Wild Horse Deaths Continue in FY24 Roundups

All wild horses suffer as a result of inhumane and unnecessary roundups where newly born foals die, and other horses endure trauma, injuries and subsequent deaths. Pictured are colts from a past NV roundup.

Recently, a young filly called “Kat Ballou” was killed during a Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) bait trap roundup of Wyoming’s McCullough Peaks horses.

Kat Ballou died from a head injury as a result of roundup operations. She was only a year old and her death was traumatic and preventable.

Per the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC):

On January 22, 2024, 10 wild horses, including Kat Ballou and her mom, Keota, were captured in the bait trap. The BLM staff decided to release Keota and five other horses, separating Kat Ballou and her mother. She and three other young horses were kept overnight in temporary holding before being shipped to short-term holding for processing and potential adoption. Sometime between the departure of BLM staff and the following morning, tragedy struck. Kat Ballou was found dead in the pen, having succumbed to a traumatic head injury. It is believed that she died while trying to escape and reunite with her mother.

She was not the only young horse separated from her mother. A young foal identified as Skydancer was only four months old and forcibly removed from her mother during this roundup. The other two captured horses were brothers Bandero, aged five months, and Brumby, just under two years old.

The BLM’s decision to separate young horses from their mothers, then leave them unattended overnight demonstrates a callous disregard for the well-being of these innocent animals. In fact, this treatment of wild horses is unconscionable and unacceptable.

It should be noted that the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the McCullough Peaks roundup indicates that the peak of the foaling season starts on February 1st. During this time, the BLM must avoid wild horse roundups six weeks before the start of this time as fragile foals are just being born. In spite of this directive, the McCullough Peaks bait trap roundup goes on and young foals are not being spared.

Brutal Wild Horse Roundup In Nevada

As far back as 2006, FRER received documentation of cruel and inhumane treatment of captured wild horses. Photo from a past NV roundup.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues its roundup of wild horses in Nevada’s East Pershing Complex. Since late December, over 1,000 horses have endured dangerous helicopter chases along with abusive treatment by the BLM’s contractors.

The East Pershing Complex roundup is the largest scheduled one for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24).

Over a month into the roundup, at least 1,700 of close to 3,000 wild horses targeted for removal have been captured.

Almost 20 wild horses have been killed during this operation. Among the dead is a young foal who was euthanized at the capture site due to an injury resulting from being chased and roped by the BLM’s wranglers.

The foal’s tragic story is one of many being reported about the East Pershing roundup. The BLM’s contractors also herded a large number of horses into a trap. This caused the horses to panic and attempt to escape, to the point of almost breaking through the panels.

An observer from the AWHC also recorded video footage that shows a helicopter flying dangerously close to the horses’ heads, and documents deliberate agitation by the BLM’s contractors post-capture.

Wyoming Wild Horses Targeted

Wyoming wild horse herds are being targeted for a wipe out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Wild horse advocates have filed lawsuits against these plans.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Wyoming is currently working on revising the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP). This plan determines the long-term land use policy for over 3 million acres of public lands located in Wyoming’s Red Desert.

By law, the BLM has to manage our public lands for “multiple uses” in order to preserve what is named a “thriving natural ecological balance”. Therefore, the BLM is obligated to take into consideration any impact for all uses of said lands.

Rather than conducting this process with the existing RMP revision, the BLM has used a separate land use process. This has been done in order to approve a plan which will eliminate all wild horses from the Herd Management Areas (HMAs) known as Salt Wells Creek and Divide Basin, while gutting the size and population number of the Adobe Town HMA.

Lawsuits against this plan have been filed in federal court by Front Range Equine Rescue and other wild horse advocates.

At this time, the BLM has failed to consider the wild horses in the revision of its policies that govern the use of public lands in this area of Wyoming.

Nevada Wild Horses Face Cruel Winter Roundup

Wild horses and burros belong on taxpayer funded public lands allocated to them by law. Cruel and unnecessary roundups mean trauma, injuries and even death for these iconic animals.

Late in 2023, thousands of Nevada’s wild horses were slated to undergo relentless helicopter roundup activity resulting in capture and removal from their homes on the range.

During that time, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was scheduled to round up Nevada’s East Pershing Complex wild horses. There are over 2,800 mustangs targeted by the BLM contractor hired to hunt down the horses via helicopter.

It cannot be emphasized enough that helicopter roundups are extremely traumatic for wild horses (and burros). Many of the horses (of all ages) suffer severe injuries attempting to escape from the helicopters. Others lose their lives during or after a roundup is over. Horses who do survive often suffer the heartbreak of being separated from their families which have strong bonds, as they end up trucked to overcrowded government holding facilities.

The terror and stress endured from a roundup are horrific for wild horses. They are living symbols of freedom and are treasured icons of the West. The physical and psychological damage put upon them from being hunted down, chased relentlessly, and held captive for life is grossly inhumane, not to mention the barbarity to those slipped through the cracks and into the slaughter pipeline.

Advocacy groups are working hard to promote humane, on the range management strategies instead of unnecessary, inhumane and expensive helicopter roundups.

More Wild Horse & Burro Roundups for FY2024

Wild horse and burro advocates should not be kept away from being allowed to clearly document roundups as well as to view the captured horses in traps and at holding corrals.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Fiscal Year 2024 roundup and removal schedule targets even more horses and burros than during FY23.

The plan is to round up almost 8,900 wild horses and burros with permanent removal of over 8,200 of them. Nevada herds will once again be the hardest hit with over 5,800 wild horses and burros losing their freedom forever.

Even worse, the BLM intends to use helicopters in every roundup except two. Helicopter use is well known to cause trauma, severe injuries, and even result in the deaths of horses and burros. Observers sent by advocacy groups have documented these horrific incidents time and time again.

To make things more difficult for those who sign up to observe the roundups, the BLM and its contractors have kept those who watch over the horses farther away from trap sites. Clearly, this causes more difficulty, if not nearly impossible, to view the roundup as well as to assess the treatment and conditions of the horses and burros.

Advocates have begun calling for changes to the roundups including a requirement for the BLM to include cameras on all helicopters and on the ground wranglers.

Colorado’s West Douglas Wild Horse Herd Wiped Out

America’s iconic wild horses (and burros) are being removed from Western lands at alarming rates each year. Family bonds are broken; horses are traumatized, injured and even die from brutal roundups.

A portion of northwest Colorado that used to be home to hundreds of wild horses now has none.

The federal Bureau of Land Management has completed its roundup of the last remaining 122 wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, located just below Rangely on Colorado’s western slope.

This September, the BLM used a helicopter drive-trap method to round up and remove the mustangs that lived there, saying the area is not suitable for horses and was designated that way back in the 1970s.

But while the area may not be suitable for horses, CBS News Colorado found it is suitable for thousands of cattle to graze. Some critics feel the BLM is wasting hard-earned tax dollars to subsidize ranching operations.

Click here to READ MORE of CBS Colorado’s news story.

US Forest Service Rounds Up Devil’s Garden Horses

California’s largest wild horse herd undergoes another roundup by the US Forest Service; meanwhile cattle and sheep continue grazing in the same area. Photo credit: S.Paige/RtF, 2016 Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory roundup.

California’s Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory covers over 257,000 acres. Wild horses here are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), not the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as many western herds are.

A contract of over $599,000 was given to Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc. to provide helicopter and bait trapping services. From 2020-2022, this company received three other contracts for roundups totaling over $1,896,000. Additionally, they were provided over $100,000 to transport captured Devil’s Garden horses to various locations around the country.

Since 2016, just over 3,000 wild horses have been removed from the Devil’s Garden herd. After a current roundup, the total could reach 3,500 wild horses.

The horses live in the Modoc National Forest where privately owned livestock (cattle and sheep) also graze.


A report by the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) indicated the following based on observers they had on site:

Sept. 12: 7 Horses Captured; September 11: 11 horses captured; Sept 10: 5 horses captured; Sept. 9: 10 horses captured; Sept. 8: 4 horses captured; Sept. 7: No horses captured; Sept. 6: 10 horses captured; Sept. 5: No horses captured; Sept. 4: 15 horses captured.

One of their daily observation reports included the following:

“One of the stallions was still displaying anxiety due to being separated from his mares in the next pen. Some of the mares captured today appeared to be a bit skittish, and some of the foals seemed too young to have been separated from their mothers.” (AWHC observer)

Horse Slaughter Must End Now

Front Range Equine Rescue’s efforts to end horse slaughter include direct rescue of at-risk horses, education about slaughter and its humane alternatives, along with legal action when needed.

For many decades, well over 100,000 innocent horses were shipped to brutal deaths in slaughterhouses, both in the U.S. and across its borders.

Because of a massive grassroots effort, U.S. horse slaughter plants were closed over 14 years ago when funding for USDA horse meat inspectors was removed from the annual federal budget.

Legal efforts by Front Range Equine Rescue in 2012-2013 led the charge to prevent U.S. slaughter plants from reopening until funding was restored for horse meat inspections. FRER’s efforts helped to delay any start-up, just long enough until a new federal budget was ready to pass; a budget which again removed funding for USDA inspections of horse meat.

However, a permanent ban must be passed through federal legislation.

The good news is the number of horses being sent to slaughter has declined significantly for at least 10 years.

The bad news is that just over 20,000 horses each year, both domestic and wild, are still caught up in the dangerous slaughter pipeline.

Horses are not disposable trash. They deserve so much better than being used up, cast off, and bought by kill buyers who send them on a terrifying journey to slaughter. The cruelty begins long before a horse reaches the kill box.

Undercover investigations have revealed the dark side of the horse industry — an industry where too many “horse professionals” turn a blind eye to slaughter. There are equine organizations which claim slaughter is a “necessary evil”, and some employ lobbyists to prevent legislation to end this grisly trade.

But when we stand together and speak up for the horses, great progress can be made to end this grossly inhumane business and silence the “bone saws” for good.

Remember, no matter where it’s done or what method to kill is used, horse slaughter is NEVER humane! And there are numerous humane alternatives to slaughter for all horses.

If passed, current legislation known as the S.A.F.E. Act (Save America’s Forgotten Equines) will provide a ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. and across its borders. With bipartisan support for this bill, now is the time for an even greater push to get elected officials on board to vote “YES” for this bill to pass into law.

Americans do not eat horses. America’s horses are not raised or regulated as a food animal. They receive numerous products and medications over the course of their lives which contain substances banned for use in food animals. Their flesh is contaminated by these banned substances and could have dangerous to deadly consequences for human consumption.

Please join us as we seek JUSTICE for thousands of innocent horses trapped in the slaughter pipeline because of ignorance, lack of owner education or just plain cruelty.

Contact your two U.S. Senators (www.senate.gov) and your U.S. House Representative (www.house.gov) to urge their support for the S.A.F.E. Act (Senate bill is S.2037; House bill is H.R.3475).

If we had not intervened, these horses were likely to either die on a kill lot or be loaded onto trucks for a hellish trip to slaughter (and unlikely to survive the transport for some of them).

How many people saw these horses as they silently suffered before ending up in the hands of a kill buyer?



Wildfire Smoke Is Dangerous To Horses

The effects of smoke on horses are similar to the effects on humans and can include irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, aggravation of conditions like heaves (recurrent airway obstruction), and reduced lung function. High concentrations of particulates can cause persistent cough, increased nasal discharge, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Particulates can also alter the immune system and reduce the ability of the lungs to remove foreign materials, such as pollen and bacteria, to which horses are normally exposed.

Click here to read more details.

Horses, other animals and humans face dangers from wildfire smoke, even when the actual fire(s) can be hundreds of miles away.

Wild Horse Advocates File Lawsuit On Behalf of WY Wild Horses

Late in 2021 to early 2022, the BLM rounded up over 3,500 wild horses from their home ranges in SW Wyoming. Thirty seven of the horses died during the roundup. Photo credit: Meg Frederick

On May 17, 2023, plaintiffs (Return to Freedom, Front Range Equine Rescue, Meg Frederick and Angelique Rea) filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from removing around 2 million acres designated for wild horses in southwest Wyoming, a move which would be to the benefit of private livestock ranchers.

“This decision must not be allowed to stand,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom (RTF), a national nonprofit wild horse and burro advocacy organization. “The BLM is using an agreement with livestock ranchers as an excuse to violate its responsibilities under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Federally protected wild horses and burros must not be allowed to be removed from our public lands due to private landowner pressure — or whole herds will vanish across the West.”

The BLM’s changes, finalized on May 8, 2023, will:

  • remove 1.95 million acres from wild horse use by converting the Salt Wells and Great Divide Herd Management Areas to inactive Herd Areas not managed for horses;
  • manage the herd on the 393,000-acre White Mountain Herd Management Area as non-reproducing, effectively zeroing it out, too, with the agency considering population management tools that are dangerous, inhumane, unproven, costly (surgical sterilization of mares), ineffective (sex-ratio skewing) or that do not have a fully understood effect on wild herds (gelding stallions);
  • slash its population target for the 478,000-acre Adobe Town Herd Management Area from a range of 610-800 wild horses to just 225-450 horses; and
  • potentially engage in illegal and unnecessary surgical sterilization of the resident wild horses.

The BLM stated that it amended its Resource Management Plan based on an agreement it entered into in 2013 with the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA).

The RSGA had sued for the removal of all of the wild horses from the 2-million-acre Checkerboard region, an unfenced area of alternating, one-mile-square blocks of public and private land set up in the 1860s as part of negotiations with the Union Pacific railroad.

The BLM’s reason for removing this land from wild horse use is that complying with its legal obligations to America’s wild horses is too much trouble for it.

“The BLM can’t just throw up its hands because Congress handed it a challenge with managing wild horses on taxpayer funded lands,” said Hilary Wood, President of plaintiff FRER. “That just isn’t a valid reason for the BLM which is charged with conserving wild horses and burros on behalf of all Americans.”

The announced changes demonstrate blatant bias and violation of federal law. And during a $1.1 million, three-month-long helicopter roundup from late 2021 to early 2022, the BLM set the stage for the changes by capturing and removing 3,502 wild horses from their home ranges in Southwest Wyoming. Thirty-seven wild horses died during the roundup.

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation (RTF) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education, conservation, and advocacy since 1998. It also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary at three California locations, caring for more than 450 wild horses and burros.

Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education. It was incorporated in the State of Colorado in 1997. FRER’s “Save the Wild Horses” campaign provides rescue, education, advocacy and legal action to protect America’s wild horses.

A Win for Colorado’s Wild Horses

Colorado’s wild horse herds receive support to better protect them via new legislation.

Recently, the Colorado General Assembly passed a bill called the Colorado Wild Horse Project (SB 23-275). It was then sent to Governor Polis for his signature.

The bill will provide funds for a humane and cost-effective alternative to cruel roundups. This is a significant step forward for long-term conservation of Colorado’s wild horses.

It will allocate $1.5M in state resources to support the work of existing local wild horse volunteer groups which focus on sustaining wild horse populations via safe, effective and humane fertility control along with habitat stewardship programs.

Also, a broad stakeholder working group will be created to offer recommendations for responsible placement options for captured and removed wild horses.

The Wild Horse Project stems from large public opposition to the last two years of government helicopter roundups in Colorado. These roundups removed 1,800 wild horses and led to the deaths of 149 of these innocent horses in overcrowded holding pens.

Colorado’s political leaders (with broad constituencies that include wild horse advocates, environmentalists, and ranching interests) joined up to find a solution.

Many thanks go to Governor Jared Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, House Majority Leader Monica Duran, House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, Senator Joann Ginal, and Senator Perry Will, who worked on a bipartisan basis to protect and care for Colorado’s wild horse herds.

Testimony for the bill from Majority Leader Duran included her stating that:

“… In Colorado, we love our horses. They are central to our state’s history and culture…after the two helicopter roundups that occurred in our state, there was an outcry. And this bill is an answer to that outcry.”


Wild Horse & Burro Management Plan (FY23)

Keep America’s wild horses and burros free on the taxpayer funded public lands allocated to them by law.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its 2023 Wild Horse and Burro Program gather schedule along with population data. Details are very concerning as it reveals the usual “manage to extinction” policy.

The BLM is in charge of managing a majority of wild horse herds located out West. Its plan includes rounding up over 7,000 wild horses and burros with a permanent removal of over 5,800 from taxpayer funded federal lands starting in July.

This schedule shows a change from the BLM’s proposed plans to remove 20,000 wild horses and burros each year over the next several years. Currently, the BLM doesn’t have enough funds to go forward with that plan. Estimates show there are now over 61,000 wild horses and burros in captivity at holding facilities (short- and long-term).

By giving in to private and special interests, the BLM has removed thousands more wild horses than it could possibly put into private care.

The BLM’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) wild horse and burro population data suggests a small increase in on-the-range population numbers; however, the BLM’s estimate is questionable when taking into account the large-scale removals in 2022 and mortality rates increased due to an historically harsh winter out West.

If they are reporting an actual increase, even a slight one, the BLM’s unnecessary wild horse roundups show a failure to create even short-term progress to achieve its population goals. Instead, a long-term fiscal crisis has resulted from the removal of more than 20,000 wild horses and burros, pushing short- and long-term holding to beyond capacity.

Last December, the U.S. Congress included a bipartisan wild horse protection measure in the FY23 appropriations omnibus. The measure requires the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program to make use of up to $11 million for reversible immunocontraceptive fertility control during FY23 in order to sustainably manage wild horses and burros on the range.

However, the BLM plans to implement fertility control on only just over 1,500 animals. Reports indicate the BLM spent over $100 million taxpayer dollars in 2022 to round up wild horses and burros from Western public lands with captured ones being warehoused in holding facilities. Only a small portion of their budget was spent on humane fertility control to manage herds on the range.

7 Race Horses Dead Before & On Derby Day in Kentucky

Nicholas is one of dozens and dozens of OTTBs (off the track Thoroughbreds) rescued over the years by Front Range Equine Rescue.

According to news sources, a string of racehorse deaths occurred in the week of the Kentucky Derby, with two of the deaths on the actual day of the big race.

The so-called “king of sports” has a long history of questionable and inhumane practices resulting in many racehorses sustaining injuries, breakdowns, and deaths every year.

As an article in NPR notes:

“The 149th Kentucky Derby may be over, but questions about what led to a string of horse fatalities at its famed track have just begun.

Over the past week, a total of seven horses died in the lead-up to the final race on Saturday — prompting an investigation into the deaths and fueling outrage from animal rights activists.

The disturbing death toll seen at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, is the latest scandal to hit the horse race industry despite recent efforts to make the sport safer for animals.”

To read more, click here.

War Against Wild Horses & Burros Continues

Federally protected wild horses and burros are at the mercy of cruel roundups by the BLM and/or U.S. Forest Service which have authority to manage them on public lands. (Photo credit: S. Paige/RtF)

Reports show that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rounded up a record number of wild horses and burros in 2022. More than 20,000 were forcefully taken from taxpayer funded public lands.

No thanks to Congress over the past years for providing increased funding for roundups and emboldening the BLM to plan for the use of fertility control methods that are untested, dangerous and even deadly.

The BLM intends to gut herds by another 20,000 during 2023.

For decades, the government has given into a small special interest group – public land ranchers – for the management of taxpayer funded public lands. The government must use science to manage public land resources and stop catering to what’s commonly called the “good ol’ boy” network.

The BLM has targeted one of the largest wild horse herds remaining in Nevada. The Clan Alpine herd is located about 40 miles outside Fallon, NV. They estimate that just over 1,700 wild horses live in and around the designated Herd Management Area (HMA).

The BLM is gearing up to remove horses down to a randomly chosen management level of approximately 612-979 wild horses. This size range was determined years ago to allow for massive livestock grazing that has overrun the area even before the BLM was founded in the mid 1940s.


Wild horse and burro supporters must not give in to fatigue or hopelessness as the mismanagement of America’s wild horses and burros has continued for decades. The “wins” may seem few and far between, but doing nothing will remove these iconic animals forever. Massive public pressure ensured the passage of the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Contact your federal elected officials to let them know you want safe, humane management for wild horses and burros on the range; an end to brutal and unnecessary roundups, and the increased use of safe/proven/humane population control via PZP as well as more public private partnerships to keep America’s horses wild and free on the lands designated to them by law.

Save Horses: Barn Fire Prevention Tips

Too many barns have overhead hay storage and we (FRER) never recommend having this as a way to store hay. Barns should also be built so there are multiple exits to safely get horses out in the event of a fire. Stalls with outdoor runs attached give horses a good way to get out if main door exits (located on both front/back of a barn) are unavailable.

Over the past three years, at least 281 equines have died in barn fires according to research conducted by Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

A barn fire is a nightmare for any equine owner and understanding risk factors and using preventive measures can help keep your horses safe.

“… and as I looked upward, through the bars of my empty (hay) rack, I saw a red light flickering on the wall. Then I heard a cry of “FIRE” outside, and the old ostler quietly and quickly came in; he got one horse out, and went to another, but the flames were playing round the trap door, and the roaring overhead was dreadful.” (Black Beauty by Anna Sewell)

Barn fires often occur more in the winter due to the greater use of electrical heating devices to keep water tanks/buckets heated. But items such as heat lamps and space heaters also pose a risk to your barn and should never be left unattended.

Using a physical checklist that is gone over every night before leaving the barn is essential.

When using electrical heat sources, consistently monitor to ensure there are no fuel sources in the barn area, and also always make sure to clear loose hay, cobwebs, and straw, if used, as fire will quickly travel through a structure if these items catch fire. .

You can also request an inspection by your local fire department, including a thorough inspection of your property to help catch potential risks. Take care of any issues immediately, which can include chewed-up wires, out-of-date fire extinguishers, propane or gasoline canisters that should be stored elsewhere, or damp, improperly dried hay which can spontaneously combust.

Understanding and finding the risk factors of a barn fire is an essential skill for any barn owner or manager!

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Protect Wild Horses & Burros

On October 7, the following members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill on behalf of protecting wild horses and burros: Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Dina Titus (D-NV).

The bill, called the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Protection Act of 2022, is a significant step in the right direction for protecting wild horses and burros from federal mismanagement.

Some of the major reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) Wild Horse and Burro Programs includes:  

  • Repeal the Burns Amendment, which amended the original 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to allow for the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros;
  • End the cash incentives for adoption that have resulted in hundreds of wild horses and burros going into the slaughter pipeline;
  • Prevent the use of killing as a population control method and restrict the use of euthanasia only to life-threatening situations;
  • Prioritize humane population management with tools like fertility control instead of inhumane helicopter roundups and removals; and
  • Encourage partnerships with military veterans and non-governmental organizations in order to keep wild horses and burros wild.

How To Load a Horse In a Trailer Safely? (A Complete Guide)

We thank Neal Schaffer at Double D Trailers for sharing some important trailer loading tips.

You’ll probably need to use a trailer to transport your horse at some time. While some horses load onto trailers without incident, others get fearful and refuse to do so. We have put up this information because we know how irritating it can be when the horse refuses to load despite all of your attempts to convince them to do so.

How can a horse be made to load onto a trailer? By doing the following, you can make them load.

  • Observe the necessary safety precautions when loading your horse.
  • Desensitize your horse to the trailer’s other features, including its small compartments.
  • To persuade the horse to board the trailer, employ simple groundwork techniques.
  • Provide a positive experience for your horse as soon as they enter the trailer.
  • Be constant in practicing getting your horse on the trailer.

If you just want to compete, go to competitions, or even take the pony to the vet if required, you’ll need to trailer your horse. You’ll avoid a lot of stress if you can securely put your horse onto a trailer, we know. For the above reason, here is the lifesaver Double D Trailers Safetack Reverse Living Quarters.

The Double D Trailers reversing horse trailer is a wiser choice, thanks to a number of important features. The Safetack Reverse Slant Load trailer aims at the shortcomings of everything other companies are doing. The main aim of the company was to build something that could actually be more relevant.

Picture source: https://www.doubledtrailers.com/living-quarters-horse-trailers/

Designs for rear-facing trailers have been there for a while. Instead, the company applied a fresh layout and additional safety measures to an old concept. Most of these additional layouts also have side entrances, segregated stalls, and reverse slant load configurations.

The area in which the horse may escape the trailer is constrained by the tack storage room, which also decreases the lifting area for the back doors. The Double D Trailers design has an additional wall behind the back horse as another safety precaution. This divider keeps the horse from attempting to unload as soon as the trailer’s rear ramp is opened.

Drop-down glass on both sides of the horse trailer and overhead pop-up vents at the horse’s head and tail are features of the Safetack Reverse Slant design. As a result, owners can face their horses either rearward or forward without compromising accessibility or ventilation.

We have step-wise demonstrated the following actions to train horses to lift onto a trailer:

STEP 1: Make the appropriate safety preparations before loading your horse

There are various safety risks that you should be aware of while dealing with a horse to load properly on a trailer.

Always connect the trailer to a vehicle

Prior to trying to load your horse on the trailer, ensure it is constantly connected to a stationary vehicle. Horses may weigh up to one ton; therefore, if a trailer isn’t connected to a vehicle, the weight of a horse might easily cause the trailer to shift.

Respect your personal space

A horse may begin to disregard any degree of self boundaries you may have when they become agitated over a task you are asking them to complete. By being aware of this beforehand, you may perform groundwork activities to teach the horse to respect personal space.

When dealing with a horse and a trailer, keep yourself out of potentially hazardous situations

Once your horse is inside the trailer, these zones may include the space between both the horse and the trailer wall. Never enter the area; your horse might easily squash you or become frightened and badly hurt you.

Avoid standing immediately behind a trailer with a horse that isn’t restrained inside; the animal could escape and strike you by mistake. Always keep an eye on the horse’s whereabouts and stand to the side.

Know how your horse would respond in this circumstance

You may get ready and be safe in advance by being aware of how a horse that is hesitant to load into a trailer might behave. The most frequent movement we observe in horses trying to board a trailer is a backward run, or of the trailer or out from it. When working with your horse, be sure nobody is standing behind the trailer.

As you guide the horse onto the trailer, exercise caution since the animal might jump on and unintentionally knock you down. By training your horse to self-load, you may avoid danger.

Before tying your horse up, be always sure to lock the panels or door of the trailer.

You are creating a very severe and hazardous scenario if the horse is restrained, yet there is no barrier to prevent them from backing out and stepping off the trailer. Always lock that rear panel or door before putting your horse up to prevent this.

STEP 2: Work on desensitizing the horse to confined spaces

It might be simpler for your horse to endure the entire process if you take the time to get your horse ready for loading onto the trailer. You may give the horse greater confidence during loading by acclimating them to confined areas beforehand, as well as by moving up and backing off of anything. Try the following exercises as a warm-up:

Create Difficult Obstacles to Surmount

The cramped and small area that a horse trailer offers may be the reason why the horse is hesitant to board it. Since horses are predatory animals, feeling confined, as in a trailer, may undoubtedly cause them to go into flight mode. Desensitize your horse to restricted spaces to help him feel more comfortable in the trailer.

Create tight-space challenges first; it is suggested to frequently construct a tiny funnel using ground poles or two barrels placed side by side for walking through. Simply getting the horse acclimated to these confined spaces is the main objective here.

Practice getting your horse to step onto and off of a cliff or slope

Your horse would enter the trailer without difficulty, but pulling out of it would be a major hassle. The horse might develop a fear of backing up the trailer as a result. You wouldn’t believe how many horses there are that are like this.

We’ve found that practicing sliding the horse down a descent, such as a little hill, is a fantastic exercise to fight this. It will feel like backing down a ramp when you do this. Train backing off of tiny cliffs or perhaps even stakes on the ground if your trailer doesn’t have a ramp. The horse will be more comfortable when the trailer is backed off in this manner. After some practice, many were able to back their horse out of the trailer with ease.

STEP 3: Encourage The Horse to Board the Trailer Using Simple Groundwork

Groundwork Suggestions for Novice Riders

Before we continue, we want to stress the importance of maintaining calm when working with the horse and the trailer. If you get impatient and put your horse in a stressful situation, the horse may become resistant to loading onto the trailer.

When loading your horse, pressure and release are the basic foundations you’ll utilize most frequently. A training method is known as “pressure and release” teaches horses how to respond appropriately by releasing pressure. For instance, you could exert pressure on the lead if you want your horse to advance. We’ll let off the strain after the horse moves forward appropriately in response. If the horse rejects or resists the pressure, we’ll keep applying it until the horse reacts in some way. We’ll next demonstrate how to apply this idea while loading your horse onto the trailer.

Getting Close to the Trailer

The first thing you’ll do is confidently and assertively bring the horse up to the trailer.

The more assured you are, the more assured the horse will be. Encourage the horse to move forward if it hesitates; if it begins to back away, stay still and command the animal to come back up to you. Hold the pressure while escalating it gradually until they comply.

Reward Even the Tiniest Forward Progress

You can let the horse relax and stand for a while if they seem a little more confident about approaching the trailer. It might not first appear as though the horse is loading the trailer. The horse can only appear to be placing one of its front feet inside the trailer. Release any force you may be using as immediately as they accomplish this, and then give your horse some praise.

If your horse is wary of reaching the trailer, remember to praise him or her for even the smallest forward movement.

Regularly Give Your Horse Breaks

Give your regular horse breaks, and don’t put too much pressure on them when loading them onto the trailer, if you want them to enjoy this experience. Making horses focus for extended amounts of time on something they might become angry with can be demanding because they can only focus for around 20 seconds at a time. Instead, take breaks for your horse every few minutes as you work them with the trailer. This might serve as a motivational tool for approaching or boarding the trailer.

A break entails briefly leaving the trailer and simply guiding the horse about. Never do this unless the horse yields to pressure appropriately. Whenever the horse is resisting you and applying pressure, taking a pause will actually encourage the animal to behave in that manner.

The groundwork phase of teaching a horse is regarded as its core. Check out some Foundation Exercises for Your Horse if you’d like to learn some fundamental groundwork methods.

Step 4: Make a positive experience for your horse

It’s crucial that you make absolutely sure your horse enjoys every moment inside the trailer in order to help them develop positive associations with it.

Give them a trailer to rest in after their shift

Your goal is for your horse to see loading up on the horse trailer positively. This suggests you to underline that boarding the trailer equals a well-earned nap and a sense of accomplishment. You must give them all the praise you can muster once the horse is in the trailer and let it know it’s doing well.

Remember that it is a significant improvement if your horse is very reluctant to board the trailer. Don’t take any actions that might fast reverse this progress and force youto start over. Simply because your horse was first frightened of the trailer does not warrant rushing them or being irritated with them.

Show them that it’s fun to be on the trailer

As per the horse owners, when their horse found out it would be riding in the trailer, the pony used to become very happy. As soon as it started moving in the direction of the trailer, it would simply get aboard and take a seat by itself. Why do the horses act this way? She was aware that within was a lovely, fully-filled hay net. Horses enjoy eating, and often they prefer the locations where they are fed. You may make your horse feel completely at home by just having them stay on the trailer and munch hay.

Picture source: https://www.doubledtrailers.com/living-quarters-horse-trailers/

Since horses are pack animals, they naturally like to be among other horses. Put other horses on the trailer with yours so that it becomes a familiar place for your horse. Pick a horse that is accustomed to riding on trailers and won’t cause a scene. Your horse will stay relaxed thanks to its composed temperament.

Horses learn by consistency, so if you utilize the trailer frequently, that’s only reasonable for them to become accustomed to it. Although it can seem like a pain, this is actually a lot of fun. You can start attending events, outings, and off-site trail trips after you can load your horse onto the trailer. Every weekend, you should trailer your horse away from the ranch.

Never forget that horses require consistency in order to comprehend what you are asking of them. Be persistent in your training techniques and the commands you give the horse. Your horse will be better able to respond to your signals as a result of this.


  • Horse Trailering Tips, November 2014. Meadows, D. and Henton, J. eXtension.
  • Knot Tying: Quick Release Slip Knot, February 2015. eXtension.
  • Basic Horse Safety Manual. American Youth Horse Council in Cooperation with the American Horse Council. 1989.
  • Dehydration, stress, and water consumption of horses during long-distance commercial transport. 2000. Friend, T.H. Journal of Animal Science 78:2568–2580

50th Anniversary of the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses & Burros Act

This week marked the 50 year anniversary of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Sadly, America’s wild horses and burros’ future is in grave jeopardy, in spite of becoming a federally protected species 50 years ago.

The decades-long fight by powerful and wealthy special interests to rid our public lands of these iconic animals has continued to this day. And too many in Congress have been grossly misled by profiteers who continue to exploit taxpayer-funded public lands for commercial and private gain.

President Nixon signed the Act into law on December 15, 1971 and indicated that only about 20,500 wild horses and burros remained on public lands. According to Nixon, “…competition for forage used by domestic livestock, construction of new roads and urban areas, and expansion of agricultural areas have reduced their numbers and sharply decreased the areas where they are free to roam.”

Today America’s wild horses and burros face unprecedented and massive roundups, proposals for dangerous sterilization methods and a continued elimination of millions of acres of lawfully designated wild horse and burro habitat.

It is up to the American people to fight back against commercial interests and continue to pressure elected officials to stand up for wild horses and burros in order to protect and preserve them as intended by the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Horses & Heroes Educational Progam

Front Range Equine Rescue’s education coordinator, Marion, is a full-time teacher who has put together a variety of horse-related curriculums for students of many ages. She has fostered horses for FRER for over 15 years and hosts the annual horse camps at her 5-acre facility.

A few years ago, Marion developed a home school enrichment program where students participate in a unit of study called “Heroes Who Changed the World in a Positive Way”. In her program, students learn about Hilary Wood, founder of Front Range Equine Rescue, how she started the 501c3 nonprofit organization, what the rescue’s mission is, and how students can get involved and help.

Students watch a video featuring some of the rescued horses who have been rehabilitated. Next, they visit workstations that depict learning through hands-on activities for horse anatomy, read information displays about wild horse roundups, horse breeds, horse slaughter, horse instincts, and volunteerism.

Students play a running true/false game after gaining knowledge and also look at Front Range Equine Rescue’s website to gain more insight into the rescue and its various programs to help abused horses. Finally, the students work in pairs reading through FRER’s past calendars to learn more about horses who have been rescued and horse welfare issues. Afterward, they give a short presentation to the class to share these stories.

The participating students are all in middle school, grades 6th-8th, and range in ages 11-14 years old. In 2021, there are two sections for this special class reaching about 40 students overall, with 20 or so per class. 22 students signed up for the first section. This is now the 7th year Marion has taught this very popular special course.