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How to Train a Horse to Trailer 2021

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Yank an unwilling horse into a trailer, and the horse may never overcome its fear. Be patient and allow for weeks of training if necessary. Even if you're trying to take the to a show, stop and cancel your plans if it doesn't cooperate. A traumatized horse won't perform well anyway, and may show distrust or fear toward you for a long time.

Steps

1Give the horse a bucket of treats each day. Drop a few oats into a bucket and leave it at the horse's bedtime stall each morning. Repeat this for several weeks, to get the horse comfortable and excited when he sees the bucket.

2Gradually move the bucket into the trailer. After several weeks, place the now familiar treat bucket inside the trailer. Leave it about 2 feet (0.6 meters) from the entrance, on the floor. Let the horse approach the bucket on his own.

3Lead the horse further back. Wait until the horse can walk up to the trailer calmly, and repeats this for several days with no signs of fear. Move the bucket into the trailer feed bin where it can be easily seen. Lead the horse up to the back of the trailer.

4Let the horse leave on its own. During training each day, let the horse leave the trailer when he wants. Stand nearby and talk in a soothing voice. Some horses may take an hour or longer to leave. This takes patience, but will make the horse much more comfortable and cooperative.

5Practice tying the horse up. Practice passing the (shortened) lead rope through the open window at the front of the trailer and tying the horse. The rope should be slack, so the horse can turn its head and eat from the feed bag.

6Use extra special treats before traveling. At this point, the horse should practically load itself. When it comes time to travel in the trailer, add some special treats on top of the hay bag, such as slices of apples and carrots.

You can also try this whenever the horse is reluctant to enter during training.

7Load the horse to the trailer. When it comes time to travel, you'll want to go through extra preparation to make sure the horse is comfortable. If your horse gets skittish about any of this, let the horse adjust on its own.