Written by Clinton Anderson
To help your horse overcome his trailering fears, you have to look at trailering from his perspective.
As prey animals, with a flight or fight response, horses prefer to be in big open spaces where they can easily see predators approaching them and then be able to make a quick getaway. You’ll never see a prey animal having a rest in a tight, narrow space because if a predator came along, he’d be trapped. That’s why, as a general rule, horses don’t like trailers – they make them feel trapped and claustrophobic.
Not only do trailers make horses feel trapped and claustrophobic, but they’re also a scary object. Horses hate objects. What is an object? An object is anything that doesn’t live in your horse’s stall or pasture. Why is it no longer an object if it lives in your horse’s stall or pasture? Because if it lives in your horse’s stall or pasture, your horse sees it every day and gets desensitized to it. Horses especially hate objects that move and make a noise. A trailer does a little bit of everything. It’s an object, it moves, and it makes a noise when the horse walks up on it and as it’s traveling down the road.
If you put yourself in your horse’s shoes, trailering can be a traumatic experience, especially when the horse doesn’t understand that the trailer isn’t going to hurt him.
About Clinton Anderson
Born and raised in Australia, Clinton grew up with a love of horses. Although he lived in the city with his father, Rob, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Andrea, he looked forward to the weekends he got to spend on his grandparent’s farm where his grandmother would give him rides on her old Thoroughbred mare. By the age of 12, he began playing polocrosse and was eventually chosen for a national team representing his state. In 2001, he became the first clinician to create a made-for-TV horse training program that aired on RFD-TV.
The use of untrained horses and a variety of topics covering common problems faced by horse owners quickly made Downunder Horsemanship the network’s number one equine program. Nearly 15 years after establishing Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton continues to instruct horsemanship clinics, presents Walkabout Tours across the country, produces two television shows, hosts an internet TV website and is constantly creating comprehensive study kits and training tools to make learning horsemanship as accessible and easy as possible. Clinton and Downunder Horsemanship are recognized as world leaders in the equestrian industry and continue to offer the very best in innovation, inspiration and instruction.