Mistake #1 – Thinking your horse is like a dog or a cat.
Unless the new horse owner has been educated, they may think their horse is like a cat or dog. The new horse owner may pat his thigh and say, “C’mon” a few times and the horse will just leap into the trailer like a happy dog.
Mistake #2 – Using food as bait
Another mistake they often make is putting hay, grain, apples or some other food at the front of the trailer to tempt a horse to step in to get the food. This almost never works. If it did, it would be a stroke of luck. Some horses will lean in and try to get the food, but they wouldn’t step into the trailer if their life depended on it.
Mistake #3 – Forgetting to hook the trailer to the truck
Some new horse owners will forget the hitch the trailer to the truck before trying to get the horse into the trailer. With the trailer unhooked, when the horse steps into the trailer, the trailer is going to wobble around. This is going to spook the horse making it more difficult to get him into a trailer the next time.
Mistake #4 – Starting a “Tug-o-War” with your horse
Some people will try to pull on the lead rope to get their horse into the trailer. This turns into a classic game of “tug-o-war”. Now who do you think is going to win, you or the thousand pound creature you are pulling on.
Getting a horse loaded into a trailer is a challenge, but trying one of these methods will only frustrate you or get you hurt.
Mistake #5 – Going trail riding before the horse is good at loading into a trailer
Many horse owners will get their horse into the trailer once and think that training is over. So when they decide to go trail riding, the horse won’t get back into the trailer. The main reason for this is because the did not practice getting on and off the trailer enough to fix it into the horse’s brain.
If seems to be there is always one time a horse owner won’t be able to get their horse onto a trailer. The secret is to teach the horse sending signals so that the horse will know what you want him to do. Some of this has to do with how the person and the horse communicate.
If you ever find yourself in the position of not being able to get the horse into the trailer, here is a quick solution. Get a long rope and loop it over his rear and let it slide down until it reaches the top of his back legs. Let the rope hit his back legs and watch for his reaction. You will need to be holding onto the rope with your right hand and the horse’s halter in your left. He may kick at the rope, but if he doesn’t that means he doesn’t have a problem with the location of the rope.
If he kicks at the rope, he will need to get accustom to it. Just let the rope hang there and touch his back legs. The horse may become jumpy and will try to move away from it. He may move forward or in a circle. As you hang on to the halter, stiffen your left arm just a bit and make him go around you as you still hold the rope and the halter.
Soon the horse will realize the rope isn’t hurting him allow you to move on to the next step. Pull on the rope to make the horse move with you. As the horse moves forward away from your pull, release the pressure. You want him to understand that he is to move when you apply the pressure. He should understand fairly quick what you want.
Now lead him to the trailer and steer his head into the trailer if necessary. With the lead rope in place on the halter, you will pull on the lead rope as you are pulling on the butt rope. Your horse may not leap into the trailer; chances are good that he will. Be careful when you are using this method. The horse could pop when in the trailer and you could get hurt. You have him in the trailer and now you can be on your way.