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Trailering a Horse

Tips for Trailering a Horse or pony

Why Do We Put Horses In a Horse Trailer?

You may have to load a horse into a horse trailer in order to go to a horse show, to a Veterinarian, or if you Buy or sell a horse or pony

Trailer Equipment for Horse & Ponies

Trailer Equipment

  • Breakaway Halter and Lead Rope
  • Sheet or Blanket: Weather permitting, to keep dust off the horse’s coat
  • Shipping Boots or Bandages: To protect against injury to the horse while trailering
  • Tail Bandage/Tail Wrap: Protects the tail from rubbed or caught on the trailer
  • Head Protector/Head Bumper: Used on horses and ponies that may throw their heads up and bump them on the trailer roof

What is a Breakaway Halter?

If a horse or pony panics and pulls back against nylon halter, there is the risk the halter will not break which can lead to injury to the horse. Some nylon halters have a leather crown piece or a tiny leather flap that will break if enough pressure is applied to it. The breakable part of the halter will separate if a horse gets caught on on something, or panics, and allows the horse to break free without injuring itself. Leather halters are a good option as well that will break in an emergency. The risk of a breakaway halter is a horse can break it and get loose, causing injury to itself. Ask your riding instructor what type of halter they recommend.

Types of Horse Trailers

There are many types of horse trailers, some you can even live in! Some common examples of horse trailers include:

Two Horse Trailer

Four Horse Trailer

Stock Trailer

Goose Neck Trailer

Horse Trailer Load Types

Some horse trailers carry horses facing straight ahead and some carry horses loaded at a slant or angle. Stock trailers may be open on the inside and the horses are able to move more freely.

Straight Load Trailer

Slant Load Trailer

Stock Trailer

Equipment for the Trailer

Tips for Loading a Horse

  • Not every horse trailer has a ramp. Some are step up trailers.
  • The front exit door should always be open before loading to provide light for the pony to see through, and for the person loading the pony to be able to get out of the trailer quickly in an emergency.
  • Not every trailer has a front exit door. If there is no front exit door, do not lead the pony in. The pony should be trained to step into the trailer by himself.
  • If you are loading the pony into a trailer by yourself, lead the pony in but do not tie him. Exit through the front exit door, put up the butt bar and close the back door or gate. Then go to the front to tie the pony.
  • It is NOT ok to tie your horse while the butt bar and back door are open, because the horse could get frightened and pull away. This could cause injury to you or the horse.
  • Do not travel with the horse saddled or bridled. The tack could get caught on the trailer while unloading. This could break the tack, scare and potentially injure the horse.
  • The trailer should be on level ground when loading a horse.
  • If a horse is traveling alone in a double trailer, it should always be loaded on the left or driver’s side. This puts the weight of the horse closer to the middle of the road to help stabilize the load.
  • Give the horse hay while traveling to keep him content and occupied.

Filled Hay Net

Tack & Grooming Supplies

Water Bucket & Water Carrier

Equine First Aid Kit

Muck Bucket, Pitchfork, & Broom

Extra Lead Rope & Chain Shank

Shipping Wraps & Boots

Specialized wraps and boots are used to protect a horse's legs while being transported in a horse trailer.

Horse shipping bandages illustration

Shipping Bandages

These are used to protect the horse's legs during transportation. They are wrapped so that they protect the area from the lower leg and ankle to right underneath of the knee.

Horse shipping wraps illustration

Shipping Boots

Often, if horses require leg protection solely for transportation, a commercial shipping boot can be used. Shipping boots are heavy duty Velcro boots used to protect the lower leg and heels during travel and are easily put on and off with three Velcro strips. There is less of a risk for injury using a Shipping Boot than a Shipping Wrap.

How To Wrap a Shipping or Standing Bandage

Shipping and Standing Wraps must be wrapped correctly to protect against injury rather than to cause injury! A “Quilt” is the padding that goes underneath the Shipping or Standing Bandage. The quilt should be wrapped beginning on the inside of the leg with the roll of extra bandage on top and should go in a circular motion around the horse’s leg from the inside to the outside.

Pressure should always be put on the front of the horse’s leg where the bone is rather than on the back where the tendons and ligaments are. Pressure on the wrong part of the leg could cause an injury or “bow” to the tendon!

Once you have placed the quilt on the horse’s leg, hold with one hand and begin to wrap the bandage the same way and direction, with the extra wrap roll on top, in an outward, circular motion from each leg. Your wrap should begin in the middle, gradually going down around the ankle, back up to underneath of the knee, and finishing with the Velcro in the middle. The Velcro should be fastened pointing to the horse’s tail if it is wrapped in the correct direction.

PRO TIP

If you get confused about which way to wrap, pretend you are swimming the breaststroke and wrap in the direction that your arms would be paddling from your left and your right.

Steps to Load a Horse or Pony into a Trailer

Loading a horse into a trailer

  1. Load tack & supplies, hang hay net, get treat ready, if needed
  2. Open the front exit door
  3. Load the horse or pony
  4. Put up the butt bar
  5. Close the back door/ramp
  6. Tie the horse to the trailer ring with a quick release knot

Quick Release Knot

How to Tie a Quick Release Knot

Unloading a horse from a trailer

  1. Untie the horse from the trailer ring
  2. Open the back door/ramp
  3. Lower the butt bar
  4. Unload the horse or pony
  5. Remove needed supplies and tack

Play the Horse Trailering Matching Game

Match the Horse Trailer Equipment With the Correct Image

trailer icon

Welcome to your Trailering Horses Quiz

Name (Required for leaderboard & certificate)
Email (Optional for emailed quiz results)
What is a Breakaway Halter?
Should your horse be trailered while wearing a saddle and bridle?
If a horse is trailered alone in a double trailer, which side should he be on?
Name three things you should bring with you when trailering a horse.
True or False? You should tie a horse in the trailer before you close the butt bar.
trailer icon

TRailering horses quiz

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RankQuiz NameUserCorrect Score
1Trailering Horses QuizGREYPONY60
2Trailering Horses Quizjumping jasmine 1280
3Trailering Horses QuizPaisley80
4Trailering Horses Quiz60
4Trailering Horses Quiz60
6Trailering Horses Quiz80
7Trailering Horses Quiz100
8Trailering Horses QuizBailey80
8Trailering Horses Quiz80
8Trailering Horses Quiz80
8Trailering Horses Quiz80
12Trailering Horses Quizlovehorse4460
12Trailering Horses Quiz60
12Trailering Horses Quiz60
15Trailering Horses Quiz40
16Trailering Horses QuizErin100
17Trailering Horses Quizreese60
17Trailering Horses Quiz60
17Trailering Horses Quiz60
17Trailering Horses Quiz60

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