It’s probably safe to wager that every single blogger out there has at least one post about trailer loading.
Being stranded with a stubborn donkey is never fun.
I had spent Thursday evening working on trailer loading in anticipation of hauling to the lesson Friday. By the time we finished he was on and off no issue. Friday morning he loaded right up at home again no issue.
Yet there I found myself, confidence a bit shaky, in a torrential downpour with my horse refusing to get on the trailer. It was embarrassing. I almost left him on consignment.
Of course it wasn’t entirely his fault. The rain probably felt wonderful on his lathered skin after that lesson, a giant puddle had formed right at the base of the ramp and some dumbass had parked the trailer in such a way that he had to walk through a tree to load straight. Ahem.
Still though. Flashbacks to being stranded at a trail head with Gem for 2 hours were running through my head.
As soon as the rain stopped, C came over to help and with her at front and me behind he leaped over the puddle and on the trailer the first try.
I’m very good at making mistakes. I hate making them twice.
Saturday I wanted him to have off figuring he’d be pretty sore after the lesson but the trailer was still hooked up so right before dinner I worked on self loading.
My go to set up is as below and it worked wonders for getting Gem to load. She never got to self loading status but I also never tried. I was happy she even got on it.
The first time I led him on to show him it was the same as the past two days and he walked straight on. Good boy.
Then I hooked up the longe and grabbed my dressage whip. The only thing I dislike about this set up is that he can still swing to the near side of the trailer but I figured that was his problem and he could figure out how to load on an angle if he was going to be stupid about it.
It took about 15 minutes before he was on and off like this with me standing outside the trailer.
I gave him a long grazing break and then hooked up the regular lead line and worked on him getting on with that.
The first time he tried to bulldoze through me which earned him a good smack with the whip on his shoulder. He didn’t try that again.
Maybe 5 minutes later and he was a self loading machine. I took him in for dinner, grabbed the other two, groomed everyone and then on the way back to the pasture we worked on it again.
He had retained it well and was getting on all by his lovely self with a few clucks from me. His best feature is how well he retains things. Hopefully this will prevent future issues with loading.
16 thoughts on “Trailer Loading”
Yay, good boy! One thing that frustrates me is when people say their horse doesn’t load well, but they never work on it at home. So props to you for tackling the problem!
Working with him made me think that I should throw Pete on the trailer from time to time to keep him sharp. He is retired but you never know when you need to go to the vet or evacuate or some such thing. He hasn’t ever balked but it’s been over a year. I should probably every couple months load him just to keep him sharp.
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Nice work! Great to have that practice in and successful!
He learns pretty easily when he puts his mind to it
It sounds like some good work. I wonder too, if the sound of the rain in the trailer wasn’t throwing him off a bit.
Probably. It really wasn’t the best of conditions but I hate being stranded and feeling helpless.
OMG his facial expression in the stall KILLS me! I’m dying,
He was pissed because I had Pete in the crossfire and was grooming him then took him out and grabbed Gem. He was getting completely ignored while the others were getting attention and he was so upset about that. He is a goof ball
Ah yes, we all have trailer loading horror stories, that’s for sure! Self-loading is the BEST
Watching P load himself made me really want to work hard at it. Gem was a lost cause by that point. I was always a bit shocked she loaded even with all the miles we did hauling to trails and rides.
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good for you for getting in some productive practice! trailering issues are the freakin worst. with isabel, if she was gonna have problems it would always be when we were first leaving our farm. she ALWAYS was happy to go home at the end of the day tho. charlie, on the other hand, is more likely to have his problems trying to get back on the trailer to come home. which like, ugh. c’mon bro. i’ve never regretted taking the extra time to practice tho!
I sorta wonder if I am a terrible driver and don’t know it even though I go slow and take turns and stops easy because Gem and now H’Appy load at home just fine but refuse to return home. Maybe PTSD from the drive there? I dunno.
I know I’ve mentioned my fears with loading a few times and my amazement that I’ve had no issues yet this year. I do think I’ve finally figured out my system for loading at home as that’s where our issues always are.
Good job for practicing!
See mine are fine at home but then never want to get back on. I’d much rather have an issue at home where I can plan for it and make the time. Once out and about it sucks.
Fingers crossed the lesson sticks!
I’m hoping it does but if not at least the basics are in there and he will just need a refresher.