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"Ask-Cherry" - Hauling
How to Handle 8
How do I prevent my
horse from bolting from the trailer?
do I haul one horse?
do I need to check my horse when traveling?
month's questions tells me that you are on the road again or want to be. I've
answered a few trailer related questions here and included a link to a booklet
that I wrote for Farnam: "Safe Trailering Guide".
I am having a problem with my horse who has picked up this habit of bolting out
of the horse trailer when we open the back. Its at the point where it takes 2
people to load her since she will bolt. I'm scared that one of my kids will get
hurt since she comes out so forcefully once the butt-bar is taken down. Any help
would be GREATLY appreciated. - Mitzi
start fixing unloading problems you need to work on in-hand work and loading.
You state in your question that it takes 2 people to load her which indicates
that is where you need to start - with the loading. Start from square one reviewing
all in hand work. Some of these things might be a quick review and others will
show you where your horse's "holes" are and where you need to work. Here's a checklist
to get you going:
- Head Down
- Whoa on a Long Line
Next to You
- Respecting Your Personal Space
- Turn on the Forehand
- Side Pass
- Backing Through obstacles such as rails,
- Turn on the Center in a Box
- Crossing odd footing such
as concrete, wooden bridge
- Standing on elevated platform
Under a safe low ceiling such as a tarp
- Leading past the Trailer
are step-by-step photo instructions for these lessons and more in
Trailering Your Horse
Once you and your horse have mastered all
of these things, sending her into the trailer will be a piece of cake, very anti-climactic.
When you DO start loading here again in the trailer, just ask her to take ONE
STEP AT A TIME. You might make her stand with just her front feet in and then
back her out. This may take days or weeks but when you have finished, you will
have a solid horse that will retain the good habits for life.
My question relates
to safely hauling one horse! I have been advised to load him on the left side
of my stock trailer as opposed to the right side. Told it's safer for the horse
and better balance for trailer and truck. My trailer has no divider down the middle,
just a "rear" gate in the middle. He seems to haul just fine on the right side
but everyone tells me BIG mistake, haul on the left side when hauling just one
horse!! Help!!! Thanks very much in advance for your input! - Alice
Yes, indeed. When you haul one horse in a trailer, it is best to
put the horse on the left side of the trailer so that the weight of the horse
is up on the crown of the road. The crown is the highest portion of the road at
the center of the road. Many roads slope downward from the crown toward the shoulder
of the road so if you put a horse in the right side of your trailer, his weight
would tend to pull the trailer off the road toward the shoulder. This may not
be a big issue if you are hauling on an absolutely flat interstate highway, for
example, but if you were hauling on a narrow or mountainous road, where there
is often a ditch very close to the edge of the road, you would see why this is
an important rule to follow.
Dear Cherry, I am a relatively new horse owner and will be trailering
my horse to trail rides this summer. I need to learn all the things I should and
shouldn't do when I am traveling with my horse such as when do I stop, what do
I do, unload my horse? What else do I need to know? Chaylean
I've written two publications that answer these questions. The most thorough
answers are found in
The other publication that answers trailering questions
is a booklet I wrote for Farnam called the Safe
Trailering Guide. Below is an excerpt which should answer your questions.
Safe Trailering Guide (excerpt)
If horse is wearing a sheet or
blanket, slip your hand under it. If the horse is wet, he is too hot or has broken
into a nervous sweat. Depending on the situation, you might change the blanket,
unload the horse, or put a cooler on the horse to help him dry gradually. Check
and adjust vents.
Perform a pinch test to
evaluate level of dehydration. Know what is normal for your horse.
the horse water with electrolytes.
If you suspect
a problem, take the horse's temperature, pulse and respiration and capillary refill
time. Know what is normal for the horse.
manure from the back of the trailer.
wraps and tail wraps.
Keep your horse on his
regular feeding schedule.
In general, clean grass
hay is the safest traveling ration but feed your horse the type of hay he is accustomed
If you are going
to travel over 400 miles or 8 hours, consider stopping for the night or at least
unloading the horse for an hour of exercise or turnout.
a horse is not urinating regularly on a long trip, you can encourage him to urinate
en route by bedding the trailer stall deeply with sawdust. Be sure to remove urine
soaked bedding to prevent irritation to the horse's respiratory tract from ammonia
fumes. Some horses that are reluctant to urinate on board will readily urinate
when unloaded along a grassy roadside or in a turnout pen.
can read the entire Safe
Trailering Guide here:
to Handle 8 Trailering Emergencies
article in the June 2002 Western Horseman, page 52 - 58.
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