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Trailer Loading [Part 2]
WRITTEN BY: Cheryl Sutor   [1998]

Training Question:

I have a problem with un-loading my horse. The day I went to buy him, he walked directly into the trailer with no problem...when we got home, I had to remove the partition to get him out. He wouldn't back out. Removing that partition was a pain in the neck. I realized that this was quite a problem since we trailer the horses everywhere! What can I do to teach him to back out of the trailer when I ask?
From: Jane

Trainer's Response: This is PART 2 of our Trailer Loading articles. It is geared toward horses who are not terrified of trailers, but just simply do not want to go in them or back out of them. If your horse is terrified of trailers, you may want to start with Trailer Loading [Part 1].

If your horse knows how to back well on flat ground then continue on to the steps below. Otherwise, you HAVE to teach him to back on the ground first!


Walk him directly toward the trailer as if you were going to walk in. Let him put ONLY ONE foot in the trailer, then immediately ask him to step out again. Do this a couple of times.


Repeat step one, but this time, let him put TWO feet into the trailer, then ask him to immediatly step out. Do this a couple times or until he gets the hang of it.


Repeat step two, but this time, ask him to step a little further into the trailer with only his front TWO feet. Don't ask him to step in with his hind feet yet! Then back him out again. Make sure he can step into the trailer with his front feet first...and back out like a pro, before you go on to step 4.


Repeat step three, this time asking him to put three feet into the trailer. Once ONE of his hind feet is in the trailer, ask him to back out again. This one may be tough...but take it slow and he will catch on quickly.


Once he can do step four very well, ask him to step into the trailer will all FOUR feet. Immediately back him out again. Repeat step 5 until he backs out nicely each time.

You may have to repeat this exercise 2-3 times (on different days) before he really gets the hang of it, so be patient! For most horses who do not have any fear of the trailer this only takes 15 minutes, but if there is even a small strain of fear, it will take longer, so be patient!

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This article was published on: 1998. Last updated on: 1998.