Smoother Trailer Unloading
- August 17, 2017
- Savanna Simmons
Some horses are hesitant, slow, and clunky when stepping out of the trailer backwards, while other horses refuse to back out entirely.
We prefer that our horses back out of the trailer. They tend to be in more control when backing and it prevents slipping of the front legs when hitting the ground, and slipping of hind legs when kicking off the trailer floor. The person unloading them is also in a bit safer spot when standing in the trailer than unloading from the ground.
When you start this project with your horse, be sure you can back your horses smoothly on level ground and that you can individually move only one foot at any time, without the horse offering more feet. You can always ask for more, but it’s hard to get less from a horse that wants to offer too much.
Horses that offer too much or get worried are the ones that sometimes fly out of the trailer. This project can help those horses by gaining control of each foot. If your horse moves two or three steps when you ask for one, slow them down to just one step on flat ground before moving to the next step.
This video shows stepping the horse up and down, in pairs at first, then by each individual foot. There is no rhyme or reason to how I’m asking Happy to step, so he can’t anticipate what I’m asking and leans instead on my cues, not what he thinks I want, which may not be what I actually want. He’s a pretty laid-back colt, but this helps him gain confidence in himself and me.
Horses that get ‘stuck’ on the ledge of the trailer can sometimes build even bigger confidence issues, or sometimes it just smooths itself out. This is an exercise that helps your horse back, teaches them to think, and build confidence in you, as the leader.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...