When a horse has a problem with backing out of a trailer most owners will assume that the horse is scared of backing out the trailer. Issues such as not backing out,or backing out too quickly are actually issues that stem from not being taught to load properly in the first place. The bottom line is that neither of these types of horses are truly comfortable on the trailer.
Horses that are afraid of being on a trailer will either lock up and not move, or they will panic and come crashing out anyway possible. The only answer to either of these scenarios is to teach your horse not to dread being on the trailer.
What gets most horse owners in trouble with their horses unloading is that they get in a hurry and accept the simple fact that their horse went on the trailer. They don’t break the trailer loading process down enough. Breaking the trailer loading process down step by step helps to eliminate many backing out problems that horses have.
One simple way to teach your horse to unload safely is by teaching him to go on the trailer literally a step at a time. Ask for one foot one on the trailer and then same foot off the trailer. Repeat with the same one foot over and over until your horse is obviously ok with putting that one foot on the trailer. Signs such as blowing air out, licking and chewing, lowering their head and relaxing their muscles are all signs that your horse is starting to relax.
Next repeat the same process with two feet. Do not proceed to the third and then fourth foot until your horse has accepted being halfway on the trailer first. As always, don’t get in a hurry and make sure your horse has accepted the current steps before asking more from your horse.
If you have asked your horse to put each foot on and off the trailer one hundred times, then your horse has already unloaded his feet four hundred times! Although it is somewhat backwards to our thinking, the side effect of teaching to load properly is that they also learn to unload in the same process.
As always, safety is of utmost importance when hauling your horse. Horses that back out quickly feel trapped and will panic if the are still tied while the divider door is open. Because of this tendency, it’s a good idea to always make sure your horse is untied before you open the trailer divider to unload them. Also to avoid accidents, it’s a good idea to wait until they’re locked in to tie them when loading.
Take the time to properly teach your horse to load and follow these simple safety rules to make your horse’s trailering experience a pleasant one