Boxing Clever - how to deal with a reluctant loader
As a horse behaviourist I meet a lot of horses who have never received any training in loading or travelling. I also meet a lot of horses who only ever travel in a trailer or horsebox when they are moving home, going to the vet or if there is an emergency. Not surprisingly, this can be a recipe for disaster.
When you stop and think about it, walking into an enclosed space and being transported in a horsebox or trailer is not a natural thing for a prey animal and requires a bond of trust between the horse and its owner. If your horse trusts you to load him into a trailer and transport him even short distances the least you can do is ensure the vehicle is safe, roadworthy and that your horse has the most comfortable ride you can give him.
If your horse is already a good loader then you can turn your attention to making sure the vehicle is safe, correctly loaded and that you drive smoothly and considerately and make his experience as positive as possible. I suspect, however, that as you are reading my blog on loading problems, you may be one of many horse owners who stumble at the first hurdle – getting their horse to walk happily into a horsebox or trailer in the first place.
Before I share my loading tips with you, be warned – there are no quick fixes where loading problems are concerned. Success will depend upon you remaining calm, consistent and getting the right help as trying to force a horse to load will ultimately lead to more problems and could lead to injury for you and your horse.