How to Load a Pony
Most ponies will load easily and quickly, but there is always the odd heartbreaker who was sent to try us! There are various tricks you can use, the main one being plenty of help. Even the most seasoned pranksters usually give up quietly when they see a small army getting ready to load them.
Stand on the left side of the pony, close to his head, with the lead held close to the head collar in the right hand and lower down in the left hand. Walk smartly towards the ramp, continuing right into the trailer. Your helper should immediately close the bar behind you, standing to one side in case the pony should reverse. Tie the lead rope and finally close up the ramp and the jockey door.
If the pony refuses to enter the trailer, circle him quietly and walk smartly towards the ramp again. If he senses any hesitation from you, he may refuse again. But if you walk smartly and firmly like you really mean business, he may just oblige.
If he refuses again, you need your helper to walk a safe distance behind with a whip or stick to again show him that you mean business. Usually waving the stick and making plenty of noise is enough.
Try to stay calm and relaxed yourself. If the pony senses that you are becoming any way frustrated or concerned about the time, and how late you are going to be for the event, he will become even more un co-operative. Usually a calm, firm handler who ‘doesn’t take any nonsense’ will get the pony loaded with ease.
In desperate cases, two long leads can be attached either side of the rear of the trailer. The pony is walked close to the ramp where he will stop. The leads are then crossed over behind his rump. The leader tries to continue up the ramp while two helpers pull the crossed leads tighter causing the pony to move forward. He can see the leads either side of him, forming a V shaped pen so he usually gives up and loads.
As a final measure, the small army referred to earlier must be called in, people strategically placing themselves around the trailer so the pony knows there is no escape. Helpers should be experienced people who know to stay clear of the horses hooves and who will be alert to any sudden movements.
Practice loading the pony when you are not going anywhere to see if he will improve when there is no sense of pressure or anxiety coming from the rider. Load him and unload him several times in a relaxed way, rewarding him for good behaviour.