Every spring and fall I have my Husband pull me around our neighborhood in my horse trailer. This way I can see and hear what my ponies do when I am hauling them. I can figure out if there are things that have rattled loose through the season and need to be fixed and to get a good idea of how it feels for them to ride in the trailer.
I think this is important for everyone to do.
There are parts of a trailer that can get really loud the older they are. That flat metal that is often used in the head part of a trailer divider is very loud and vibrates. The interesting thing about that is it doesn’t EVER stop vibrating. It’s deafening when driving on gravel roads but will continue to vibrate when you get onto the pavement. I can’t imagine how this is for a horse. But it does allow me to understand why a horse would become difficult to trailer load. Or be willing to get in the trailer but not be willing to STAY in the trailer.
Something else to consider when hauling a trailer… if you have one of the older two horse, straight load trailers that are not enclosed, when you drive down a dusty gravel road the dust will swirl up and over the back doors, smothering the horse inside. The rain will do that as will the snow. We were hauling a tiny miniature horse mare one winter and by the time we got to our house, she was pretty much buried under a snow drift in the back of the trailer, shivering and freezing. It was horrible. How I wish I had known the snow from the highway was constantly swirling over the back of that door, piling up on her.
Not only does riding in the trailer allow you to hear what they hear, but it gives you a very good idea of how it feels to the horse. This can help you be a bit more cautious when pulling the trailer.
Drive so your horse can balance! This means we give our horse time to balance when we are stopping, breaking slower and giving ourselves more room. Don’t accelerate too quickly as this can cause them to scramble around and possibly fall down. A horse that is down, stuck under the dividers in a trailer is a very scary thing. After you turn, straighten out and give your horse time to balance before accelerating.
These simple things can mean everything to your horse and if you keep these things in mind and drive kindly, your horse will be more willing to load up!