Lv 6
PRS asked in PetsOther - Pets · 1 decade ago

Horse Trailer loading issues.?

I have a young horse that had not been hauled much but I had never had issues loading him in a horse trailer. My friend has an stock trailer and he went right up in that and he backed back off it with no problems several times. My other friend has a real nice slant load with rear tack compartment and ramp. He went on that trailer just fine too but wouldn't back off. I know it's because he couldn't see behind him. My two friends got all over me about how he should back off the trailer and it is "wrong" to allow him to turn around and walk off. I didn't see the problem but I took their advise and loaded him on the trailer and then me and the horse fussed and fought about whether or not he would back off - he is very hard headed and stubborn. As he is very much bigger than me he won, he turned around and walked off. Now I can't get him back on the trailer. I did this against my better judgement and now because of this he had a bad experience and won't get back on. Any ideas?


I don't have my own trailer. My friend left her trailer here for the week and will be taking it back on saturday. Gotta get this fixed soon as we are planning a camping trip end of January and the big baby is the whole reason I 'm going in the first place so he can experience new trails, different environment, new horses etc.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    thanks for all the info! It's really helpful when people actually take time to describe their problem in depth. I'll see if I can help you with this =)

    You mentioned you don't have a trailer available to practice on. That's okay, first start with his ground manners. I have no idea how his ground manners are, so I'll start from scratch. (and believe me, this does connect with trailer loading) How is his leading? Does he walk ahead of you or lag behind? If he walks ahead, the quick way to fix this is to back him up if his nose ever passes your hip. If he lags behind, you'll have to teach him to give to pressure, which I strongly suggest even if he walks ahead.

    If you aren't sure, have a trainer help you or even rent a few horse training DVDs or books to help you train your horse to give to pressure. He should take a few steps forward when you put slight pressure on the lead rope away from him, and he should back up when you put slight pressure on the lead rope towards him. So then if he feels pressure on the lead rope while you lead him (whether he lags behind or walks ahead) he should give to the pressure and come back to your shoulder.

    Perfect his leading manners before you move on. Since you already introduced backing up when you taught him to give to pressure, perfect that also. See how fast/how long you can get him to back up with just slight pressure on the lead rope. Don't get him frustrated though, start with a few steps and progress from there.

    Until you get access to a trailer, sharpen his leading/backing up skills. This isn't going to 'fix' his trailer loading problem, but it's a HUGE plus to help you fix it. Next time you have a trailer to practice on, see if he's nervous just walking around the trailer. If he is stop him about ten feet away from the trailer (you may have to stop him farther away or closer depending on how nervous he is). Let him look, and make sure you're calm as you can be. Do a few stretches, breathe deeply.

    Pet him and talk soothingly. When you're ready, take a few steps towards the trailer. He might tense up, but that's fine. If he willingly takes a few steps, reward him by backing him up away from it and letting him stand. Calm him down, praise him. When he's completely calm, get him a little closer to the trailer, then back him away. Each time you back him away, let him stand and calm down, and praise him. Keep taking him closer and closer like this until you're at the trailer. Ask him to put one hoof on the trailer. Don't give in until he does. All you should be doing is keeping a little pressure on the lead rope.

    When he offers you a step, reward him by backing away into his comfort zone. Next time ask him for two hoofs, and when he gives you that, back him into his comfort zone. Keep at this, inch by inch. Once he puts all four hoofs in the trailer, back him out into his comfort zone.

    In the end, you should be able to load him without any pressure on the lead rope. He should back out now that he knows backing means he gets to be comfortable. If he doesn't back, use the same method. Ask him to back a step, if he does stop and reward him until you're out of the trailer.

    This could be an all day project, depending on how well your horse wants to cooperate. don't give up and good luck!

    Source(s): horse owner/trainer
  • 1 decade ago

    First off not to say that you are wrong, just to correct you. A horse can see about 350degrees around them, that is only an itty bitty 10degrees they cant see directly behind them. So your horse was not having a problem because he couldn't see behind him.

    Horses are very basic creatures. Your guy does not have a loading problem. I think you do now. Your friends stole your confidence and made you do something you thought was wrong.

    Please Please do not just feed your horse in a trailer. This is dangerous and does not have the results you want. You need your horse to load when you ask, not just when he is hungry and feels like going in a trailer.

    Practice building you and your horses confidence. Put poles on the ground and walk your horse over them, walk him through gates, over bumps in the ground, etc. If your horse respects you and understand that when you ask him to do something he should do it, and he wont get hurt. Then he will do whatever you ask him to, whether it is going into a trailer, or leaving a burning building.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    both you and your friends have a good point if you would end up loading your horse in a narrow 2 horse trailer where it couldn't turn around then you would have a huge issue trying to get your horse out of the trailer. but you also have a good point cause if you can turn the horse around and it's easier for you and the horse the it's fine. maybe it would be better if the horse would do both. but your real question is how to get your horse back on a trailer. you said that the trailer would be at your house for a little while longer so i would just continue to try leading the horse in the trailer. you can bribe the horse with treats to get it up in the trailer and have another person help you out from behind so the horse doesn't try and back out or go off to the side. i hope you can get your horse on the trailer and have fun on your camping trip

  • 1 decade ago

    You need to start at step one. Forget the past and work on the current conditions. You have a horse that will not get on the trailer. You probably know that the reason is a prior bad experience (with you). You need to erase that experience by creating good experiences with him. You need to work on getting the horse to put himself on the trailer. Lunge him behind the trailer with the doors open. Just walk and trot in a small circle. Make sure you have his full attention. Let him look at the trailer on his way trotting by. Move him in and out on the lunge line around the circle. Then, let him lunge right onto the trailer. Do this over and over. You will then have a self-loading horse. If he doesn't go on the first time you direct him there, keep lunging. He can stop and rest on the trailer, but not on the circle. Hope this helps.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I have the same problem with one of my horses, he will get on just fine but wont back off! The horse really should back off but we can't figure out a way to make him, we've tried almost everything! so we just let him turn around. As far as loading goes, do you have access to a trailer at all times? If so, feed him dinner on the trailer for a few nights until he gets on easily again. This may sound silly but it really does work, we've tried it, it may take a while at first, but all you need is a little patience, let him eat his whole dinner on the trailer. I hope this helps, good luck!

    Source(s): My own experience.
  • D
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    treats and encouragement. By making a fuss about it- he associated the trailer with bad things- you never want to negatively reinforce once they are actually in the trailer.

    To get him in- take his favorite treat/grain bucket and set it in the trailer so he has to walk in to get it- it has worked with every horse I have ever worked with.

    For unloading, it takes time to get a horse to back up- have someone shake a grain bucket behind him, -let him turn to look but not actually turn around. That will get most horses backed up in a second.

    As for turning him around- it is fine now, but what happens when he is too big to turn around? Then you will have a problem.

    You need to be just as stubborn with him- keep asking him to back up but just sit there if he doesn't- don't give in and turn him around or he has won. That leads you into a ton of dominance issues which may eventually end up with you getting seriously injured.

    Another way to try is a rope around his chest and someone pulling him back as you push back to give him the extra hint.

    Good luck, and if you think this is over your head, please get professional help- one good load and unload may be the trick. Do not listen to your friends- they do not seem experienced at all to suggest a fight in the trailer.

  • Zair
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    A real plus for you is your eagerness to help your horse be a good camper. This can serve as a good experience for you both.

    Working with Search and Rescue during fires,floods,and disasters of many kinds, I've never known a horse not to cooperate fully with our help. We,and the trailers are strange.Some horses are in great pain or horribly hurt, or a victim of a trailer wreck. Yet they get right back in.. a trailer! Rarely do we have the luxury of bribing with feed, as surgery might be needed or fire and smoke might out race us.We do not tranq or drug them.

    We have transported hundreds of disaster victims,and the horse never fails to rekindle my awe of their forgiving nature.

    We use a combination of confidence and skill,and thus they trust us.

    Earn his trust back and worry not how he exits..leave that to your friends to worry about. You have a camping trip to plan!


    1. He is YOUR horse and not you'r friends. Ignore thier well inteded jabs at your confidence and get back to your horse.

    2. DO not fall into feeding or bribing him at every spook, be it a scrap of paper, a jacket on a post, a garbage truck or a wildfire. His trust in you is what you are training,not his tastbuds.

    3.Be confident, assured and clear.

    4.Parked trailers are not training tools. Often unsupervised, horses are injured daily by this dangerous backyard "cure".

    5. He can see quite well behind himself, so if you wish to back him up, know he can, and you will avoid a fight.

    6. You are his mentor, his friend and his sence of security. You are shaping a youngster to be a fun companion for many years to come.Your' young horse will grow to be secure and safe in every aspect Add,and is'nt that what it is all about?

    These sites are about Hurricane Katrina Horse rescues: if they load won't yours?

    Good luck and happy trails! I hope this helps.

    Source(s): Search and Rescue California Wildfires Katrina rescue horses
  • If the horse isn't going to injure himself or anyone else then I wouln'd worry about how he unloads. There is no "proper" way to unload a horse from a trailer. The only thing besides injuring any body is don't let him go flying out the trailer.

    As far as getting him in the trailer we used food bribes to get my mare back in the trailer. We also used butt ropes and powerful pursuation. Don't give up.

  • 1 decade ago

    when your loading off of a big trailer like you suggested that youve been using the proper way is to lead them out.If you have a small 2 horse trailer that you have no choice but to back them out than thats different. I wouldnt listen to your friends if i were you, ive been dealing with horses my whole life and i say whatever is comfortable to you and your horse do that.Go to any horse show and watch them unload their horses.(better yet tell your friens to watch them) majority of the people will WALK not back there horses out!!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Make it where he sees the trailer as a resting place. Work him, lunge him, do anything that seems like work and wears him down outside of the trailer, then when you get him on the ramp of the trailer let him rest. If he wants to go into the trailer let him but dont push him. Keep working him and letting him rest by the trailer and each time you work him, make him go farther into the trailer. If you didnt quite understand me, please contact me by email or I found out this information from Clinton Anderson. I like his ways of training and find them to be very helpful and useful.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.