Ideally, you have been a trailer driver for so long that you are completely used to horse trailers and can load and unload them with ease and grace. However, it doesn’t hurt to know a few tips to help you do it in a way that is safest for your horses. Remember that no matter how calm your horse is, it can mess up by slipping, stepping back or even spooking and setting off an unfortunate chain of events that leave it injured, especially if you haven’t taken the necessary precautions with respect to such things as loading your horse, tying it and untying it are concerned. Here are a few tips to help you get through the trailer loading process in the safest way possible.
Make Sure the Trailer Is Ready
Before you take the horse out of its pen, make sure you get the horse trailer ready for the loading process. Start by hooking the trailer up to your truck or other hauling vehicle. Make sure everything is working they it is supposed to, including the brake connections, tire pressure, blinkers and lights. Once the trailer is hooked properly, drive it to an area that is both flat and open so that you reduce the chances of your horse stepping on rocks and other items. Close all the windows and doors in the trailer securely. You should generally never have windows open when driving your trailer as your horse could bump its head on an object by the side of the road or things could fly into its eyes. Closing them also ensures that your horse doesn’t try to escape through small openings, which could injure it severely.
Open the Stock Door Before Loading Your Horse
Open the door at the back of the stock compartment in the trailer and prepare the feed for your horse as well as its footing. Remember, it is still in its pen this whole time.
Load Your Horse into the Trailer and Shut the Door
Have your horse fitted with a halter that is comfortable, and then lead it to the horse trailer gently. You may have to use a rope halter if you’re still teaching it ground manners. Lead it into the trailer and shut the door to the stock compartment before you tie your horse. If your trailer is slant loaded, you should secure the partition to the compartment before shutting the door. Do not tie your horse while the compartment door is open, however, to avoid a panicky horse.
Tie the Horse Down
Once the compartment door is securely closed, tie the horse and leave through the human escape door. Alternatively, you can carry out the tying as you stand outside the trailer.
Unload at the Destination Properly
Once you arrive, make sure you park in an area that is flat and open for the unloading. Perform the loading in reverse. Start by untying the horse, and then open the stock compartment door after making sure the horse is fully untied. You can then back the horse out of the horse trailer and tack up the trailer.
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