Last Updated on February 12, 2022
Trailering your horse is essential for veterinary visits and if you ride off your property. Even if hauling is a rare occurrence, it is vital that horse owners know how to properly tie a horse in a trailer. The most important aspect of tying is safety- trailering should be done in the manner which poses the least danger to both the handler and the horse.
We first need to make a quick note about trailering: taking a horse from Point A to Point B is actually one of the most dangerous activities a horse owner will engage in. This is due to the loading portion of the transport. Horse owners are frequently crushed, kicked, struck, or ran over by their horses during loading. Horses can also injure themselves in a trailering session gone awry. For tall horses or inexperienced animals prone to rearing, many owners opt to use poll covers to protect this area, if struck.
Horses must be trained for trailering- it is not a natural behavior. As an animal of prey, trailering goes against every natural instinct a horse has. We are asking our animals to enter a dark enclose space with no outlet. This is the main reason there are so many injuries while trailering. If/when a horse panics, the owner is easily trampled as the horse tries to make an escape.
Types of Trailers
Horses will are hauled in livestock-specific trailers. However, animals should be transported in a specific manner to the trailer being used. This also creates a safer exit when the animal is placed correctly in the trailer.
Many horse owners utilize standard stock trailers for transportation. Although it is recommended all horses are tied with the exception of long-distance box-stall transports, horses can be loose or tied in the stock trailers. Due to the openness of a stock trailer, many horses prefer to face the rear when the trailer is in motion. Although this is not standard, research has shown horses experience decreased fatigue and muscle stiffness when traveling rear-facing. There are reverse load trailers on the market.
Straight Load or Slant Load Trailer
Horses should face forward in straight-load trailers and forward towards the middle of the road in slant-load trailers. In either scenario, horses should be tied. This can be done with a lead rope, utilizing a quick release knot in the event of an emergency. The excess rope should be removed from the ground so a horse will not injure itself. Trailer ties can also be used, with quick-release snaps. These attach directly to the halter. Many owners opt to tie with a thin piece of leather that will snap in an emergency.
Read more about Trailers Security- Best Ways to Lock a Trailer
Why Tying a Horse in a Trailer?
Tying a horse will help prevent a horse from hurting itself. This stabilizer will prevent them from irritating other horses or stop them from turning around. It will also prevent them from going under a divider or laying down. Most trailers will have rings to attach a lead rope or trailer tie to.
For safety reasons, horses should be tied at wither height, minimum. There should be enough length in the tie or lead for a natural head position, but shouldn’t allow excess movement. Horses can become tangled, tripped, or even break a leg with low ties. Under no circumstances should a horse be able to graze the ground with its head! The decreased movement from tying will keep a horse safe during a haul, and a handler safe once parked and retrieving the horse.
Tips and Tricks on How to Tie a Horse in a Trailer
- Choosing an attachment is a matter of owner preference. If using a lead rope, make sure the excess rope is out of the way. A quick-release knot should always be used. If using a trailer tie, opt for an adjustable tie (not a bungee) to limit the range of motion. Trailer ties are made with quick-release snaps.
- Using food can offer a good distraction and keep horses content when tied. But make sure to use actual trailer accessories build with safety in mind, and ensure the horse can access the food safely while properly tied.
- Make sure the tie is not too tight. No slack will take away your horse’s ability to balance or regain balance on a bumpy road.
- A proper tie is essential both in and out of the trailer. Here is a quick guide to basic equine knots you can keep in your travel bag or trailer.
- Practice makes perfect. Trailer your horse regularly even if you do not haul often. A comfortable horse is a much safer horse.
Final Words – How to Tie a Horse in a Trailer
Trailering can be a daunting task for new horse owners. But with quick-release knots, trailer-ties, and knowledge of trailer styles, it can be a safer experience for both horse and rider.
Have friends with horses? Be sure to share this article before the next trailer trip!
Should you tie a horse in a trailer?
It’s supposed that it is better to tie a horse in the trailer because it will be easier to restrain him from turning around, biting a horse next to him, and prevent him from harming someone or getting himself hurt. Furthermore, if the horse is agitated and spooked, it may become more difficult to restrain him in the trailer if he’s not attached.
With that being said, is it safe to tie a horse in the trailer? Yes, if you properly secure the horse and do it safely. It is always safer to tie a horse in a trailer than to leave him loose.
However, if you are not experienced with horses and you are not confident that you can properly secure the horse, you should ask for help someone with more experience in order to avoid problems on the way.
How do you transport a horse in a trailer?
The horse has to walk into the trailer to get in. Once inside the horse has little room to move around and can’t lie down to rest. A horse is a big animal and can weigh up to 1800 pounds (800 kg). If you are a horse owner, the first thing you should do is check that the horse you are moving is used to being in a trailer. The horse should be accustomed to being in a trailer, and should not be nervous. You should also make sure that your horse is in good health before moving it.
Can you leave a horse in a trailer overnight?
You can leave a horse in a trailer for up to 9 hours if the horse has the access to food and water. The horse should also be checked every hour while it is in the trailer to make sure that it isn’t getting too hot. However, it’s not recommended to leave a horse in a trailer overnight. A horse should be unloaded and provided with fresh water and feed. Unloading also gives you the opportunity to clean the trailer in between hauls and prepare it for the next portion of the travelling.
How do you put a horse in a trailer for the first time?
After preparing your horse in advance, the loading process should be relatively easy. Stand in front of the horse and lead him forward with the halter, then pull him toward you and into the trailer.
If your horse is unaccustomed to loading, take the time to let him get used to the idea by keeping the trailer in sight for days before loading, or tying the horse to the trailer while grooming. It’s also a good idea to feed the horse around and inside of the trailer for the horse to get familiar with the new environment. If the horse is not happy about it, he will resist loading. Most horses will actually load themselves. However, some horses are skittish or nervous about the idea and will require extra patience and care.
How fast can you drive with a horse trailer?
Although the maximum speed is set at 50mph (single carriageway roads) or 60mph (dual carriageways and motorways), it is not unusual to find people driving faster than this, especially on motorways. Although you can drive at a higher speed on the inside lane of a motorway, you should only do this if there are no other vehicles in the inside lane. Some trailers have an automatic speed control (ASC) which will reduce the speed of the vehicle if it exceeds a certain speed.
Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.