Trailer Loading

The Better Horsemanship Series Trailer Loading DVD

Complete instruction and easy to follow demonstration on actual horses can be found on the Trailer Loading DVD from the Jeffrey R Kelly “Better Horsemanship Series” of DVD’s.

Purchase Trailer Loading DVD

Who Is Jeffrey R. Kelly?

Jeff Kelly has more than 35 years involvement and experience in the horse industry. His equine career includes professional horse hauling, thoroughbred exercise and pony rider, starting gate handling, horse training and over 25 years and a professional equine dentist.

1st Horse - Joker a Percheron stallion was having a little trouble loading. On a scale 1 to 10 - 10 being high - difficulty wise Joker was a 2. After 45 minutes Joker was loading up great. Since the DVD shooting Joker has been sold & relocated to southern USA. Reports have come in that Joker loaded up just great & hauled just beautiful. He is enjoying his new home in the sun!!!

2nd horse - Carrots is a gorgeous looking gray gelding. Before the DVD shooting Carrots was in a trailer once before and that trailer had a ramp. Carrots was great student. This horse has great energy & potential.

3rd horse - 2 1/2 year old Buckskin Gelding this is an outstanding looking youngster. He was hauled once before the DVD shoot and the loading wasn't pretty. So, I took my time so he would have a great experience. After 1 hour this horse was jumping in & out of the trailer with no problem's, he was enjoying himself. Horsemen & horsewomen can reach the same results, with patience & good solid horsemanship skills.

Better Horsemanship; Horse Trailer Loading

The most dangerous places to be with a horse is; a starting gate, a horse trailer, a round pen, a set of crosses ties, a tie stall, and a box stall. Trailer loading horses can be a very dangerous job & situation. A lot of issues come up for the horse at this point. Mostly fear. Horses do not like tight, dark, small places. Properly preparing your trailer and the horse to load into a trailer is very important .This will make and create a win, win situation for everyone involved.

Insuring your trailer needs to look right, smell right, feel right, sound right is very important to the horse!

  • How much does horse tooth and mouth care (dentistry) play a part in trailer loading?
  • What color is the inside of the horse trailer painted?
  • What is the inside of your trailer lined with, or is it?
  • Do you have enough lights inside the horse part of the trailer?
  • Does the inside of the horse part of your trailer smell of disinfectant, oil, and grease, etc ?
  • Is your ramp firm, weak, noisy, slippery, etc?
  • Does the trailer sound tinny, noisy, hollow sounding, does it rattle when moving, etc?
  • Are your horse shoed, sliders shoes, bare foot?
  • Does your trailer have rubber mats?
  • Do you use any bedding when hauling and what kind?
  • Is your trailer a step up or a ramp?
  • How many exit doors, ramps does the trailer have?
  • What type on tie ropes / leads are in the trailer? cotton , nylon, chain,
  • When loading and unloading are you parked on a hill?
  • When loading is your trailer facing up the hill or down the hill or on a flat surface?
  • Are you loading from dirt, grass, cement, asphalt, snow, ice?
  • Are you unloading on to dirt, grass, cement, asphalt, snow, etc?
  • Has the horse had trouble loading in the past? What was it?
  • Who’s been driving the rig/ truck. Has the driver hauled livestock before?
  • How wide, big, long are the stalls that horses are going to be in?
  • Do the horses have chest bars in front of them?
  • Are the lights in the horse part – above, behind or in front of the horse?
  • Is the trailer a stock combo, a commercial unit, straight haul, angle haul, reverse angle haul?
  • What are the weather conditions at time of loading –sunny, raining, snowing, blowing?
  • Are you in a hurry, how’s your attitude, how are feeling – weak, strong, mad, sad, upset?
  • What breeding is your horse?
  • What sex is your horse? mare, gelding, stallion

In September 1999, I bought a 5 year old quarter horse mare, then pregnant with her first foal. At the time, I had very little experience with horses; riding, vetting, even feeding and basic maintenance. I had spent a couple of years before that reading everything I could on the subject, as I desperately wanted a horse, and when I thought I was at least a little prepared, I dove in and bought my first horse. Luckily for both me and the mare and foal, I was prepared enough for us to begin a safe journey in horsemanship, and when the foal was old enough I began to ride the mare, Patience.Things went fairly smoothly, until that is, we tried to trailer. To begin with, I had never really separated the foal from the mare, and things went badly - neither horse wanted to get into the trailer without the other! I eventually sold the foal at 5 years old, and began seriously to try to trailer Patience, as I wanted to get her to clinics and further our riding skills. Whatever the reason (if she remembered the bad experience of trying to load without that foal or not), it was impossible to get her into a trailer. In 2004, I asked friends to help - and these were accomplished horsemen. No one was successful. I switched my 2-horse straight haul for a much larger, cavernous, angle haul trailer. Eventually in 2007, after at least three different people over the years had tried to teach Patience to load, I rode her to a local clinic, where a very talented clinician was successful in getting her in. This was not the end however, as my skills were still lacking, as was my confidence. Patience was still very nervous about loading and the subsequent trailer ride, and she broke my husband's hand on 2 different occasions. As he is always present trying to help me load her. By 2008, the horse would load, but it was always a fight with her. And she was always nervous, always coming just up to the edge of the trailer and then running backwards, pulling on the lead rope. If we did get her in, she would wait until the precise moment when we tried to tie her head, and then jet out of the trailer backwards, foiling us over and over. It usually took us 1 - 2 hours to load her, and we got a little better as time went by to get her in within about half an hour or 20 minutes. But we would have given anything to have a horse "just walk in"!

Finally in June 2009, I bought Trailer Loading 101, by J. R. Kelly. Both my husband and I sat down and watched it, a couple of times. I took notes. We particularly noted the very gentle way that Jeff handled the horses, even when they were balking. Keeping the horse calm seemed to be his goal. The key for us was how he spent time inside the trailer with the horse once they had actually gotten their four feet inside. We immediately went outside and tried Jeff's techniques with Patience. That summer, last summer, was a dream. Patience did at first, of course, continue to display her nervousness, but every load got better and better, and by the August 2009 show, loading was a non-issue for us. We had a horse that would "just walk in”. I cannot express how valuable it is for us to be able to load our horse in peace - finally! Not only does she load now, but when we get to our destination, she is not dripping in nervous sweat, and we can spend the rides to our events not chewing our nails for fear she will injure herself back there. These trips used to be a nerve-racking chore, and now are a pleasure. I would definitely recommend this DVD to anyone with a trailer loading issues. Thanks Jeff!

Janine Issel- Fruitvale, BC Canada


A couple of months ago my mare got into a bad trailering accident where her hind end got stuck on top of the divider on an angle haul trailer. After the accident she was terrified of trailers. She wouldn’t get on and when she finally did, she’d panic and kick during the entire ride. In fact, I had her professionally trailered after the accident to get her home and she caused $2700 damage to the trailer (without shoes) that I sadly had to pay for. I didn’t know what to do at this point but luckily Jeffrey R. Kelly was recommended to me. I cannot say enough good things about Jeff. He was extremely knowledgeable and good at what he did. He approached the situation in a gentle, caring and understanding way helping lead my mare through her trailering issues. He did this with the utmost patience and persistence. Jeff not only worked through my mare’s issues, he helped me identify my own trailering issues following the accident that were having a negative impact on my horse. He gave me a whole new perspective on how to view my relationship with my mare and how to build confidence between us that can be translated from trailering to daily interactions. After only two sessions with Jeff, my horse was trailered once again… only this time she was a superstar! She got on without any issues and was quiet and content the entire way over to her new home. Although we have been able to resolve my mare’s trailering issues, I will continue to work with Jeff in building upon my own horsemanship, as he is one of the most knowledgeable and interesting horsemen I have ever met. Thank you Jeff!!!

July 2010- Aleksandra C Langley ,BC Canada