View Full Version : 1st time in a trailer - wtd?

Oct. 14, 2009, 10:30 AM
I am picking up a yearling this weekend that has never been in a trailer. She is a decent sized WB/TB. The trip home will be about 1 1/2 hours. The seller wants me to ship her in a box stall untied since it is her first time. My trainer says she will be fine in one of the regular straight load slots and to tie her loosely. My trailer is extra tall and extra wide. I can convert the front to a box stall, but it is a huge pain and I will be shipping other horses later in the day and would need to convert it back. I will also have extra hands with me, so someone could ride with her in the trailer if needed (it's a 4-horse so person would be safe). She will be the only horse on the trailer. Opinions?

Oct. 14, 2009, 10:41 AM
I ship a ton of weanlings, yearlings and 2-3 year olds for their very first trailer rides

Without exception, they ALL enter my trailer with the middle partition out and travel loose in a box stall.

The opening into my trailer is open and bright and inviting, we approach loading them like we have all the time in the world to get it accomplished and our laid back, casual attitude transmits to them and it usually takes us 2-3 minutes to get them up the ramp and into the box stall.

They have all travelled well, with a minimum of fuss and come off the trailer calm and relaxed

Honestly - I would NEVER put a first timer into a stall, tied up no matter if someone is riding back there or not. And a panicked good size yearling can cause some serious damage to themselves and whoever is back there with them if they start to panic

I'd suck it up and dismantle the back area to allow her to travel in a box stall for this first, very important trip. I really would

Good luck

Oct. 14, 2009, 10:44 AM
If she's a nervous filly- I'd put her in the box. It's worth the trouble. If she's well handled and seemingly calm normally- I'd put her in the straight stall with your handler holding her. If she doesn't know how to tie already and you tie her in the trailer- might cause a scene. If you tie her loosely- be sure it's not loose enough she can get tie around her head, etc. when she puts her head down. If no handler in there with her- tie her semi loose and keep the van rolling!

Good luck- she'll be fine. I put my 17h 3yo ISH in the van for the first time a month ago. He was in a box (bc he was going 7hrs away) and after the first 20m of walking around in a circle- he stood still the rest of the way. They really mellow out once they are moving.

Oct. 14, 2009, 10:57 AM
We try to make the first trip in a box stall if possible as it really is easier on a horse. Being the only one on the trailer is going to be "worrisome" enough for her as it is. I'd take out a divider and haul her loose.

Oct. 14, 2009, 11:12 AM
It's a hassle to convert to a box stall but vet visits are MUCH bigger hassles. My filly broke the halter the first time she traveled tied (good thing it was leather) Better a halter than a neck....

I tried longer ties but she got her head around the divider. We let her travel untied till she was very comfortable in the trailer and now have her on bungee ties.

Oct. 14, 2009, 11:34 AM
We try to make the first trip in a box stall if possible as it really is easier on a horse. Being the only one on the trailer is going to be "worrisome" enough for her as it is. I'd take out a divider and haul her loose.

Sage words of advice here - better to be safe than sorry.

Oct. 14, 2009, 11:45 AM
Thanks guys! Looks like we will be going with the box stall.

Oct. 14, 2009, 01:05 PM
Box stall for sure on the first trip - make that first experience a good one! :winkgrin:

Oct. 14, 2009, 05:51 PM
Don't know if it's doable for you, but I like to have a calm buddy in the trailer for those first trips.

Oct. 14, 2009, 06:39 PM
I'd come prepared with ropes, gloves, a chain, ace, and several people. If she has had good handling she should walk on with hardly any hesitation. If she's been mostly wild in a pasture you might have to force or drag her on.

Make sure you have curtains on your doors and that you use a beefy truck in case she stomps around a lot. Don't tie unless she's in a straight stall or she can fall down and hang. Something without mangers is best.

Drive all the way home without stopping.

I have experience!

Oct. 14, 2009, 07:02 PM
Without a doubt use a box stall. First trips are stressful enough without the added stress of being alone, moving over an hour, no trailer training, new home, etc. I would pay to have a professional haul in a box stall if this is something that you don't want to do with your trailer. I'm hopefully picking up a yearling in a month as well that's never been in a trailer and I never questioned for a minute not to use a box stall.

Oct. 14, 2009, 07:45 PM
If you have access to STOCK TRAILER I would go with that. Ive never a had an issue moving even unhandled BLM horses in an open stock, even putting several horses in at once. They situation themselves and figure it out. If you can't get a stock (99% of even the wild, rank and rogue walk right in my experience) then use as close to a "stall" as you can get. If you can bring along an older quiet horse (an OLD pony often works well) it may help settle her on the trip. No one likes traveling alone thats for sure. I would avoid "straight load" if at all possible, but if thats all you got thats all you got. If it comes down to a straight load bring along a super calm traveling buddy for the other side to make company for baby. Above all don't over do it, don't make a big deal about it and stay as calm and possible. If you go into it KNOWINg she will walk right on then 99% of the time the boogers do :D

Oct. 14, 2009, 09:12 PM
I went to pick up a 2 y.o. filly that HAD been shipped before, but not in a while, in my Kingston extra high/wide two horse. I left the divider in. I tied her very loosely and she had plenty of room between the divider and the wall. About 10 minutes into the ride, she reared up and cracked her head open on the ceiling. I stopped at a gas station to find her with blood all down her face and a 4 inch gash right between her eyes. I had to go all the way back to the seller's farm, call the vet in for an emergency visit, and leave her there (because she had been sedated). Then I had to pay a shipper to bring her down later in the week using a stock trailer. She did great untied in the stock and even loaded right up.

I learned my lesson about shipping babies the hard way - it was a miserable experience, don't repeat what I did!!

Oct. 15, 2009, 09:21 AM
Ditto on the stock trailer- I've helped load the wild mustangs at the BLM sales and they walk in 2 to a box stall and situate themselves and ride quietly - even 4 hours home.

Oct. 15, 2009, 03:43 PM
I would NOT take the halter off of any horse in the trailer! (Okay, maybe if I had loaded a BLM mustang that had no halter on, I'd let it ride "naked", but that's an exceptional circumstance.) Sure, things will probably go fine...but what happens if you have a wreck and/or one of the doors comes open, baby tries to jump out of the trailer (maybe succeeds), etc? Now you have a loose, frantic baby with no halter on its head. I'd think the odds of a hoof getting stuck in a well-fitting halter are significantly slimmer than the odds of a wreck. Use a break-away or leather halter if you must, but don't take the halter off!

I agree that a young horse on its first trip will probably ride best in a stock trailer or box stall. If you are converting a two-horse into a box stall, make sure you either have full back doors or close both halves of the back door so baby doesn't make a break for it! I don't even like to see the top half of the back doors open with adult horses traveling tied...you never know when something might happen to cause one to sit back and possibly flip over the door.

Oct. 16, 2009, 09:33 AM
My weanling was delivered to me in a big truck with box stalls and she hauled well...I ditto that recommendation...my friends also travel that way when they take their foals to inspections...I was very nervous hauling her on trips 2 and 3, but she did fine at that point...

tidy rabbit
Oct. 16, 2009, 09:37 AM
I take an older gelding to pick up weanlings. Makes all the difference for them to have a quiet buddy on the trailer.

Oct. 16, 2009, 07:22 PM
Add me to the "hauls loose" crowd. I wouldn't even think about hauling a "virgin" youngster tied. I hauled my 3 yearlings tied, but they had already had half a dozen short trips under their belt and tied reliably.

Oct. 18, 2009, 12:01 PM
First timers need to have a non-claustrophobic first trip... they need to be able to move, not trapped into an unmovable position by a partition, and tied. When/if panic sets in when they feel the first motion of the trailer, being unable to move just makes it worse for them. Once they have felt the motion of the trailer at least one time, and are accustomed to it, know that it is going to be OK, it is more likely that they will tolerate the confinement of a partition and being tied (if they are already broke to tie).

My new trailer used to be an old 6 horse featherlite slant. It is now a three box stall luxury liner, with a front and back ramp. Even older horses who have been fine in partitioned stalls love it, much more relaxed travelling in a box stall. I can stick up to 7 horses in it now, two and three to a stall, if necessary. Stalls are about 7' wide X 8' long. Best thing since sliced bread. Would never go back to having partitioned stalls.

Oct. 18, 2009, 12:07 PM
I have a 2-horse straight load. I haven't put the partition in for many years.

I introduced a young horse to the trailer and closed the "butterfly" doors and was getting ready to put the ramp up.

A guy was in the trailer reassuring the horse.

The horse paniced and tried to get out under the butterfly doors.

Fortunately I had a syringe with Ace in the frig and got it into the horse.

It was a horrible experience and now we are reintroducing the horse to trailering in a 3-horse slant load.

I also would introduce a horse to a confined darker space by putting the horse into a box stall if you have one.