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Help with horses bonding on the trailer?

Any tips on dealing with horses that basically marry each other on the trailer?
I have two horses that we trailer for shows, and when we seperate them, they lose their minds being apart. One in particular, a gelding, who was gelded as a 2.5 year old and shows studdy behavior (in his 20’s now). Then, the mare picks up on the vibe and gets stupid too.

Then we have crappy tests because gelding is screaming the entire time.

If I take them solo the gelding will call for others occasionally but he is not nearly as distracted, and can focus on his job.

I take them separately to things but this is not a long term solution. Both horses are shown at the same shows.

I can separate them for turnout and they are fine, but I have a small property so they are never out of earshot.

Someone suggested installing a head divider in my trailer but it would need to be retrofitted and I don’t want to make that commitment without exploring other options first.

Can you stall them in different areas at shows? I have this problem with two geldings. However, once they are out of eyesight, they are fine.

I hope someone has a solution. I have lived with this for over 40 years, and through several iterations of trailered pairs.


Don’t know if this will work, but it has been successful for me when dealing with buddy-sour horse. Biggest drawback is you need two people willing to work on the problem for 5-7 days, 20 to 30 min --in a field or area.

You ride the buddy sour horse. Your friend rides the object of his affection. Start with the object of his affection in the middle of the ring, standing still. Trot your horse around on the rail, briskly. At some random point, allow the horse to slow to a walk and allow him to turn toward his sweetheart. The SECOND he turns himself and his attention to her, pick up the trot again. Continue this for 20-30 min. He can trot pleasantly on the rail, walk on the rail, but any turn or transition he makes from the walk toward the love object, results in more trotting. After 20-30 min stop and do something else.

Next day (and sequential days are best), do the exercise again. You can at any point allow the second horse to come to the rail and do whatever --however, when your horse approaches or turns toward the second horse --he trots. If he is trotting, he does a 10 m circle and trots.

The whole point is, and your horse will figure this out by about day 3 --turning toward or showing interest in his lover means WORK. By day 4 he will avoid looking/moving toward her. You should be able to, by day 5, ride him away from her without fuss, ride past her, around her, etc.

At first it seems the horse will never “get it.” But they do. You may have to repeat the lesson now and then --but always remember to allow the HORSE to make the mistake of turning toward his sweetie, or speeding up to her --then you correct and make him work.

You might be able to make it happen with the second horse tied, but I’ve never tried it like that.

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I call it “trailer love.” I get a day stall if possible and separate them immediately at the show. Whoever is less herd-bound can show from the trailer. The company of horses in the neighboring stalls seems to help my horse get over the separation anxiety quickly. If it’s a multi-day show, I try to stable with a group and ask to have stalls at opposite ends of the group to separate the pair that trailered together.

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I have two geldings who hate each other until they travel together in a trailer. When hauled alone, they are perfect gentlemen and are well known for their compliant, sane, happy demeanor. When trailered together they turn into dangerous maniacal boobs. I show both; so, what I have to do is either haul them separately to shows and then house them in completely different barns or enter each on different days or make sure my daughter is in tow to handle one while I ride the other. I take them away from each other all the time when at home. I’ll tack one up and go off on a 5 mile trail ride and the one under saddle is fine, the other may whinny some but settle down. So their separation is tested many times. There is just something about the trailer ride that binds them. I have no magical answer but only sympathy/empathy. We’re headed to the championships in a little over a week. Thankfully it’s not that far from my place. I will haul each separately and have them housed in completely separate barns. My daughter is planning on being groom so she will cater to whichever one I’m not riding. In many ways it’s ridiculous but at the end of the day I’ll do whatever I have to do to maximize my chances of having attentive trying horses for competition.

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I’d want to know where the “stud like behavior” is coming from first. Has any bloodwork been done on this horse?

What kind of trailer? I don’t see this happening with a slant load because they should be tied short enough not to get over the divider. If it’s a straight load trailer, can you fab up a partition in between them so they cannot see or touch each other? Putting a stud wall in between them would be on my list too.

Trotting/cantering small circles around the “object of their affection” is more effective in my experience. Work near, rest far. Make the other horse less desirable to be around. I’ve been able to use this method on several horses over the years with the concept sticking after the first 15-20 minutes, and being solid within 2-3 days.


IME it wouldn’t matter if you blindfolded and trussed them up like a turkey with floor to ceiling dividers - something about trailering together short circuits a lot of horse’s brains. Stud behavior or not. They can certainly smell each other and they know who it is in the other stall. I find fewer issues with the bigger rigs and more horses - something about just 2 in the trailer sets them off.

It’s a struggle for me since I only have a 2 horse, but in the past when we have gotten 2 stalls and a tack stall we put the tack stall in the middle of the horses. That plus a ton of yummy hay seems to help. If we ship in and tie to the trailer we usually have an extra person that just holds the other horse by the ring - the ridden one doesn’t care but I don’t like leaving one on the trailer or tied there if they’re bound to start being stupid.


Some horses turn into Lego pieces on the trailer and click together tightly. All you can do is separate them upon arrival and keep them apart.


Makes sense!

I used to own and show a stallion, and I shipped him in a two horse bumper pull, sometimes with other horses. Not sure if I shipped him with a mare but I certainly hacked him with mares and they were at shows.

In any case when he was going to be around other horses in a “social” setting, he’d get a dab of Vicks Vaporub in each nostril. I never had any issues with him being too friendly. Maybe try it once and see if it works for the bonded ones.

The only time – in 15 years – I saw my mare show strong heat was after she was trailered with a studdish gelding for an hour. She came off the trailer in full winking, squatting, peeing, screaming agony. It’s usually very hard to tell she’s in heat at all. Once I got her away from the trailer, and the gelding, she was back to her usual self. SO WEIRD.