A horse that will just load right up is demonstrating complete and total faith in his handler's leadership (in my opinion anyway). And since I do so many things with my horses - trail rides, shows, clinics, vet visits ... loading without issue is really important to me.
I also trailer alone 99.9% of the time which means that I don't have someone who can do a bit of hazing with a dressage whip when one of my horses decides to hesitate or balk a bit. I need to be totally confident that my horse is going to walk onto that trailer no matter what the circumstance.
I could load Speedy in the middle of a we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore type of tornado; he's the very definition of reliable. Izzy is not quite there ... yet. He will be soon, but he needs a few more lessons.
Last weekend when I did a trailer loading session, he decided to put his weight into it and said NO. I brought out a dressage whip to tap him on the hip, but that didn't get his attention. I dragged out my handy stick, but that was a fail as well.
My trailer has a pretty narrow opening (the tack room is behind the other door), so it can be tricky to get a horse to load when you're alone. My preferred method of getting a horse to load takes two people: one person to direct and a second person to apply pressure behind with a dressage or lunging whip.
As mentioned before, I don't usually have a second person, so I went to method number two. I converted by cotton-rope lunge line into a "butt" rope. It doesn't work with every horse, but fortunately, Izzy was quite responsive.
It took a a couple of tugs on the "butt" rope line before he realized that I could get him from behind when he didn't want to move forward. After that, he was all about the when and where. This video is from yesterday afternoon, which was only our second trailer loading session. I hadn't worked with him at all on trailer loading since last weekend.
I was pretty pleased with his progress. I cut out the most boring parts, but the whole practice session lasted less than three minutes. Enjoy!