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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

September 13, 2011

Trailer Loading Journey

On Saturday upon arrival at the clinic I had an incident with Journey in the trailer.  I went to unload her, opened the divider gate and she started stepping back before I could get to her head to untie her.  I was trying to get the rope detached from her halter when she did it, and I was terrified she was going to get her back feet off and her head pulling on that rope.  Thankfully the rope gave way before her feet actually got off the trailer.  This made it obvious that we have some trailer loading to work on, at least more than just getting her "in".  She needs to get in, stand still, and also not try to back up while you are getting the divider closed, which is tricky because of how the divider is made.  My first thought was to leave her loose, not tied to the trailer, and she quickly aborted that idea by attempting to turn around in the closed slant compartment (which could create another kind of horse disaster) or trying to get her head under the divider and go out that way (oh boy....).  Today I'm going to try to locate a short bungee for the trailer with the plan to clip the bungee end to her so if I need a quick release I can just pull it loose from the halter instead of trying to reach up and get her to hold still all at the same time.  We have progressed where she will load up fine as far as getting in and moving to the front, but her little brain is still thinking "out" for the most part.


Last night's ground exercise went well for me.  Rope handling is starting to come a bit more natural now that I don't have to perform in front of someone.  I've decided that it isn't the much as stage fright when someone is looking at me I can't add
1 + 1.  Being serious introvert is NO FUN at times.  We are getting the exercises done, but I have no doubt in my mind that the Royal Spotted One though sitting in the corner on the outside is saying on the inside STANDING UP.  Her ear language is speaking volumes.  When I have her back up on the rope she pins her ears and flips me off with her nose.  The horse may not have language but she is definitely getting her opinion across loud and clear!  So that will need addressed.   ~ E.G.


  1. Is there any way to access your tie rope before you open the divider? That's normally what I do with my horses. I was always able to go in the front door and unclip the trailer tie, put on a lead rope (which I just toss over their withers for safekeeping), and then go back around to open the divider (grabbing the lead shank as they offload). On some trailers you can access the tie through a window too.

    That way they don't learn to start their exit before you are prepared.

  2. when I trailer, even with the tens of thousands of miles my horses have hauled, I always have a little treat waiting n the manger or a bucket hanging in the trailer for them. Might be a horse cookie but usually just a handful of feed. They get in, they have a treat. This means they always hop in with no questions asked, and then stand quiet as I close them in, and go to their head to tie if I feel the need. I always untie the head of the horse first when time to unload. Before opening doors or dividers. You get one that hits the end of that rope, and starts to struggle, and it gets super ugly, super fast.

    My opinion, and others feel different are, bungee ties are dangerous to have around. If the horse does pull against it, they will eventually break, and now that end, usually with a metal snap, is flying through the air, and has to hit something. Just hope it is not you, or the horse

  3. I don't use bungees for the same reason as Jonni. If you want something with give, maybe get LSEGH to bolt on a Blocker Tie Ring?

  4. Please, please don't use a bungee around your horses. They are very dangerous and really shouldn't be used. If they break, or even if you release the snap, while under stress, it's just never good to have all that tension and a very small space to go.

    Untie her first before you open up the rear if at all possible. Work with her on just standing in there until you give her a cue. If she starts to unload before you're ready, just put her back in (all the way if need be) and have her wait until you tell her to come out.

  5. I have the thing called "The Clip" I guess I could hang that on the tie ring in the trailer? But if they get started backing out on you...they can still eventually hit the end of it. The reason I hesitate to leave her untied and go outside to fasten her is that untied, she tries to go UNDER the divider and also attempts to turn herself around which could cause a huge wreck back there. Phebes is too big to flip herself around once the divider is up. I really think that Journey if she tried hard enough could get herself into a mess...

    Sounds like I need to do a whole lot of work on this to try and keep us safe. If I can get her to not turn around and just stay still, then not tying sounds like our safest bet. I picked up a short nylon trailer tie today (not a bungee) with a safety release on it, and also a rope to put on The Clip that is kind of slippery so should slide better than the one I have on it. I'll let you know how it goes.

  6. She needs to learn that she is not to fuss around and think of exiting before you say its OK. I know, easier said than done. ;-) But work on not unloading her right away upon arrival. Learn she has to just stand there and be a good spotted pony. And if you go to unload, and she starts to rush things, then she has to stay in there until she is quiet. All tough to balance since you have also had minor issues with the loading process.