How well a horse loads and rides is always a key buying consideration, after all if the horse doesn’t ride happily this can cause big problems if you want to train or compete or even just go to the vet.
Why are some horses difficult to load?
There are many reasons why horses are difficult to load and some of them include:
- A poor or inadequate introduction to charging as a young horse.
- A previous bad experience that could have been an accident, poor driving techniques, or poor driving.
- Some horses object to certain types of transportation and not others, so for example, some horses will not travel in trailers, but are fine in trucks.
- Some horses simply care more about loading and traveling than others.
Horses can have problems with many different aspects of packing and travel, and it is important to determine exactly what is troubling your horse. Here is a selection of things that horses may dislike or worry about that may make them reluctant or impossible to charge:
- Entering a confined space that is darker than the outside
- Walking on ramps that are hollow.
- Loading on steep ramps
- Turn the truck around to go down the ramp
- Need for a narrower or wider gap – some horses need the entire area of the trailer and have to ride with the partition facing out and the sleepers
- Struggling to keep their balance when on the move, this is related to the way horses travel and the space they need, but can cause some horses to refuse to charge.
13 Tips to Help You Load a Difficult Horse
There is a lot of information online about loading difficult horses, as this is a very common problem and can be difficult to solve. Here are 13 tips to help you load a difficult horse.
- Put the right foundations in place – if the horse is not leading properly in the hand and trailing behind you or dragging you, it is highly unlikely that you will load it onto a truck or trailer. The horse must respect the guide. It also helps if you have a good bond with the horse.
- Have the right equipment – This should be planned in advance. For example, some horses need to wear a bridle for loading, while other people use a snap halter. You may want to lead on a lunge line rather than a leading rope as it is longer and gives you more options if the horse is being difficult.
- If you are nervous, ask someone else to carry – A naughty horse will immediately play with a handler who lacks confidence, a nervous horse will worry even more
- Try to identify what is specifically worrying your horse. – could be easy to solve, like leaving the front of the trailer open for light while loading or removing the center partition
- Always park the vehicle in a safe and sensible place so that both the horse and the guides are as free of risks as possible. Parking near a wall can help block an escape route or use the corner of a field or arena. It is important that the foundation around the vehicle is level and not slippery.
- Line up so the horse is facing the ramp – Whatever the problem, always try to keep your horse facing the ramp and not moving away from it, the same principle applies to jumping. You are more than halfway there if you can keep your horse straight and facing the vehicle.
- get someone to help you – If you have a complicated charger, you will need help as it is almost impossible to do it alone and certainly not safe. Ask a calm and calm person with horses for help, do not bring up the scene of the crowd, you will only annoy the horse, and everyone will try to add his opinion, which may not help.
- Park in a Quiet Place – If you have a horse that is difficult to carry back home, always try to park it in a quiet spot at the event or show. People often tend to congregate near a difficult charger and start trying to help, it may be well intentioned but it can interrupt what you are trying to do and just add stress to the situation.
- Avoid negative reinforcement – Do not train through negative reinforcement, give the horse options and make it responsible for its own behavior. Negative reinforcement may work for a while, but it won’t last.
- do not give up – Try and stick with it no matter how long it takes
- Change type of transport– Some horses only refuse to load on certain types of transport, this is not necessarily a cheap answer but may provide a solution
- Use a long rope or line -This allows the horse to move if it needs to and is ultimately safe if it behaves unpredictably.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat – Once you have solved the problem, you need to solidify the good behavior through repetition.
You are not going to solve the problem of a bad charger in the morning that you want or need to take the horse somewhere. It is better to accept that you will not go anywhere for a while and spend time at home trying to solve the problem.
If you are inexperienced, seek professional help to help you, which could be your instructor or a friend who is experienced and competent, or there are people who advertise their services specifically as experts in helping with problem horses. Be sure to research anyone you don’t know very thoroughly who hasn’t been directly referred to you by someone you trust.
Top tips to remember with charging
- Never charge in a hurry, even with a good charger, take your time and always leave plenty of time to get the job done
- If you are out of depth, get professional help, ultimately it will be much faster and safer.
- Try not to make the situation combative, no matter how frustrating it gets: once the horse realizes that its size and strength are in its favor, it’s very hard to win the argument.