View Full Version : Will my horse fall out the back of the trailer?

Oct. 16, 2009, 01:39 PM
I have a lovely aluminum Classic 3-horse slant which I loff very much! It has double rear doors with the standard latches (the kind that has a bar that runs up and down the door and engages at the top and bottom). It has no butt bar or barrer between the last stall and the doors.

My Nokota draftX fits better in the last stall, but she's also one who likes to shift around a lot (she is tied). I have nightmares that she'll somehow end up leaning against the back doors and fall out while we're going down the road! Perhaps just my paranoia, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Has anyone retrofitted a butt bar or some type of reinforcement to the rear doors? Other suggestions? Thanks!

Oct. 16, 2009, 02:06 PM
I would definitely put in a butt strap at least. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone capable of doing the work and it would give you great peace of mind. I know that I wouldn't want to put a horse in the last stall of my 4 horse without the strap there.

Oct. 16, 2009, 02:53 PM
I had my trailer mfg add one for us on our 6h (I could have taken it to a machine shop but I decided I wanted someone who was used to putting in butt straps/bars to do it) Can't remember how much it cost but it was really mostly just materials (I got the leather covered padded chain) and 15 mins or so to weld on the attachments.

Oct. 16, 2009, 03:48 PM
I know someone who DID have a horse, literally, fall out the back of the horse trailer. Granted, it was a two horse, different from the OP's, but this person chose to not do up the buttbar (doh!) and instead moved the partition over.
To everyone's best guess, poop must have been in the hinge of the ramp when she closed it, jiggled out down the bumpy gravel road she was going down after hunting, then the ramp was loose... and presto horse was out. Fortunately she was not going very fast and realized it before she got to a main road. It was an older trailer which has since gone back and had new pieces put on the ramp to keep it firmly closed...
So yes, in case something ever happened, get a butt bar and USE it...

Oct. 16, 2009, 03:59 PM
I have a 2H slant with the same type of doors, and recently had my local trailer place add a butt chain with a plastic cover.

I now have peace of mind and it only cost me $40.00.

Oct. 16, 2009, 09:00 PM
I have a 3-horse slant and frequently haul with 3 horses. The last section is the smallest and as such if I haul a large horse the horse ends up touching or leaning against the door. I haven't ever worried about the door being pushed open or "popping" open.....it's such a strong secure latch (and I use locking rings to make sure it couldn't jiggle open on a bumpy road), that I can't imagine what it would take to somehow breach that latch.

I have had a passing thought about a horse stepping really hard right on the edge of the door and the floor (a similar scenario to the horrendous stories of horses stepping down on up-front emergency doors and then pulling their hooves back out thereby slicing pieces of foot off), but really the latch at the top and the bottom would presumably prevent that. Not to mention the fact that the back doors aren't those thin metal-edged doors.

Anyhow, my vote goes to not worrying about it if you have a well built trailer in good condition. But it sounds like it's easy enough to retrofit a butt chain of some sort if it makes you feel better. No point in hauling with any extra stress! :)

Oct. 16, 2009, 09:18 PM
on a related note, has anyone ever had a divider/butt chains added to a smaller stock trailer? For the same reasons! If so, who/where/idea of costs?

Oct. 19, 2009, 04:25 PM
I'd get something installed to go across the back. Even if your trailer is safe, it will help your peace of mind and should prevent your horse learning any bad habits like backing out of the trailer. You don't want your horse stepping onto the ramp as you're trying to put it up! :eek:

Oct. 19, 2009, 06:00 PM
Would a chain really prevent a horse falling out? I mean if we think they can somehow push the doors open, is a chain that much of a barrier?

(Just thinking out loud here...)

Oct. 19, 2009, 06:05 PM
Neither of my step-up slant load trailers have had butt bars, and nobody has ever fallen out. :)

Oct. 20, 2009, 09:09 AM
not that I can help but have a bit to add...I have a sundowner, it has a butt bar however one of my warmbloods tore it off ( another story) so we had put a stall guard in its place...we are cruising down the interstate at about 70 mph, hear a BAM...and yes the back ramp had fallen open (me thinks my daughter didnt hook it properly but we had been traveling almost three hours, she says she did..who knows) terrified I pull over knowing the horse is freaking and could step back and who knows...I pull over and he's calmly eatting hay and looks at me like "hey whats up"...we now hook the door closed with a clip...

Oct. 20, 2009, 09:30 AM
Ebvann, that is scary. Thank goodness he sounds like a cool customer. To the o/p, I was just talking about this with a guy at my feed store yesterday. His huge w/b sat on the butt bar, destroying it and bending the rear door of the trailer in the process. I agree with everyone who has suggested that you find someone to put in a strong butt bar for your horse.

Oct. 20, 2009, 06:08 PM
Has anyone retrofitted a butt bar or some type of reinforcement to the rear doors? Other suggestions? Thanks!

It would be difficult to install a butt bar in a slant load. I talked about it when I went to my trailer guy, but the problem is there is no place (in a slant load) for the butt bar to go so that you can put it up. Butt bars work in a straightload b/c it's a short bar that can easily be raised. In a slant, the bar would have to go all the way across the entire width since you can't put a solid post right in the middle of a slant load.

I will take a picture of my chain and you can decide if you think that would work for you.

Oct. 20, 2009, 10:24 PM
My husband made a full width butt bar for my Brenderup. He used a piece of heavy duty pipe and welded an L shaped 1/2" rod into the ends, those slide into the brackets on the sides of the trailer. Cotter pins goes through the small hole drilled near the bottoms of the 1/2" rods to keep the butt bar from being pushed out of the brackets.

Oct. 21, 2009, 01:56 AM
I had a stallion sit on the back door so hard it bent the latch... he didnt fall out or anything BUT we could NOT open the door when we got home... took a crow bar and alot of hammering to get it open.. luckily the horse didn't care
trailer went straight to the show to have the whole back refitted/strengthened...so once in 25 years of hauling.. not bad :)

Oct. 21, 2009, 02:40 AM
I used to have a steel two horse straight load. Upper part of the doors on the back were latched open to the sides of the trailer going down the road... latch holding the upper door behind the slot of the horse was in failed and the upper door slammed shut spooking my horse. He kicked a few times.. maybe 4 or 5. I'm guessing serious double barrel kicks from what it felt and sounded like and what happened.

Anyways, I slowed down and pulled over asap. He had busted the catch off for one of the latches on the ramp and the lever part was bent all to heck on BOTH sides. The ramp was completely free on one side (the side horse was on) and hanging open about 4 inches on the other side. One or two more kicks and I'm pretty sure the ramp probably would have fallen open. I did have a butt bar but that whole incident sure was scary. I had to call my trainer to pick us up and drive my horse back home. He had some minor scrapes and some swelling from the incident but he was okay, other than being freaked out. I had the trailer fully repaired but I could never feel comfortable about it again, so I sold it and got a new one.

lesson junkie
Oct. 21, 2009, 09:09 AM
My Two horse slant has a partition that swings over at an angle, and bolts in the corner of the trailer. It has a sliding part at the latch end that lets it shorten and lengthen to allow for the diagonal of the slant.

It's a step up with the bar latch that paralells the door, and secures at the top and bottom. It's very strong, but I'd not want to haul without a way to keep the horses in the trailer with the door open. I don't see how a chain would work with a slant-the chain would be underfoot and covered with poop all the time.

dr j
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:13 AM
Would a chain really prevent a horse falling out? I mean if we think they can somehow push the doors open, is a chain that much of a barrier?

(Just thinking out loud here...)

No it isn't.

Many years ago I had a horse come out of the back of the trailer. It was a very large trailer- I think it was called a Campbell - two horse straight load ( no slants back then). It had top and bottom doors. He was not the best hauler and we bought this specific trailer to give him extra room. I heard the commotion/scrambling and was slowing down and pulling over when I saw the top door shoot off and his head fly out in my side mirror. He then was trotting down the road. I was alone ( of course). It appears he had scrambled, went down on his arse, came up against the back doors- shot both doors OFF of their hinges ( almost all of those swinging doors can be lifted off their hinges - or could at that time) as he tried to get up and came out under the metal butt bar. Butt bar was still in place.

Fortunately all 4 legs were wrapped -and while his wraps were in tatters, his legs were fine- a few abrasions. With the adrenaline that comes from seeing your horse flying into the road will give you, I was able to pick those ( extremely heavy) doors out of the road and throw them in the back of the truck.

We had the hinges reversed on the bottom doors after that but I still had a meltdown everytime we hauled -so eventually we bought him a cheap stock trailer and he hauled like a dream.

So yes- butt bars won't always prevent this... but a good door/latch will.

Oct. 21, 2009, 03:37 PM
I'm in the camp that can't envision how a butt bar would work in a slant load. It would go from where to where?

Oct. 22, 2009, 03:04 PM
Borrowed a friends 2 horse featherlite straight load a couple of years ago to pick up a new mare. The latch was just the one bar across the middle of the door, and a butt chain. 2 hours down the road the mare started kicking the trailer. BENT the latch to the door and kicked the door open. Standing in trailer. Fixed the handle and continued down road. Another hour and she did it again. Pulled over and same thing... handle bent, door open, mare in trailer.

Bent latch back and closed door, standing there talking with local farmers who stopped. Mare double barreled, BROKE the handle off and then ran backwards, under the butt chain and broke the lead rope she was tied with.

Luckily we were stopped and standing there. She took off to the farmer's horses.

Nice guy had a welder, welded handle back on, removed divider, loaded mare and yearling filly I was hauling for a friend, TURNED them around in the 2 horse w/mangers, TIED the flipping doors shut with about 50 ropes and hauled them home like that.

Needless to say I was more than slightly peeved for several reasons... could not be relieved at this idiot new horse I had bought. Never, ever did it in my slant load. But then, my slant load has the long bar that attaches door to top and bottom.

Anyway, a horse can go under a butt chain pretty darn easily. The mare was 15.2hh and easily 1200 lbs fat.