I'm shopping for my first horse and I found a horse that meets all my non-negotiables. It is the right size for me, a former lesson horse, and very quiet. It's a confidence builder type horse, which is exactly what I wanted in a first horse. I just have one issue. The owners were upfront in telling me that he is not good at all at loading into a horse trailer. They have never put much time into improving his trailer loading because they didn't do it very often. The horse is everything I wanted. Loading on a trailer well was something that I honestly didn't think about until they said he wasn't good at it. Should this be a deal breaker?
Dear Horse Shopper,
That is great that you were able to find a horse that meets all of your non-negotiables. Whether or not the trailer loading is a deciding factor really depends on your plans for the horse.
Obviously, if you are moving him to a new place, he will need to load onto a trailer to move. You mentioned wanting to ride on trails. Are these trails off the property you board at? Or will he have to load on a trailer to go on rides?
Any horse can be taught to safely load onto a trailer. It may take work, time and patience, but it can be done. Ask yourself if you think this is something that you have the skills to work on your self. Do you even have access to a truck and horse trailer to practice with? In the beginning, you will be doing the groundwork to establish yourself as a leader and to get control of the horse's body. Eventually, in order to teach trailer loading, you will need to have access to a trailer, so that is something you should keep in mind.
You should consider if you are confident and willing to take the time with your new horse to teach him this important skill. If you have already been told he doesn't load on a trailer well, you will have to find the time to teach him how to. Are you willing to wait to trail ride until you can confidently load your horse?
If you have the means to afford it, you could choose to send your horse to a trainer to learn this skill. You have to be willing to learn what to do though, so you can reinforce the lesson when you get your horse back home.
I don't consider a horse that won't get onto a trailer a huge problem since I'm able to handle it myself. As a first-time horse owner, it may be biting off more than you can chew.
Before you make a decision, talk to your trainer about their experience with teaching horses to load. Ask their opinion about if this horse is such a perfect unicorn that you can settle for having to work on this one thing!
If you have trail access off of your boarding property and you don't have to plan on loading the horse regularly, it isn't as big of an issue, though I believe it is still a skill all horses should learn to do well in case of emergency.
Consult with your trainer and consider your options! I'm sure they will help you make the right choice. If this isn't the horse for you, don't worry. Your perfect horse is out there! You just have to take the time to find him or her! When you do, it will have been well worth the search.
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