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Trailer Incident- moving forward

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  • Trailer Incident- moving forward

    I got a new horse about a month and a half ago- I suspect he's been trailered 3-4 times in his 5 years. Trailered home about an hour like a champ in February.

    This weekend, I had him in my very roomy two horse straight load, and he was fine for almost the entire trip. Then in the last 100 yds before the barn driveway, he fell in the trailer, and I suspect it was from "hard-ish" braking. I certainly did not slam on the brakes, but another car pulled in front of me, and it was not exactly a nice easy roll. It was just not an ideal slowdown, but it was by no means dangerous or fast.

    Long story short, horse fell, front legs splayed in front of him, head caught up on top of chest bar, scared the bejesus out of me but he was calm and quiet, although shaky and scared. Took all the chest and butt bars down, partitions out, etc, and he was able to stand and back easily and quietly off the trailer, apparently no harm done. He handled it very well, I was very surprised.

    I have dealt with horses that just don't want to get on the trailer, but I've never dealt with a horse that had a legitimately scary experience, and I'm not sure how to re-introduce him to it. For those of you who've had scary things happen, how did your horses react when you tried to load them again?

    How long should I give him before I try to re-load and take for a short trip? How firm should I be versus sympathetic? Most importantly, I'm concerned about exactly why he fell. I have braked much harder than that with my other horse and friend's horses, and never had an issue. I am NOT hitting the brakes hard, that is not the issue. Is it possible that he just doesn't understand to spread his legs and brace?

    I do have rubber mats, and there was a thick layer of shavings on top. There was no pee spot, and one poop spot. BO and I couldn't figure out exactly how/why he'd fallen.
    The best is yet to come

  • #2
    Put him in tomorrow. Act like it never happened. He'll probably be just fine. I knew a horse that had a huge scar on his shoulder from a trailer accident. He loaded like a champ. Horses are amazingly forgiving.


    • #3
      Possible that he was snoozing/not paying attention.

      A similar thing happened with my horse - had to brake a little going around a corner (car pulled out) and he must have been caught unaware because he started slipping and stepped forward under the divider and stomped on the non-horse-bearing bit at the front of the float. His foot actually went through the ply, and immediately back out as he stepped back/regained his balance. I pulled over, he was shaking but otherwise unhurt (thank goodness!).

      He had been a problem floater when I got him so I was thinking I had wrecked our miles of harmonious floating, but nope. Next trip a couple of weeks later he loaded and travelled like a lamb and has never shown signs of remembering the incident.

      Hopefully it's the same with your guy - a quickly forgotten random one-off.


      • #4
        Dont worry about it, until you have something to worry about. Period.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Neigh-Neigh View Post
          Dont worry about it, until you have something to worry about. Period.

          I drove my poor horse about an hour with the center divider leaning on him (back pin had come out).
          I heard a "bump" when we started out, but no scrambling.
          I was following someone onto a highway so kept going (I know: Shame on me).
          When we stopped for gas I found him & fixed things - without unloading.
          Horse was fine with getting on the trailer when we headed home 2 days later.

          Since that incident I NEVER haul without double/triple checking every connection.
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


          • #6
            I bet he won't think twice about it. He'll load right back up.


            • #7
              As others have said: he will be fine. Now you will need to forget it ever happened so you don't transfer that fear on him the next time you load him:-) I think a lot horses become bad trailerers (is that a word??) due to their owners' anxiety. It is amazing how many stories you hear of horse who are in horrible trailer accidents and then get right back on another trailer...


              • Original Poster

                Phew, this is really good to hear. I just didn't want to get myself into a situation where he was balking and I wasn't sure how to handle it, how hard to push, etc. He is pretty level headed, I think if there were ever a horse that'll walk back up, it ought to be him! Thank you!
                Last edited by simc24; Apr. 2, 2012, 11:00 PM. Reason: clarification
                The best is yet to come


                • #9
                  It really takes almost nothing to knock a horse off it's feet. I have driven behind trailers and watched horses fall down thru the slats of stock trailers or over the ramps. The owners wouldn't even believe me when I told them their horses "sat down or when all the way down. Yes, do use shavings and a little sand or kitty litter under it can't hurt either.

                  I do believe they can go down easier in a straight load because they don't seem to put their legs forward and aft to brace themselves. In a slant load they are angled and have supports on either side plus they can and will often spread their legs out sideways to brace themselves. I've seen three horses fall in stock trailers that were left loose. Their owners will swear that their horses haul best this way. I watched a neighbor's horse (riding in a big slant load loose with a divider removed) go face first into the rear window and gash his face when the driver had to tap his breaks. That was when he saw actual proof of what I kept telling him and put the dividers back in.



                  • #10
                    Reload him and take him on a bunch of short hauls this week. Horses do great with TONS of repitition and positive experiences!
                    "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                    • #11
                      I stopped to help someone once whose horse had gone through the floor of the trailer. Horse reloaded into our trailer without any problem dripping blood all the way. Trip to barn was without problem (quickest way to vet). Brought tears to my eyes to see just how trusting they can be. Especially since the entire incident was human fault by (can I scream this???) hauling a horse with loose boards just laid on the sides of the trailer edges. Yep, you can't cure stupid!
                      No broken bones, scared to death, bleeding but able to reload & go.
                      Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                      • Original Poster

                        Oh dear

                        Originally posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
                        I stopped to help someone once whose horse had gone through the floor of the trailer. Horse reloaded into our trailer without any problem dripping blood all the way. Trip to barn was without problem (quickest way to vet). Brought tears to my eyes to see just how trusting they can be. Especially since the entire incident was human fault by (can I scream this???) hauling a horse with loose boards just laid on the sides of the trailer edges. Yep, you can't cure stupid!
                        No broken bones, scared to death, bleeding but able to reload & go.
                        That put a terrible visual in my head. I can't believe someone could be so stupid. I knew some people who had a floor give out on the highway, you can imagine how well that ended

                        I couldn't believe how trusting my horse was. I swear he just knew that he wasn't going to get out of this himself, and he just laid quietly and waited for help. It made me so sad to see him shaking and shivering, his hooves were literally banging against the floor. He let us work all around him, and then when we'd done the best we could, there was a moment that stopped my heart when I watched him sort of wrap his right front around the front support partition that we couldn't get out. He had it wrapped at a weird angle, went to push himself up, must have felt it was weird, laid back down and pulled his leg to his chest to get it untangled. Then, as soon as he stood, his left front went out the escape door (which was closed almost totally but not actually locked because somebody was holding his lead rope from outside) His foot pressed against the door, it pushed open, his foot went out onto the running board, my stomach is in my throat at this point, and he once again just shifted his weight back and gingerly pulled the foot back inside the trailer. It was amazing to watch.

                        I guess I'll put him back in tomorrow and see what happens. Thanks for all the replies!
                        Last edited by simc24; Apr. 2, 2012, 11:08 PM. Reason: More info
                        The best is yet to come


                        • #13
                          He sounds like he kept his wits about him -- smart horse!

                          I witnessed a mare who'd survived a trailer rollover crash get right on another trailer after she'd recovered enough to go home. She'd been taken to our barn for first aid the evening the accident happened. Cut, scraped, bruised, but still in one piece.

                          Amnesia, perhaps? In any case, most horses get back on trailers as if nothing had happened.

                          I have nightmares, though, about failing trailer floors. I was horrified at one ranch cattle gather years ago when I saw the horses get unloaded from a trailer with about a foot square hole in the boards!!! I'd been cleaning up the breakfast dishes, did not see the trailer before they loaded up. Thank God no horse stepped through that hole on the way to the corrals.

                          I insisted that trailer get parked until the idiot "foreman" saw fit to repair the floor.


                          • #14
                            I agree with the posters that have said most horses will have no issues getting on a trailer after an accident.

                            Unfortunately, I do know of one mare that had a pretty traumatic experience in a trailer and as far as I know, hasn't been the same since (it's been over 5 years). 3H slant load stock type trailer with 3 horses in it, 2 geldings(including my own) and the mare with the mare in the first/front stall. We think a bee/wasp stung her ~5min from our destination, as she started kicking like a maniac. She blistered the exterior paint on a steel wall, she kicked so hard. Our driver, who was very experienced, was getting nervous about possibly jackknifing with her shaking the trailer so much. When we finally did arrive, I took a quick peek through the slats, saw a wrap, quilt, shoe and blood on the floor, but couldn't tell if it was my gelding or the mare. Took the 2 geldings off, who were pretty oblivious considering the racket she had made. The mare was flinging herself so violently in the trailer, she bent the pin and divider holding her in, therefore trapping herself in there. I don't remember how they got her out, she had a pretty good gash on her hock, but she healed that wound in time. But she was always a mess when trailered again... I think she was marginally better if she couldn't see out a window.

                            My horse should be afraid of trailers, he's not. He went through the above trip, being the horse next to the freaking out mare. He also has gone through the tow vehicle's engine catching fire requiring us to unhitch in the road and rehitch to 2 other vehicles with him still loaded. Not to mention the open stock trailer he traveled in with a horse that ended up kicking a 4" hole in the aluminum door... Nope, not an issue with that one and trailers.


                            • #15
                              Horses don't seem to have "memory" the way we'd expect.

                              It's the same reason that you can show them a fence and they see it, jump it fine today and next day balk at it. They don't really seem to REMEMBER that accurately.

                              If you are in a good state of mind and giving positive vibes, I think most horses even after an accident, will load.

                              Crazy? Yep. But they do it.

                              Load 'em up tomorrow. ((hugs))
                              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                              Might be a reason, never an excuse...