We all love taking our horses out and about, but if you aren’t 100% confident loading, it can cast a cloud over what should be an exciting morning’s preparation. Often when we feel under pressure, our anxieties are picked up by our horses, which can lead to reluctance.
Whatever your qualms, seeking out guidance from someone more experienced, making sure you have the proper equipment and taking the time to practise will help keep you cool, calm and closer to getting on the road without a hitch.
We all know that safety around horses is paramount, so ensuring you have the correct equipment for loading your horse is essential.
Before you attempt to load him, make sure you have…
- a correctly fastened, up-to-standard riding hat Always a must when entering a confined space with your horse
- a pair of non-slip gloves to provide you with a good grip on the lead rope and guard against rope burn
- sturdy boots Protect your feet with practical footwear
- a quick-release fastening to attach your horse to once he’s in the lorry or trailer so you can untie him quickly should the need arise
You should also kit your horse out with appropriate safety gear. As long as your horse is used to wearing them, travel boots and a tail bandage are advisable. A leather headcollar is preferable as it’ll break more easily than a nylon one in an emergency, minimising the risk of injury.
Perhaps it’s been a while since you last loaded, or maybe you’ve recently welcomed your first horse into the family without ever really being taught how to load. Sometimes all you need is a confidence boost from a pro – human or equine. Why not ask someone experienced, such as your instructor or yard owner, to walk you through the loading process, or ask a friend if you can practise loading their seasoned schoolmaster? Once you’re confident with the process, loading your own horse will feel much more achievable.
Check out our loading guide in September Horse&Rider, on sale 25 July – you’ll be loading confidently in no time.