Despite the crazy spring weather we've been having, soon we will all find the need to load our horses and go somewhere ....... even if its only a trip to the vet! When was the last time you had your horse in the trailer? If it was last fall or summer, your pony may not be so keen on getting in the "rolling cave".
This is where I see a lot of trailer loading problems start and go down hill from there. The horse is reluctant to load so what happens? The person on the end of the lead rope gets frustrated and starts to "power-up" with the horse. This can be either mental or physical (usually both!). What is critical about this is the increase in human activity is physical and is happening right at the back of the trailer ....... the worst place to start becoming more assertive with the horse!
There are a fair number of factors that come into play with loading, hauling and unloading your horse. Let's look at one of the major ones.
Probably the biggest one is TIME. Time means nothing to a horse and everything to the human. Your horse could care less that he has a vet appointment and you are under time constraints to get there ....... a conflict in the making! First you have to catch the horse, then get him to the trailer (after you have already spent the time to hook-up, check out, and park somewhere to load) then get him in the trailer and ready to roll. So you get to the back of the trailer and the horse balks, pulls back or turns away. Bet the first thing you do is look at your watch! How do you minimize your frustration? Well, the old adage of "if you're going to a gun fight, load your guns before you go" applies. Do all your hook-up, trailer checks, junk loading and parking the night before. I've even gone so far, knowing the horse I'm hauling is hard to catch, to pen him up in a catch pen or small corral the night before. Give yourself plenty of time to load and get to where you're going. I've spent my share of time waiting at my destination because I got there early, but spend that time doing a little grooming and rubbing on the horse .... let him know getting there was worth the trip!
Check back latter for more thoughts on the great trailer loading problems!