Q&A Questions and Answers:
I've owned my horse going on two years, and am planning on buying a trailer fairly soon - I'm thinking he will load fairly easy, but are there any specific Do's and Don'ts that I should know about? Like - should you always have a hay sack for them to munch on while you are traveling? (I only plan to make trips to ride of about an hour away) I plan on just loading and unloading him a few times before I actually haul him - would that be a good idea? These are just a couple things I thought of, but I really do not know the proper procedures - I don't want to scare him.
Thanks for you help.
P.S. I am looking at a BEE slant load (two horse) trailer - looks really nice, like the tack in the back. Any thoughts?
You're wise to be considering these things before you buy the trailer and need to get the horse loaded!
I like the slant load design. Having the stalls at an angle seems to be much more comfortable for the horses. BEE makes a variety of trailers, including a lot of custom-designed units, so I don't know if it's a step-up or ramp model. I have a strong preference for trailers with ramps.
As for training the horse to load, just take it slow and make it as pleasant an experience as possible. If you can, park the trailer in the field with the horse, and even offer a bait of grain or other treat while you are standing inside the trailer. Ideally, you'll be able to train the horse to enter and exit the trailer on his own -- with no tugging on a lead -- making it a much more enjoyable event for both horse and handler. It takes time and patience, but it can be done! (especially with a ramp entry trailer.)
I've also found that horses tend to be spooked by the "thunder" sound made by moving around inside a trailer. I'll de-sensitize a horse by clomping around inside and banging my hand on the roof and sides -- meanwhile telling the horse how good he is and how much fun it is to hear all that racket! (Sounds silly, I know, but it seems to work for me!)
Yeh, the hay sack is a good idea -- horses are designed to be grazing almost constantly. Also, remember to take regular rest stops where the horse has an opportunity to just stand still for a while. Depending on the weather, water can also be fairly important during those breaks.
I hope this helps.
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