There are many reasons we want our horses to load into a trailer easily, from heading out for shows, to traveling to the vet, to going for a trail ride. The terrible fires in California remind us of one of the most crucial: our horses live in wildfire country. We’re sure that if they were threatened with evacuation there would be many volunteers to help, just as there have been in California. But that help comes in a wide variety of unfamiliar trailers, handlers, and vehicles.

Introducing TRAILER MONTH at Terra Nova Training Center! Our first Trailer Month will be February-March 2018, before show and fire season. Our goal will be to make sure every equine at Terra Nova will load happily and quickly into a variety of vehicles, with a variety of handlers.

If our horses need help with calm loading into any vehicle, we have the training resources in Shawna and Gilly to use positive reinforcement to help them understand that a trailer isn’t a scary place, but a good one. We’ve designed the new R+ paddock specifically for trailer-loading training. This is so important for our equines’ safety that Terra Nova will sponsor these R+ lessons free for boarders and on-site animals. Shawna will also offer off-site trailer loading lessons for local equines at her normal lesson rate, depending on her schedule.

This kind of training doesn’t happen overnight or without practice. We’ll be working to provide various trailer types and volunteer handlers during Trailer Month. (Trailer “Month” will extend as long as it takes for all our individual horses to become comfortable loading.) We’ll also work with our trainers and lesson schedules to be sure you and your horses have available time, because loading practice is just as crucial as our daily riding training.

Photo of Shawna (top) by Evalyn Bemis / @ebemisphoto