7 Tips on Loading a ‘Problem Horse’ You May Not Have Heard Before

“My pony is not frightened of the trailer he’s just stubborn!”

“My horse refuses to go in the horsebox to wind me up!”

Grey horse being loaded into a trailer with a Dually Halter

I’ve heard every reason possible for a horse not loading!  But just possibly there are some extra factors you haven’t even thought about!

  1. First of all ‘Know Thyself’.  Are you able to describe how you’re feeling?  It’s better to know you’re feeling a little tense, a little nervous, a little hurried than not be aware of any feelings at all.  If you can become self aware you can have a strategy to get yourself in the right state of mind that give out the vibes to give a horse confidence.
  2. Can you tell how the horse is feeling? You need to know if the horse is frightened, apprehensive, distracted because anything that means he is not relaxed means he’s more likely to go INTO any pressure applied rather than move away from it.
  3. Be aware some horses respond best to requests to move forward from in front and some from behind. This is most likely due to previous ‘training’ which taught the opposite to what was intended (Remember ‘It’s not what you’re teaching it’s what they are learning!’)  So if you feel your horse is relaxed but oblivious to what’s being asked be flexible in your approach.
  4. If a request has been given but the horse, pony or human appears ‘stubborn’ possibly the Number One reason is they haven’t been given time to process. None of us are on Infinity Broadband constantly.  Think how you feel if you’re just about to do something and someone tells you to do it – resistant!
  5. Which part of the loading does the horse find most difficult? Going on the ramp?  Going under the trailer or horsebox ceiling?  Turning once in there?  There are so many different ways you can get your horse confident with these things without even going near a horsebox or trailer.  Gain confidence and trust with your horse before even going near a horsebox!
  6. When he’s in the horsebox or trailer is it a pleasant place to be? Is it light and airy?  Is the trailer breast bar padded so it won’t dig into his chest when you brake?  Is it a SAFE place to be?  When did you last have the floor and basics checked?
  7. How’s your driving? Could you drive with a hot cup of coffee on your lap?  If not why not?  Get a camera to see how your horse is travelling.

OBVIOUSLY if you’d like to find local help with your horse click here to find your local IH Recommended Trainer. You can also learn the techniques and attitudes for yourself by booking onto one of our courses.  I look forward to meeting you!

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