Successful Loading Part 4 - 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. Usually the more confident your horse is up there the better they will be with this.
Once you’ve got your horse happily loading and standing on board ready to go you can start taking them out for a few journeys. I usually suggest that the first couple of trips are going out for a drive and coming home so they don’t instantly start to associate the journey with going somewhere strange, from there progress to something like a hack, clinic or lesson that’s going to be relatively easy for your horse before starting to go to competitions, by then you should be all set with a horse that’s happy to travel with you 😁🐴
Happy Loading!! 😊🦄💕
Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.
If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.
Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.
All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.