Loading & Unloading | Trailers, Towing & Horse Boxes
Once you have completed your ‘before you travel and essential pre-journey checks’; consider where you park for loading and unloading. It must be in a safe, level and inviting location, think about the lighting conditions as most journeys start early and end late in the day when the light is reduced.
- When lowering the ramp stand to one side in case it comes down quickly.
- If the trailer has a front ramp, it may be worth opening it whilst loading, as it will make it more inviting, but every horse is different. If not, make sure the jockey door is unlocked for you to exit after loading.
- Ensure the breast bars are secure and at the correct height for your horse.
- Open the partition (from the rear in a trailer) to allow enough room for when you load.
- Some horses prefer to travel with some bedding down on the floor - absorbent material is always best to use, as it assists by soaking up any urine when travelling.
Top tip:f you have a difficult loader it is a good idea to practise loading and unloading calmly and frequently to get them acclimatised to this activity.
Do you have:
- Sensible footwear
- Riding hat (with chin strap secure)
- A friend to help
Does your horse have:
- Leather headcollar (these break under stress, whereas nylon headcollars may not and can cause friction burns or other injuries
- Travel boots
- Tail bandage/guard
- Rug/sheet - depending on weather
- To have complete control it’s recommended to have a bridle over a leather head collar when loading and then remove it for the journey.
- On a trailer; If travelling one horse - load on the right-hand side of the trailer, it helps to balance as it corners. With two horses, the heavier one should be on the right.
- Make sure your horse is straight whilst facing the ramp and lead them straight up the ramp.
- Ask your assistant to secure the breech bar and/or partition.
- Secure the horse to the tie ring via a quick release knot with use of bailing twine or something that will break if your horse panics; make sure the rope is short enough it can’t lower its head under the breast bar (if in a trailer).
- Raise and secure the ramp(s) carefully to avoid startling the horse – making sure to stand to the side whilst doing so.
- Complete walk around ensuring all doors/ramps and fastenings are secure, not forgetting to close the front top door (if in a trailer) when travelling.
- Once you have arrived at your destination, with your assistant, lower the ramp gently to the floor.
- Untie your horse and place the bridle back on before you undo the breast/breech bar, or open the partition depending on what transport you are using. Do not allow the horse to rush off the transport.
- If you have to leave your horse unattended on the transport for a short time at a show or event, it is advisable to ensure the ramps are closed, and to leave contact details in a visible location so you can be contacted in the event of an emergency.
Always clean the trailer or horsebox after each use to help prevent any rot or corrosion as it will increase the transport’s life. Please refer to our advice and information page for equine disease prevention.
Don’t forget to attach your security device (hitch lock/wheel clamp etc) when parked to help prevent theft.
Even at a show or event you should consider the safety of your vehicle and valuables. Make sure your transport is locked and secured, ensuring valuables are out of sight.
Further advice for transporting your horse