Showing out of your trailer: ideas to prepare or just do it

I almost never tie to my trailer. Horse is either in trailer or under saddle (yep have the luggable loo!) but if I must, I hobble then tie to trailer. Horse goes into sleep mode as soon as hobbles are on. But that has taken a lot of training/practice here. I get off, hobble in a safe place like paddock, round pen, pasture. Do something. Then when horse is 100 percent quiet, I go unhobble and continue whatever we were doing. Pretty quick horses catch on to hobbles equal rest. :blush:

I saw a horse tied to a trailer get a leg over the tie rope so I braided quick release snaps into thick cotton rope I bought at the hardware store. Or one panics and pulls back hard. Do take some weight off the hitch but don’t unhook your trailer.

We had a youngen. He’d stay upset standing in the trailer if he knew you were nearby. I told my daughter to go course walk and I stayed with him but I went behind the trailer and waited. He did settle when he couldn’t see me, Practice.


Your horse just has to learn to stand tied with patience, and as others say a net full of alfalfa sure helps.

Use a blocker tie ring (or make one!) for sure.


Yep, I’ll be practicing in the coming months. I have 2 tie rings, so got that covered. Thank you!

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All of this is excellent advice. Don’t forget to pack water from home - some of them just drink better when it’s familiar. I hang a water bucket wherever the horse is hanging out. If it’s a cool day and phases are close together, that can be the side of the trailer where they are tied. If it’s hot and there’s a lot of hanging out to be done, on the trailer.

Our horses are all tied in stalls beside a hay net regularly at home, so it’s a very familiar setup to them (we don’t cross-tie at home unless there are appts with vet/farrier/chiro/whatever to keep the aisles free) and they relax almost immediately. On that note, as with anywhere/anything else you are tying, make sure it is breakaway. Our trailer has twine loops on every tie bracket to hang water buckets, tie horses, etc so that nothing ever gets stuck.

I much prefer showing out of my trailer to showing out of a stall. No carting stuff back and forth, you have a dedicated space that is just your own, you can fully organize everything before you leave home, etc. I bought my trailer because I like it - the more time I can spend there instead of in someone else’s setup, the better!

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My mare was restless, pulling back, and pacing her first couple trips tied to the trailer. Then she of the low work ethic realized she’d better save her energy for the riding and quickly learned to chow down and nap while tied, and recently stood tied for 8 hours between trips and snack breaks.

I also find a good solid 2 hour trail ride then standing tied when you got back while the humans have lunch is a great training tool as well.


I am hoping at-home practice will help alleviate most of the common issues. My mare was restless at our first show last year (show stall). Called and paced even with haynet, but not out of control by any means. By the second show a month later, she was totally chill! It’s funny how we’re most comfortable doing what we’re used to. I’ve always had a stall and others here say they prefer their trailer. It’ll be another new situation to tackle together and the tips I’ve gotten can only help me feel prepared…so thank you!


I think practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the better they will get. Mine will stand quietly on the trailer or stand tied for however long, but I also haul out for lessons every week. At shows I do a bit of both depending on the weather, but I can also trust my one to stand tied for hours and not do anything stupid. My older gelding tends to be left on the trailer longer because he will occasionally make poor life choices before he’s been worked and is pumped to be there.

I also second good hay to keep them occupied and don’t fret if they won’t drink-they will when they get home.


Followed by going out for another 2 hours.

I agree!

If weather permits (not too hot), leave them in the trailer as long as possible. I bring a misting fan for hot days to keep them cool, and can turn the mister off if they just need air flow. Lots of fly spray prior to loading! Second the comment about putting “good” stuff (alfalfa) in their haynet to keep them engaged in that. I usually also give my guy a tube of MagnaGard in the morning before we leave. Since you have time, practice trailering off-site and tying for varying amounts of time. Start small and build from there so they don’t have a bad experience that you have to overcome.

I carry a 2 step mounting block so I’m not climbing in and out of the tack area - I’m short and I get tired of the big step out and in.

a hanging shoe organizer is great for arranging the stuff you need and having it all very visible- depending on your trailer you hang it where it’s easiest for you to work with. Something like this:

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I know it is common (VERY common in western disciplines) to tie your horse to the trailer all day. Sometimes it is cooler outside, sometimes it’s better inside out of the sun.

However, after many many years showing out of my trailer, I never leave mine tied out unattended. My horses tie well, stand well, and are pretty sane. BUT, there is always the risk of a loose horse…and it usually triggers a domino effect. Someone falls off on XC; loose horse runs “home” to the trailers, blasting up behind your sleepy tied horse, who startles and pulls back (then his neighbor pulls back…). Or loose horse runs up behind a mare, who squeals, kicks, and causes a disturbance with the other horses tied to the trailer next door. I compete a stallion, who is 100% well behaved and civilized in public. But I can guarantee any loose horse on the property will end up running right to my trailer like a heat seeking missile, it’s murphy’s law and I just accept it by now. He ties great, but if I’m not actively tacking, untacking, putting studs in, or cooling him out, I keep him in the trailer where he is safe from unpredictable accidents. (He loves being in the trailer anyway, all doors open, munching hay and watching the activity.)

My Western friends look down their noses at us for not tying horses at the trailer 6hrs a day in rope halters without twine…but I tell them their sport is in an enclosed arena and they don’t do anything dangerous enough to risk falling off with loose horses galloping mach 10 in trailer parking. :laughing:


I would never leave a tied horse unattended. I will have a friend along, but if I didn’t, my horse would be on the trailer more. Luckily the show I’m planning to attend won’t be in height if summer. But my white Euro trailer is much cooler inside vs our farm’s big alum trailer. Again, all this shared experience is greatly appreciated. Hopefully if I’m prepared for the worst, it won’t happen but… horses.

I leave horses tied unattended all the time, heck my trail riding and endurance friends will tie them overnight and their horses are fit to run 100 miles in 12 hours. If I am not certain, I will tie to a CLIP or other device that will release in an emergency. It’s a fat pain to have to find someone to hold your horse while you walk courses.


Highly recommend AGAINST doing this. My guy sidestepped when I tried to do it and I went right over his side. Tore around the venue for 5-10 minutes before someone caught him. :roll_eyes:

Buy a good, heavy stepstool like this one.


I use the front bumper of the truck. They are taught to stand there.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to have your horse properly prepared for your day, OP!

I used to think the only way to do a show day was tied to the trailer (and they were long days, I was doing the single day hunter show thing, get there first thing to school and show in the last division of the day). That is just what I was used to. Once there the horse was unloaded and tied to the trailer with a hay bag.

Now I leave the horse in the trailer until I need to tack and when I am not riding the horse goes back into the trailer.

I say do whichever your horse prefers.

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I also use the fender of the trailer to mount. The hardest part is climbing up there. My horse stands great for mounting anywhere, he lines himself up automatically. He’s also accustomed to standing tied to a trailer quietly and doesn’t need monitoring. As long as he has food and water, he’s a happy camper.


I not only tied to my trailer at a HJ show but I mounted from the fender and the girls holding their horses the entire day had a stroke. I am now old and not limber and have a mounting block.


Fender, tailgate, cooler, actually used the bed rails of my truck a few times to get on in a pinch. Luckily my horse is used to my shenanigans. I do bring a stool for mounting but if I’m alone I don’t want to leave it out potentially in the way so I just find something else to hop on with!