QUESTION: My four year old gelding was pretty good about being hauled, then he just went nuts on me. He bangs around in the trailer and gets covered with sweat. He acts crazy now. Although he still loads, it is not nearly as easy to load him as it once was. Could it be my recently purchased trailer? Or the fact he is my main event horse now? HELP!
ANSWER: Horses do not get bad about hauling without a reason, so here goes on some reasons with poor driving being the number one culprit causing horses to hate the trailer when they never used to.
TOP TEN REASONS HORSES LEARN TO HATE BEING HAULED
1.First and the usual reason is the driver thinks they are being fair and good when hauling live cargo but in fact are not. I tell these people to have someone ride in their trailer, standing up right and not leaning against the walls and head on down the road. Every time after a couple of hour trip, those human passengers inside that trailer will be pretty mad at the driver. The driver is saying, "Who me, I did not take the corners to fast or accelerate to quick or stop that fast"? Their human cargo is saying, "Oh yes you did, I was knocked around in their something awful"!!! And that was only for two hours, not a long haul that the horse(s) may have to endure.
2.Second reason is being left on the trailer too long. Maybe with to long of a trip and not stopping and unloading to let the horse rest from the continual movement of the trailer. No horse should be on the trailer for longer than 6 hours, even though I realize a lot of people will go 8 hours before unloading for a break. Or in many cases, leaving the horse loaded when they get to their point of destination instead of immediately unloading or in between every class or whatever, putting the horse back in the trailer.
3. The horse used to always be hauled with the same buddy but now is being hauled with a different horse or by himself. He then misses his buddy beside him in the trailer.
4. Some horses should not be fed before hauling as they tend to get colicky in the trailer and after learning to anticipate the discomfort of colic, begin to hate being hauled. Others need a hay net with fresh, Non dusty/moldy hay in front of them to give them something to do.
5.Often over looked is the that old horse trailer itself has poor shock absorption or an unusual amount of sway to it. In this case, the driver can be as careful as they want, the horse soon tires of the bumpy or swaying ride and begins to hate the trailer.
6. Some trailers with one horse or two horse straight haul trailers being the worst simply do not have enough room for larger horses. They soon hate being cramped in a far to small space. Many trailers are only 6 feet high and taller horses soon hate them because they are always bumping their ears and heads on the roof. Purchasing a 6 and a 1/2 foot high trailer or even a 7 foot one is always the way to go.
7.I have even known a couple of horses who resented the interior light in their trailer because it was positioned so it always was shining in their eye(s) when they were tied.
8.I know other horses where the owner never opened the vents and windows so the horse could get some fresh air and probably was blanketed on top of it. They are hot and uncomfortable one to many times but hey, at least they didn't get dusty which caused the owner to have to groom them completely all over again when they got to the show.
9.Some horses have to see out. They simply are claustrophobic in a trailer with no clear window to see out of. These types really go on the fight.
10.And last but not least. Some horses hate straight haul trailers and angle haul ones too. They ride fine with the partitions removed or in a stock type trailer where they can move around whether tied or loose. Always remember though if a horse is loose and gets turning around and around or bouncing off the walls, it can literally throw the truck dangerously all over the road.