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Safety aspects when loading your horse

Photo: Kamila Tworkowska

Safety is something many of us riders sometimes take for granted. We tend to forget how big the horse is and the forces that can be at play. There's a huge difference in our physical appearance, even though the horse is one of the beings you know best.

Horses are much stronger than us and instinctively act as flight animals. Due to this, accidents can easily happen, even if they were never intended. Therefore, various safety aspects must be taken into account. This can help to prevent injuries to horses and riders.

In this article, we will focus on safety when loading your horse in the trailer. Because, while many of us may already know this, it's good to brush up on it. And you can save a lot by avoiding dangerous situations and injuries. Financially, physically, time-wise and mentally.

Make sure your horse feels safe

An important aspect of horse keeping is that the horse can be loaded relaxed and confidently. To achieve this, it's a good idea to teach your horse to walk into the trailer without stress. Practice this without having to go anywhere at a specific time. With the right - and calm - training, your horse can be easily loaded and transported, but there are still some safety aspects to consider.


Here are 10 things to be aware of when loading your horse.

1. Comply with inspection checks of the trailer

Always comply with the inspection requirements for your trailer. There can be many things that you can't see with your eyes. Especially the bottom of the trailer is extremely difficult to maintain. It can only be inspected when the trailer is lifted.

2. Always connect your trailer to your car - even if you're training

Never load the horse without the trailer hooked up to a car and remember to pull the handbrake on the car. The rear weight can become too heavy and, in the worst-case scenario, the trailer can lift off the ground. In addition, it is also good practice to hook up the trailer to the car.

3. Preparation is key

Prepare and check everything before loading the horse. Make sure the handles on the ramp are turned inwards, so the horse can't get caught on them. Secure and double-check your surroundings before you start.

4. Have a non-slip ramp

With a non-slip ramp, you can avoid the most common accident: the horse slipping. Unfortunately, it is often the case that a horse's hoof is placed a little too far out, and if the ramp is slippery, the weight of the horse can cause it to slip. This can cause damage to the horse and trailer, but it can also make the horse reluctant to approach the trailer in the future.

5. Make sure you have enough space when you park

You need enough space to get back out, but you also need enough space on both sides of the trailer for the horse to be there. In small areas and some showgrounds, you may need to choose one side with a little more space than the other. But remember, there should be enough room for the horse to move around if, for example, it gets spooked when coming out of the trailer.

6. Wear a helmet, gloves, and sturdy shoes

You can take your own safety precautions by making it a habit always to wear a helmet, gloves, and safe shoes. This way you can avoid head injuries, burns, and broken toes.

7. Always close the rear pole guard from the side

When you have loaded your horse, you must close the pole guard from the side. This is to avoid being in the way if the horse should push backward.The same applies when you take the horse out of the trailer.

Close the bar from the side. Photo: Kamila Tworkowska at Tuse Køre- og Rideforening

8. Tying up in the trailer

When tying up your horse, it's best to have a chain with PVC plastic around it that is securely fastened to the trailer. This way you always have a safe length and you avoid the horse untying itself or biting something.

9. Aways place the horse on the driver's side

If you are transporting a single horse in a double trailer, you should place the horse on the same side as the driver of the car to avoid poor balance on the road.

10. Clean the trailer

Finally, the most boring thing - remember to clean your trailer. Even, if after a long day out you think you will put off cleaning until another day, you should always do it straight away when you get back. Your horse may need to go to the vet urgently, and the slippery ground can cause injuries that suddenly make you have to rush to the vet even more.

Be aware that accidents can always happen, but if you have remembered these 10 safety precautions, you're more likely to get there and back home safely. Then enjoy getting out and about with your friend. Have a great trip!


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