Successful Loading Part 4 - Getting Ready to Travel

So in the last 3 blogs I have looked at the basics of loading, building confidence and building motivation to load. In this blog I’d like to look at getting ready to travel.

Have you checked your vehicle 🧐

Before even thinking about shutting your horse in it’s worth pointing out that some loading and travelling problems come from problems with the vehicle. For example if the tyre pressures aren’t right, this can lead to a bumpy ride for your beloved friend and make them reluctant to go on again so if you’ve taken the time to do the preparation it makes sense to get your vehicle checked to ensure they’re going to have a good experience when they travel.

Back onto training

There are loads of training methods that have techniques for loading, loads of blogs too!! But what do you do when your horse is on board? Just shut him in? Well in some cases this will be fine, once their on some horses seem quite happy to stay in and the problem is solved. However for some horses the process of getting them shut in and ready to travel is a bit more involved.

Getting ready to go 🚛

I travel with my horses on my own quite a bit so I need them all to be confident enough to wait while I tie them, close off partitions and close the ramp. One of the most dangerous positions is the other side of a partition or ramp with half a tonne of animal trying to get out as soon as possible. There’s not a lot of space and it’s really easy to get injured. So before I travel I like to get my horses used to being closed in.

Once you’ve got your horse happy to load, stand and eat hay, the next step is to get them used to the partition closing or the back bar being put up in the case of a trailer.

I do this a number of times then unload my horse so they get used to the idea that closing them in doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be trapped 😳 I’ll go through the same process with closing the ramp until I can do all of this without my horse getting worried.

Another thing to note is that I make it a point that I teach all my horses wait before I ask them to come out, this is something I never compromise on, it’s just too dangerous for horses to get into a habit of flying out down the ramp. If you have difficulty with this teaching your horse to back up from the headcollar will help, you can do this away from the trailer then come back to asking them to wait on board. Us