Suppose you are taking your horse to a competition. You have trained your horse well, and everyone is excited to attend the competition. You are good to go, but at the last moment, your horse throws tantrums while loading into the trailer. Or what if your horse gets injured while unloading from the trailer?
All these incidents are common if you have a pretty anxious horse for hauling. In many cases, even if your horse is well-experienced and trained in traveling, still the horse may get nervous or catch stress at the time of towing.
What is the reason behind this anxiety about horses? How can we take our horses out of this distress? How can we safely load and unload our horses in the trailer? All such queries will be answered after reading this article. Let’s dive in to find the solutions to all your problems with loading and unloading warm-blooded horses.
What are the difficulties we face while loading and unloading the horse in the trailer?
Why does your horse get anxious while loading and unloading? The reason is the horse’s anxiety. Whenever we load a horse inside the trailer, it catches the instinct that we are going to confine that horse. Moreover, horse stress also depends upon the personality of your horse.
If your horse is introverted, it might get inside the trailer without throwing tantrums unless they think that you are a predator. But if your horse is extroverted, it may react badly and show strong recession while packing and unpacking.
Moreover, if you force your horse to enter the trailer, it may get out of control which can make it suffer from injuries in rage. Even if you become successful in threatening and compelling your horse inside the trailer, the horse may still catch leg injuries while getting inside forcefully. Such injuries can affect the performance of your warm-blooded horse in a competition.
Tips to reduce the anxiety of horses while loading and unloading
The list of tips and tricks to reduce horse stress while packing and unpacking includes:
1. Choosing a fair trailer:
The best thing one can do to reduce the difficulties while loading and unloading are to buy a decent trailer. A huge lavish trailer clean trailer appeals to your horse to get inside it. It builds trust among the horses that they are getting into a safer place. Such hefty luxurious trailers are costly. But after thorough research and our own experience, we have found Double D trailers safe tack horse trailer that are affordable, impressive enough to persuade your horse to enter the trailer and safest trailer for loading horses.
2. Less feeding
Yes! You read that right. The horse’s stress also depends upon the amount of hay and food your horse is consuming. If your horse is eating excessive food grains and carbs, it will be filled with extra energy which it will use while tossing blowups during saddling and unloading. You should fix your horse’s diet way before the day you need to load your horse before hauling. You should not even give extra hay to your horse while traveling to avoid short tempers while unloading.
3. Separate slowly
Horses are social animals. They grow a strong bond with the other horses on their team. If you separate them suddenly, they don’t tend to accept it and behave rudely. That’s why you should start separating your horses many days before traveling. You should start it with one hour, then three, and then gradually for two or three days. This develops the habit of thriving alone.
4. Preparing exercise chart
You should make sure that your horse is performing enough exercises at the end of the day. You should let your horse wander, play and ride on its own. If a horse remains locked in a stable all the time, it starts catching the feeling of being trapped which inflates anxiety.
5. Arrange training sessions
You can organize training sessions to train your horse how to enter and exit the horse. Moreover, you can also take your horse on several short rides before the real journey to give it an idea of not getting imprisoned in a trailer.
How to safely load the horse inside the trailer?
There is a difference between horse and cargo. You can’t just fill your horse in a trailer and start hauling. You have to follow a series of safe steps to safely load your horse. The list of steps includes:
- Make the trailer your horse’s best friend
First of all, choose a big and clean trailer. Secondly, start taking your horse on short rides before hauling. Don’t force the horse. Instead, let it examine the trailer. It may enter it and sniff around out of curiosity. Reward your horse every time it comes out of the trailer. The reward can be an appreciation or some food treats. Gradually the horse will get comfortable with it and may enter the trailer by just listening to your order.
- How to treat the anxious horse?
What if your horse lacks confidence and doesn’t enter the trailer as mentioned in the t step? In this case, you have to be extra careful. Take your horse near the trailer on the first day. If it gets scared, take the horse away from the trailer. Don’t push anything. Day by day, when you repeat the same steps, the phases will get stuck in the horse’s subconscious mind, and gradually it will not get scared anymore.
- Keeping your horse inside the trailer
Once your horse is comfortable around the trailer, it is time to take it inside. If your horse gets anxious after entering the trailer, take it out as soon as possible. Its first experience with the trailer should be smooth. When your horse is inside the trailer, ensure that there is nothing wrong inside the box. Adore the horse and start playing with the accessories present inside the horse. You can day by day increase the horse visiting time inside the trailer.
- Giving “back off” signs in between
Avoid coercing the horse in the trailer. Even if your horse’s only two legs are inside the trailer, you can give it some back-off signs of coming out. It gives rise to trust in the eyes of your horse that it is not any trap and they can come out of it whenever they want.
- Use accessories including doors, dividers, and butt bars
Keep using these accessories in front of your horse regularly to get used to these routines. When they realize the movement of these things during real hauling, they will not fear such substances. Make sure you have properly locked and tied the door from the outside before untying the horse.
How to unload the horse from the trailer?
The very first step to unloading a horse from the trailer is to untie its halter. Go in front of the trailer and untie it carefully. Now slowly release the butt bar. Make sure you have a friend with you while opening butt bars so if the horse gets out of control, both of you may control it.
It’s time to get inside the trailer to your horse. Always stand near the shoulders or head of your horse. Order the horse to get back off the trailer. Make sure that your horse is not getting off the trailer in anxiety. Keep appreciating it in between the pull-offs. Gradually invite your horse to all legs outside the trailer. Congratulations! You have successfully and safely unloaded your darling horse.
This stuff seems simple while reading but may not be that easy while implementing it in reality. The horse may catch serious leg injuries while loading and unloading. The escape doors should not have any sharp ends. Their leg injuries are sometimes fatal or lead to lifetime disability. That’s why you should always make your horse practice unloading at least ten to fifteen days of real traveling. In just three long distances hauling, your horse will become a real master in entering and exiting the trailer without injuries.
A decent trailer matters
Hence, this was all about the tips and tricks on how to safely load and unload your horse to and from the trailer. Many difficulties may come in this process. But the majority of them can get reduced by buying a decent trailer that is huge, clean, and appealing for your horse to stay in.