Teaching the reluctant horse to load

  • Do you have problems loading your horse?

    Rachel Norris from Equusense in Dorset — a centre which specialises in horses with behavioural problems — gives clear and useful advice about the techniques she recommends when teaching a reluctant horse to load.

    Rachel’s main tips for loading and unloading your horse safely, and minimising frustration and stress, are:

    • Always wear a hard hat, gloves and sturdy boots.
    • The horse’s legs should be protected with boots — ideally sports boots — and the tail with a bandage.
    • If the horse is difficult, use a pressure headcollar with a poll guard.
    • Always use a longline not a lead rope.
    • Establish the groundwork first, only move towards the ramp once your horse understands and respects your requests.
    • Keep your body language passive and your eyes looking at the horse’s feet.
    • Allow the horse time but keep the feet moving.
    • Release the pressure as soon as the horse even thinks about moving towards you.
    • Repetition is key.
    • NOTE: If you use a pressure headcollar to load NEVER tie the horse using the training rings or any part that will pull tight. For more difficult/dangerous loaders, or horses that have a genuine fear of loading/travelling, consult an experienced professional.

    This video is part of South West insurer Cornish Mutual’s “HorseSafe” campaign.

    It is being run in partnership with the animal rescue team at Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to improve the safety of horses during transport.

    Read more about travelling with your horse

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