In order to transport your horse from A to B, you sometimes have to take a trip with the pedestal trailer. But before you can go on a relaxed journey with your horse, you should practice this ride and pay attention to a few important things. Here we explain to you how trailer rides with a horse are as relaxed and safe as possible.
Before you go on a journey with your horse, you should take a look at the horse trailer. Especially after the long winter when the trailer was not used, it is worth taking a closer look. Does the trailer still have TUV? What about the tires? It is better to have cracked tires replaced and the brakes can also be checked by a specialist workshop. Otherwise, you can actually get stuck while driving. You can also take a look at the electrics yourself with a helper to check it: are all the lights and indicators working? And what about the floor? After a few years, wooden floors can become scruffy. You should therefore have the floor checked regularly by a workshop – experience has shown that the TÜV does not always pay attention to this.
I also recommend checking whether the trailer is also suitable for the horse. Warm-blooded horses nowadays tend to be quite big and wide – this is why some horses no longer feel comfortable in a narrow trailer, so that an extra-large trailer, often called XXL, would be appropriate. It is also worth taking a close look at the so-called small horse trailers: Does the sturdy small horse still have enough space? If the height of the hanger is suitable, you can otherwise create more space for the four-legged friend by moving the partition.
Most horses are also concerned with the floor of the hanger: rickety loading ramps scare them, and a solid rubber mat should also be laid or glued inside the hanger. This is standard for new trailers.
Incidentally, most horses have no problem getting on the ramp, but they are often uncomfortable when getting out. It is not without reason that there are now numerous trailers with front exits and if you are currently looking for a new horse trailer, this could be an alternative.
Older trailers also often have tarpaulin hoods. Since these do not have any windows that can be opened and of course, also rattle and “rustle” in the wind, many horses prefer to ride with a poly hood. So if you often have to cover long distances, you may be better off with a fixed hood.
Equipment for Trailer Rides with Horses
Your horse doesn’t really need much to travel: If it’s safe and doesn’t have horseshoes, I don’t think there’s anything against loading it without gaiters. However, if you are concerned that it could kick itself on the way or injure itself when getting out, normal gaiters and possibly bell boots are often helpful. I only recommend transport gaiters if the horse really knows them. Since they greatly restrict mobility, many horses feel uncomfortable with them. If you want to use transport gaiters, you should have put them on a few times before the first ride and your horse should have gotten used to them. Then of course they are good protection!
Your horse only needs a blanket if it has sweated or if it is rather drafty on the trailer. I would always make the use of a blanket dependent on what your horse is otherwise used to The open stable pony, which drives ten minutes to the local riding arena, doesn’t need a blanket on the way there, but on the way back it may need a blanket if it has sweated. You will certainly ride a horse that is covered in the box with a blanket anyway.
In order for the loading to work really stress-free, you should have practiced it beforehand in peace and with enough time. Of course, the trailer is coupled to a vehicle so that it stands securely.
There are many tips for loading training and numerous experts offer horse owners support. Whichever method you prefer, I recommend not loading with too many people. Often a person who can lock the bar behind the horse is helpful, but it certainly does not make sense if half the stables are around and give tips and everyone wants to try out their suggestions. I also like it when the horse can be loaded by one person for a long time: This means that your horse learns to let you send him into the trailer with the help of a groundwork rope so that you can close the bar at the back. You can of course also take the horse into the trailer and teach it to wait while you go back and do the bar.
A feed bucket makes waiting easier. Of course, some candidates like to go backward with you. But be careful, you never tie up a horse before the bar and the hatch behind the horse is closed! The horse may panic and try to run backward when tethered. So always lock the hanger before you go forward and tie up your horse. (And when unloading, of course, you first untie the horse before you open the trailer at the back.)
So you may need a little more time and food to train, but it’s worth it. A horse that you can load alone is extremely practical! If you are not sure about loading yourself, get an experienced loading trainer who can help you with your training.
If the loading goes well, you can also do short practice drives. Maybe you drive around the next corner to the pasture or just around the block back home. So that your horse feels comfortable while driving, you of course drive very carefully and provide enough feed. This can be a tournament crib with your favorite food hung in the trailer, a handful of oats in the built-in feeding trough or a hay net attached. It is important that your horse has something to chew on to relax and, if you are using a hay net or portable bucket, that nothing can fall off. If you can now load and drive in a relaxed way, nothing stands in the way of a trailer ride with a horse and thus a visit to the next riding arena, with friends, or a holiday with the horse!