TRAILER LOADING -
Every horse, donkey, and mule should be trained to load into a trailer quickly and willingly. One never knows when an emergency evacuation might be necessary, or roadside emergency requiring transfer to another vehicle. An animal that loads quickly and safely has a much better chance of being saved in an emergency.
If you can stand at your horse's side and drive it forward, you can load it into a trailer. If a horse has good forward movement, it will load into a trailer. If the horse has "sticky feet" or reluctance to lead, you will likely experience trailer loading problems.
Although most people consider trailer loading to be a separate and special skill, it is basically a matter of assuming enough leadership to effectively lead and drive your horse.
Practice driving down a fence line, and through less threatening "obstacles" as a good warm-up to trailer loading.
Sure, horses are by nature claustrophobic, and they would not, out in nature, ever go into a small, dark, enclosed space. But neither would they carry a large predator on their back or do lots of other things that we fully expect them to do with us! Trailer loading does not have to be a Big Deal. You don't need to get "too psychological" about it.
Saanen & Kingsley practice trailer loading at a Jerry Tindell clinic
First, get your ground skills solid:
When he is able to reach his whole head into the trailer, reward, and then softly but firmly ask him to step forward. If he goes backward instead, just rebuild.
When he finally goes all the way in, DON'T JUST SLAM THE GATE AND DRIVE AWAY!
Let him go out again, and practice going in and out a few times, getting it smooth and relaxed, before shutting him in. Each time it will be a bit easier, a bit quicker.
Don't wait to load him until you are in a hurry to get somewhere. Prepare by training ahead of time!
Practice and practice at your leisure. Then when the time comes and you MUST load, it'll be no problem.
For your horse's safety, it is a good idea to train him to load into any type of trailer - not just the easy, wide, modern slant-loads. You never know when there could be an emergency (a wildfire, a flood, a tornado, a highway accident, etc.) that will require the horse to get into a different trailer than the one he is used to. You want your horse to know what to do, so that emergency personnel can load him quickly with no problems.
PAGES IN GENTLING AND TRAINING SECTION:
Then drive in circles toward the trailer. If the horse looks into the trailer at any point, stop and reward him. Then go again.