Originally Posted by Reiningcatsanddogs View Post
I load in an unconventional way. I walk in ahead of the horse with a long lead/lunge rope. Then step out the emergency exit still holding the lead; you can thread it through the tie off if you want and hold the other end. Then I put light tension on the lead and ask them to walk in. Then wait patiently. Your own anxiety plays a role too so give yourself plenty of time and stay relaxed.
Since the horses have been trained to yield to pressure, they eventually come forward into the trailer, yielding to the halter pressure. Then you can tie off and run around and put up the butt bar etc.
Over time it gets to be almost immediate as they learn the routine. With my trail horses that trailer often, it literally takes 30 seconds per horse to load anymore.
For the ones still learning or the ones who don't do it that often, I have enough lead rope left I can twirl it at their butt while standing outside the trailer and still maintain pressure on the other end of the lead.
The one thing you do have to watch out for is the horse that will get the front feet in and then suddenly decide to back out…rope burn! But, that has only happened to me once over the years as I'm using light pressure and not a death grip.
I find this is a low key, relaxed way to get them to load.
That is exactly how I did it. I used this method because I first taught my horse to load well in the old style 2 horse trailer that has no walk-thru in front for people.
I used a lead rope though, so I didn't have as much length. I would typically stand on the outside of the trailer at the feed door, with tension on the rope. Then with my other hand, I would hold up some hay and wave it around. With the hay there, it didn't take too much convincing! She eventually walked right in.
Now I have access to my mother's two horse straight load with walk-thru aisle in front, escape doors, and chest bars (very similar to yours OP). In this situation, I just walk right through and expect the horse to follow me and duck under the chest bar. I always try to have another person present to fasten the butt bar before I tie off, but that's not always possible. In the case that I'm alone, it depends on what horse I'm dealing with what I do.
If it is the more nervous mare, who may pull back/back out but will no try to turn around inside the trailer, I loop the lead a couple times around something nearby (if I have the emergency release snap trailer ties, I just use those), then go to fasten the butt bar. If it is my mare, who is a steady, calm, solid loader but in the rare case she does get nervous will try to turn around inside the trailer, I tie her off. She doesn't pull back.
It's nice that you have a walk through. I find most horses are far more willing to follow you somewhere than to go on their own, so unless the horse is known to be dangerous, just walking in ahead of them and ducking under the front bar to stand in the aisle is the best way, IMO.
Well, self-loading is the best way, but I have yet to get any of mine to do that lol.