At our training centre we train horses every day that have a problem with something. Often these also include trailer loading problems. A horse that does not want to load is one of the biggest challenges for many owners. And to be honest, it also takes a lot of time. Usually this is not about training duration, but about picking up the horses. After all, you can’t say: “Just bring your horse over, we will fix it for you.” We often find ourselves on the road to pick up horses or train on location.
A few years ago I was having a long day on the road, teaching four horses to load in different locations. It even went so far that I had to convince a horse in Belgium to load on the trailer that it had not wanted to be on for six months. We instruct the owners in advance to prepare the trailer with the car hitched up and on a suitable surface. That saves me a lot of time, because otherwise you will see that the trailer we need is right behind the trailer with a lock on it and you will be busy trying to sort all of that out for a good while before you can actually start. And time on such a day is precious, so being able to get started right away is ideal. And yes, all of that was very well arranged at the address in Belgium. The 1,5 pony / horse trailer was neat but certainly not large, and was ready and waiting for us exactly in the right place. Enthusiastically I walked into the stable looking for the owners, whom I quickly found. A friendly couple who had six horses at their home. After a brief introduction, I asked the owner which horse we would be working with. I did not have to walk far and found a huge grey in the stable, at least 1.80m at the withers! Reluctantly I asked the owner, “Are you sure it fits on the trailer…?”
The owner’s wife indicated that she had her doubts about this. To be sure, we put it to the test. We measured the horse from chest to hindquarters, and then the trailer. It turned out that the horse would stick out at least 25 cm! The owner’s response spoke volumes: “Ah… now I understand. Every time I had the horse inside the trailer, but I couldn’t get it closed…!” Now this is a problem that can be solved quickly!
In retrospect, of course we laughed at this, but it is something that is very common. Make sure that your horse and trailer are suited to each other. It is much easier for a horse to load properly if the trailer fits its own height. It also benefits his behaviour while traveling!