Horse Trailer Training Your Foals

Horse trailer training your foals to enter a mock trailer is not difficult and the following steps  will help your foal make the transition to a trailer much easier at a later date.

horse trailer training your foal to a mock trailer. Photo by Brett Ziegler Photography,

There are a number of ways of training your foals to load into a trailer. Find the one that works for you and is safe for both handler and horse. 

We've had good results when we've  introduce our foals to the mock trailer.

This method was used quite successfully on a Thoroughbred farm in Southern California. 

How to Build a Mock Trailer for Your Foal

Begin by building a structure four feet wide and eight feet long. The floor should be raised several inches off the ground in order to imitate the hollow sounds heard with most trailers. A dirt ramp is on one end and a step up on the other end. 

The foals are then introduced to this structure on the way from the barn to the pasture. The mare is taken alongside the structure while the foal is led up the dirt ramp and into the mock trailer. 

With the sides just four feet high, the mare is able to see her foal at all times and is not at all concerned. This exercise should be repeated as often as possible.

This same principle can be applied to most horse breeds, such as Quarter Horse Foals, Morgan Foals, as well as the Thoroughbred horse.

The Next Step For Foal Training to the Trailer

Soon after weaning your foal, take the weanlings one at a time into the barn. Then back the trailer up to the entrance of the barn and close the barn doors to meet the trailer. 

Now they have only one place to go and that is into the trailer. Walk the foals into the trailer, and require the foals to stand in it, with the handler remaining with them, until they relax.

Then back them out slowly ... and walk them away from the trailer. This exercise should repeated several times.

To continue with horse trailer training your foal, the following day, they should again be loaded into the trailer and are taken for their first solo ride. This will be a brief ride, of about only fifteen minutes. 

Upon returning to the ranch, the foals are unloaded, walked away from the trailer and have one more horse trailer training lesson. At a later date, shipping to a sale or other destination should not be a problem. 

It is much easier and safer to work with a young horse than to wait until he is larger, stronger and has developed a mind of his own.

Other Methods of Training Your Foal

A few years ago, famed horse trainer Clinton Anderson demonstrated a method of loading at his clinic at Rancho Murrieta, California. 

After lowering the ramp on his trailer, he would start lunging his horse in small circles, each round coming a little closer to the trailer. He continued until the horse was traveling across the ramp on each circle. 

He felt that this would help to remove any fear that the horse might have of the trailer. At this point he walked the horse up the ramp and into the trailer. The horse was brought to the clinic for demonstration purposes because it had always been difficult to load.

Another method for horse trailer training your foal is to park the trailer in the paddock with the horse and place his feed inside the trailer. 

You may have to leave a trail of hay up the ramp and into the trailer until the horse learns that his dinner in inside the trailer and that he has nothing to fear from that big monster.

Using a Horse Training Halter

Just a reminder that here are many ways to do things. The correct way for you and your foal depends on your capabilities and your facilities. 

Again, when horse trailer training your foals, your number one consideration should be safety for yourself and avoiding horse injuries.

Many horse owners and horse trainers find great success with the Foal to Yearling Halter.

 It's safe, comfortable and one size fits your foal, as the patented name suggests, for Foal to Yearling. 

More Information On Caring For Foals

Read about foal development here.

Information on imprinting your foals.

How to wean your foal successfully.

You may need to read about dummy foals here.

Every horse eventually needs to be trailer trained.