Horse Boxing Problems
Article by K Ratcliffe
We have had a number of problems with getting horses on trailers over the years. We usually used a car and double trailer for travel to competitions rather than a small wagon. Initially these were walk-on and back-off type trailers, rather than the modern ones where you have a separate front ramp and can lead the horse forwards off the trailer. Trailers often have poor shock absorbers and are surprisingly bumpy to travel in so I’m not surprised that some horses take a dislike to travelling long distances in them. Modern trailers and wagons are much improved.
Most of these problems can be sorted out with regular practice and some tips that worked for us:
If the horse walks past the side of the ramp, then position the trailer next to a building or in an alley to block off one or both side of the trailer. Another option is to place gates on each side of the trailer ramp.Lead the horse slowly towards the centre of the ramp. If the horse stops at the bottom of the ramp, get someone to approach from behind to encourage the horse forward. Do not turn to face the horse and pull on the lead! He will just pull backwards against this. Gradually encourage the horse to walk up the ramp. This may take some time and the horse may stop several times.If the horse is unfamiliar with trailers, rather than just misbehaving, you may want to feed it on the ramp. You will need to continue to practice regularly until the horse will stand quietly inside the trailer.It can help to put another horse in the trailer but this can make the available space smaller, so will not be useful in all cases.If you have a front-unload horse trailer, I would suggest lowering the ramp so the horse can see through the trailer and practice walking through it.
My interest in horses continues and the purpose of these articles is to pass on my thoughts and ideas on various equine subjects based on my 40 years of experience. Hopefully this will be both useful and of interest to others. For more please visit Equus Caballus Horse Blog