong.
- 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.
Thanks for all the advice :)
To answer some questions, I am from Northern Illinois, have trailered a horse before (just never had to teach one to trailer o.o) and will definitely be working with her before our trip, taking her on shorter rides in the trailer, both with and without her buddy (my other mare). She isnt scared of trailers, just wary. She'd rather eat grass if I let her (which I dont but you get my point). Im not too worried about her staying calm, shes pretty level headed.
Thanks again for all the help!!!
whatever way you decide to get her in, letting it be her timing is the best. If you get her front feet in, let her back out. When you get her in turn her around and let her out before you put her in for the last time, or you will never get her in again! Imagine finally going in to a scary trailer monster and your owner slamming the doors to keep you there....
You have to look past his 'winning' personality, but he makes valid points.
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