Loading Different Difficulties

Posted on by Categories: Blog Post

First of all these questions are to make you aware of the different ‘challenges’ that can arise.  Some you may find easy to solve – others are more tricky.  Many of you may not have been aware that these are indeed A Thing!

Be sure to watch Sandra Williams and my, Loading the Less Easy Horse webinars to get ALL the answers! We have WARNINGS! We have WISDOM! And we have the WELFARE of your horse at heart.

  1. Some physical difficulty i.e. in his back/arthritis in knees/navicular means he’s uncomfortable going up steep ramp or when travelling.  Check teeth (sides of face) for soreness that might effect the use of any headgear.
  2. Horse doesn’t lead at all (never mind up the ramp!)
  3. Very green ‘Wobbly feet’
  4. Genuinely nervous and frightened because it’s something new
  5. The horse can’t see how he fits in the horsebox
  6. Goes half in then you can’t go any further (often ‘threatens’ to hit his head)
  7. The horse that ‘hits his head deliberately’
  8. Pressure on head causes endorphins to kick in and horse switches between going to sleep or reacting violently.
  9. The horse has been trained not to load and is totally desensitised to any pressure on poll.
  10. ‘The Planter’
  11. Falls down/lays at bottom of ramp
  12. ‘The Rearer’ (including over backwards).
  13. Horse is obsessed with what’s going on behind him (even running back and kicking).
  14. The horse has become stressed by too many helpers
  15. Keeps stepping off the side of the ramp
  16. Leaps or rushes up the ramp.
  17. Goes in but turns and runs straight out again
  18. Goes in but backs quickly straight out again
  19. Horse won’t go in with breast bar up
  20. Strikes out (making it dangerous in front of him)
  21. Intimidates handler by barging or leaning
  22. Intimidates handler by swinging head wildly
  23. Goes in but flies off the front ramp
  24. Runs away altogether!
  25. Claustrophobic – panics and kicks once in the trailer
  26. Goes in but panics as the back bar/ramp goes up.
  27. Very bad traveller – terrified and shaking during journey
  28. Owners trying to get too large a horse into too small a trailer
  29. Instinctively knows the trailer/horsebox is dangerous
  30. The horse is getting a bad ride in the box for mechanical reasons
  31. The horse is being intimidated by another horse
  32. Mare and foal loading
  33. Massive travel boots uncomfortable/slipping
  34. The horse is over sensitive to touch i.e. feels the side of the trailer and starts to lay on it – this can also be defined as a travelling problem.
  35. The horse has had a previous bad accident in the horsebox so is terrified
  36. The horse has previously loaded happily and then suddenly is unhappy to load – why might this be?
  37. Won’t come out of horsebox
  38. Loads at home but won’t load away from home ie in a strange place


When loading a horse(s) have a good look in the horsebox first for ‘accidents likely to happen’. Think of yourself as James Bond entering a room and looking for the danger. ie Is there anything that a horse could get his halter or rug caught on? If the horse step off the ramp sharply could he injure himself? Also check for your horse’s comfort. Can he eat his hay comfortably? Can he reach it without being a giraffe but not have it pressing against his eye? Has the flooring got sufficient grip? Is there enough (gentle) ventilation?

In case of an accident with a horsebox – remember extreme cases can be a job for the fire brigade

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