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Horse got under trailer divider TWICE!

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  • Horse got under trailer divider TWICE!

    I've owned my Hawk 2-horse straight load trailer for 7.5 years. I trailer my 15.1-ish mare several times a month - almost always by herself. I tend to drive like an old lady when trailering too - at or below the speed limit, plan for stops, etc.

    About six months after I purchased my trailer in 2005, I was trailering my horse about 20 minutes between barns to a lesson. Loaded my mare as usual on the drivers side and headed out. There was nothing unusual about the ride back. My window was open and the radio was turned off. When I got back to my barn, I found my horse standing up on the passengers side of the trailer. I felt NOTHING. The trailer tie was broken and my mare had a couple of superficial scrapes, but otherwise was calm and moving soundly. The next day, I wanted to see how she'd load and she walked into the trailer like a pro - not the least bit nervous.

    We haven't had any usual trailering incidents since then. My mare and I are now trailering veterans. Well, that is until we fast forward to this past weekend...

    We were returning from a lesson about an hour away. The trip includes about 10 miles of country roads followed by highway driving. I got back to the barn and there was my mare standing in the passengers side of the trailer. The only thing I could find was one superficial scratch above her left eye. She unloaded calmly and appears to be sound. I had some Bute handy, so decided to give her a few days off with Bute just in case. She is now 15 years-old and less limber than she was when this happened as a 7 y/o.

    So... am I only freak with a contortionist horse? My Hawk trailer is extra wide at 80" which could be part of the problem or a benefit. Still, I'm completely baffled as to how she manages to get down and up the other side of the divider. I'm not even sure if she fell or if she deliberately is trying to lay down. Any suggestions on what I can possibly do to prevent this. I'm a very cautious driver already.

  • #2
    We had one do this once.

    Does your mare have straight tie issues? I think I'd try tieing her differently, like snapping it to the ring by her eye or something. My guess is something is making her feel claustrophobic about tieing, and she's sitting back. Which causes the tie to break and her to go arse over teacup and stand up on the wrong side.


    • Original Poster

      I don't think she has tie issues. She stands quietly when in cross tied or tied straight. I've never once had her pull or attempt to break a tie. She is very relaxed inside the trailer - doesn't seem to get nervous at all - and doesn't rush out. In fact, I have to tug on her tail since she'd rather hang out inside and munch on hay.

      When the incident happened in 2005, I was using the "Tie-Safe" trailer ties:

      I switched because I was concerned that she might be testing the ties.

      I'm currently using the Blocker Tie Ring:

      Thankfully both products worked as they should because my mare did make it up safely.


      • #4
        I assume it is a straight load? I used to have a horse that could not haul straight, he insisted on standing diagonally, so we had to move the divider over in our straight load trailer and then he was fine (still tied, he just wanted to have the extra room). It meant we could only haul just him in a two horse, but it was also a built in excuse not to haul anyone else if asked!

        Or you could try putting her in the other slot to begin with. Maybe she likes that side better? I've also had a horse that didn't like hauling with the solid wall on his one side...had a distinct preference that we figured out thru trial and error.
        Last edited by horsepoor; Sep. 26, 2012, 01:17 PM. Reason: Autocorrect...


        • #5
          Does she have any arthritis issues? My old guy (BuddyRoo) started falling down in the trailer if tied front loading and would end up on the other side.

          What worked for us was to let him haul untied so he could face backwards.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • Original Poster

            Yes, straight load 2 horse Hawk trailer, 80" wide with a divider.

            My mare has arthritis issues now as a 15 y/o, but she didn't as a 7 y/o when this happened for the first time.

            This has happened twice in 7.5 years of trailering. We trailer often - usually several times a month. This definitely NOT a common occurence, but I'd still like to avoid it happening again, if possible.


            • #7
              At some point a camera system will become worth it


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Chall View Post
                At some point a camera system will become worth it
                My husband bought me this one last year, but I have yet to actually get it to work. Apparently, wireless and aluminum trailers don't work well together.


                If you have suggestions for ones that work, I'm open to ideas.


                • #9
                  She's practicing to go on utube as Harriette Houdini the wonder horse?


                  • #10
                    You stated that you usually haul only the one horse.

                    What does usually mean?

                    If it means almost always one horse, take the divider out and haul her loose.

                    I am not familiar with all Hawk models and am assuming that the back is fully enclosed.

                    If the trailer is one of those that is open above the tailgate, then tie her.

                    If she is riding in a box stall, she will be much more comfortable, especially considering the arthritis. because she can ride conventional, facing the rear or at an angle....whatever is most comfortable.

                    And it is something you can do immediately, easily and for FREE.


                    • #11
                      My arabian pony 14.1hh has discovered how to dismantle the divider in her 2 horse straight load. She has been travelling in it without incident for 7 years but on the last 3 trips has managed to lift the divider out of it's slots so that when I open the door I find her standing in/over/on it. She has never been hurt.

                      The divider is heavy & requires 2 people to lift and put it back in place and how she manages to get it dislodged beats me. I am going to remove it for our next endurance tour away.

                      The thing is, I never hear a thing. No rattles, no bumps. She is a light horse, and stands very still in the box. I drive consistently, with no sudden braking. When I told a friend, she laughed and said she used to have a horse that did the same, she reckoned he got bored with all the travel!


                      • #12
                        Find your manual and try switching to another frequency, or call the manufacturer for assistance.
                        Look for the original manufacturers stamp on the camera, and then you can google and post on forums for assistance or sell it on eBay or take it to radioshack and ask for help.
                        TrailerEyes has instructions here
                        Which include moving the booster antena to the back and side of your vehicle.
                        Also includes instructions on changing the channel.


                        • #13
                          Try a full stud divider or remove the divider and let her be in the trailer as a box stall. A trailer dealer can easily swap out what you have for a stud divider.


                          • #14
                            Clearly she wants to ride shotgun!
                            I don't use dividers unless I'm hauling more than 1
                            chaque pas est fait ensemble


                            • #15
                              Before turning her loose in a straight load or even pulling everything out and hauling her angle style tied, what type of latches are on the side escape doors? And are there safety bars on those doors?

                              I have a friend who has a straight load Hawk and I wouldn't haul either loose or at an angle with those butterfly latches on the side escape doors. I personally hate those in the horse compartment of any horse trailer and especially wouldn't load a horse where they could push against them. Also before hauling loose, what is the back door set up? I would want a ramp over full doors.

                              I did have some minor scrambling issues with a mare in a straight load some 25 years back and have had slant loads since. Unless you have a huge horse the slants seem to work better in my opinion. I would just caution you in changing the configuration on a trailer and make certain it will be safe as to no doors popping open. Those doors need to be designed for a horse pushing into them!


                              • Original Poster

                                robinb - The side escape doors are located in front of the chest bars. I can take out the stall divider and still leave up the chest bars. Yes, they do have the butterfly type latches. The trailer is fully enclosed, but has a ramp with curtain doors above it. It looks like this -


                                I have since trailered my mare 4x since the most recent incident. I just did our normal routine - drivers side with lead attached to the Blocker Tie Ring. The good news is that there haven't been any further incidents.

                                One of those visits was to my vet. I wanted him to look her over to make sure she was OK. We jogged her up/down the jog strip and he did a chiro adjustment. My vet said she looked great - no worse for the wear from her escapde.


                                • #17
                                  Just haul her on the right side or move the divider over at the back and secure it making a bigger stall or take the divider out completely when you haul. I would tie her. Could be it is more comfortable for her to haul on that side depending on what type of road you are driving.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by paintlady View Post
                                    robinb - The side escape doors are located in front of the chest bars. I can take out the stall divider and still leave up the chest bars. Yes, they do have the butterfly type latches. The trailer is fully enclosed, but has a ramp with curtain doors above it. It looks like this -


                                    I have since trailered my mare 4x since the most recent incident. I just did our normal routine - drivers side with lead attached to the Blocker Tie Ring. The good news is that there haven't been any further incidents.

                                    One of those visits was to my vet. I wanted him to look her over to make sure she was OK. We jogged her up/down the jog strip and he did a chiro adjustment. My vet said she looked great - no worse for the wear from her escapde.

                                    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and take a look at the cam latches with the bar handle, if you could get those on the escape doors then you could take everything out.

                                    I use the Blocker Tie rings too and love them.


                                    • #19
                                      Easy...Just Ship her on the right side and see what happens....


                                      • #20
                                        I have the same trailer and the same thing happened to me once.

                                        I loaded my large (1400 lb) Trakehner gelding up on the driver's side of the trailer. I drove 15 minutes home on small roads (no faster than 30 mph). No sharp turns or stops.

                                        About half way there, I heard some kicking but it stopped very soon. When I got to my barn, my horse was standing on the passenger side with no halter on. He'd also taken out the front chest bar (he must have come up under it and the pin came out).

                                        He was shaken up (as was I) but showed no ill effects. This was a big horse. Can't imagine how he got under the divider.

                                        My thought at the time was since it was quite cold that day, he'd peed in the trailer and there might have been a spot that was slightly frozen and therefore more slippery (there were shavings down).

                                        Scared the bejesus out of me.

                                        He never did it again and I hope you never have to experience it again either. I was shocked when he walked back on the trailer the next time we shipped out. He didn't seem to remember the experience.

                                        FYI - my horse did NOT like to ride on the right, so switching sides would not have been an option for him. Most of the time we haul with a friend. I'm not sure if it was better that he was alone that day? Or whether having another horse there would have helped him stay upright.
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