Ask a good friend with an enclosed trailer to let you borrow it for a few days and take your horse on some short test rides in it.
I think I’ll try that. They’ll have to risk some kicks to their trailers but some of them are well kicked anyway. Lol
After he loads, does he stand quietly before the trailer starts moving? Is he quiet when you’re driving down the lane way?
If he is quiet to start but gets spooky when you hit traffic, I might try covering the trailer openings with plywood and putting ear plugs in his ears.
If he starts acting up as soon as you put him in the trailer, I would start regularly feeding him in the trailer, and then unloading him without moving the trailer. Then gradually work up to longer rides with stops midway for treats.
I could see how the traffic zipping by might spook him and I think a companion might keep him calm, but I understand not wanting to put another horse in that trailer with him now.
Does he tie well at home? Really well? In the barn alone for a couple hours well?
I have seen stock trailers with dark plexiglass covering the slats.
Also, I have a SL 2 horse. My new guy does NOT like it - I had folks rolling down windows asking if he is OK! I finally tied the divider over, rigged a butt chain… and now he travels quietly. He leans against the “diagonal” divider.
Your guy may like a straight load ride but not the diagonal feel of a slant/tying him to the side. Have you tried tying him to the front (if possible) with a hay net?
OP posted the same question on the Hunting Forum at about the same time as here on the Around the Farm forum. It is interesting to see that the responses are very similar on both forums, but come from a different mix of people.
Well I’ve never left him for a couple of hours, but yes, at home he stands tied very well-just stands there.
He is very, very sensitive to sounds. When I first took him hunting all the commotion, but especially the horn and the huntsman calling to the hounds wound him up like anything. I can see that traffic would scare him. However, he jumps around in the trailer even when there isn’t any, and maybe even a bit worse on the way home rather than going out.
Have you tried ace, and/or ear plugs?
Hey, he has a hay net. I do have him about half way tho and could try in the front. It’s just an open trailer, no slant. I’ve been looking at new (to me) trailers both front and slant. I have to say for me not the horse, I don’t like slant loads.
I ace him before I take him hunting-1cc and it doesn’t seem to make a difference for his trailering. Tho I also aced him, at the barn I took him to be clipped and 4 1/2 cc’s did nothing so idk that he’s that affected by ace. And it was at a barn we’d been tons of times for lessons. I don’t ace him for lessons or trail rides or riding at home and he’s been fine.
Indeed that has been interesting! I usually post stuff like this in the Hunting forum but in this one too. A different perspective is always good in my opinion!
Then I’d try ear plugs.
You also have to tie a horse like this, in a way he can’t get loose. Him doing doughnuts in the trailer is super dangerous for you as the driver.
Lemme just say, this isn’t funny and the derisive and dismissive attitude shared publicly about damaging someone else’s expensive equipment would cause me to immediately scratch from the Will Loan List.
Stock trailers are typically the answer for bad haulers. As the story is told, the horse may be practicing this behavior for four years, nearly half his life, and “jumps around in the trailer even when there isn’t any [traffic].” Focus on factors you can control rather than risking someone else’s trailer. Change your driving style*, tying orientation, practice hauls on straightforward roads, load and stand when parked, and further medication options with your vet.
I’d bet a brand-new trailer that the horse doesn’t stand quietly after loading. Start there. It’s to his credit he loads at all, since he is so frantic once in.
*Honestly and humbly examine your driving. It can be easy to forget what the passengers are dealing with as we cruise along buckled into the drivers seat.
Lord! Light hearted is generally my attitude. Naturally, I wouldn’t ask anyone to risk a trailer without full disclosure-they wouldn’t be a friend for long-lol. That said anyone I’d ask is someone I hunt with so they’ve seen the horse in the trailer anyway. And my trailer driving style-which I should have said- is slow and steady, slow turns, slow stops. To my knowledge the horse has never had a bad incident in a trailer-he certainly hasn’t with me. Not to say I haven’t had some yahoo pull right out in front of me and slow way down-I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. I am concerned that a different style trailer won’t help-but it might if he couldn’t see traffic. The person actually I was thinking of asking has had some whopper incidents with her own horses-what I was thinking of when I said it was well kicked. But of course I’d remind her that my horse might kick her trailer before I’d let her accept my request.
O and my general haul with the horse is 10-15 min on a quiet country road, as I live close to the hunt fixtures. But it so take him on longer trips for lessons or trail rides, etc.
How long is your trailer? I have a 16 foot stock and if I am hauling 1-2 horses I always put them up front and close the divider ( tie them to the side).
They always position themselves so they face the back of the trailer and kind of brace their butts against the solid part at the front of the trailer.
Could be he just has too much room and does better with a bit more confinement.
Candyappy, I hope that is the case. This is a 16 foot stock and I do think he may have too much room. And may not like seeing traffic. I can’t remember if I said this, but I did ask my trailer guy if he would make this into a 2 horse straight load. He said it wasn’t worth what it would cost me to do that. He said it would be cheaper and better to buy a new trailer-and he didn’t have one for me so he wasn’t try to sell anything. Tho, I could try to put up plywood or something over the open part. I will ask my husband to see if that would be something he and I could do.
Oh and he does stand there til we drive off. I usually load, then start the truck, then run in the house for the final tinkle, water, and my second breakfast sandwich to take with me. He’s just standing there when I come out. And that is an improvement. I kept hoping he’d get used to the trailer but he just hasn’t!
I second the ear bunnies. I had one that loaded and stood just fine but totally washed out while shipping. I had a 2h BP and what worked for him was ear bunnies and closing the storm door behind him but leaving the other side open (when I needed air flow). If it was a short haul I’d put him on the off side, but he was 17’3 so that wasn’t something I preferred to do. Obviously you can’t do that but maybe you could tie him on the off side and try ear bunnies. Maybe a blinker hood as well if you have a track supply store nearby.
I bought a tb who had only been used to straight load standing stall style trailers. He self loaded on them. I had a stock trailer that was only open with bars at the very top. He progressively got worse and worse no matter what I tried. I did buy a new simple 2H bumper pull trailer and he’s back to self loading. Sometimes you do have to look at what they were used to and what their preferences are.
Not to say I wouldn’t be able to get him on a stock or slat trailer in an emergency but I needed to be able to safely load him myself on a regular basis.
Stargzng, I totally agree! Tho I have no issue with loading, I see what you mean. Finances are part of this of course-re racing out to buy new trailers!!! But I want my horse to be at least happier, and, as I say, I want to be able to take another horse along or go with someone else too!