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Leaving Top of Back Doors on Trailer Open?

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  • Leaving Top of Back Doors on Trailer Open?

    This is going to be my first summer with my first trailer (OMG I LOVE the freedom!!!!), and I'm wondering about leaving the top of the doors off or tied open when traveling.

    The trailer is a 99 Steel Adams 2H BP. I have a feeling that it will be pretty warm in the NC heat. The previous owners simply left the top of the doors off, but the trailer was under a shelter. The doors are steel and far too heavy for me to lift off myself and I don't keep the trailer under a shelter.

    My options are:

    Keep doors on and closed, hoping that the vents and windows provide enough air flow.

    Keep doors on, but clipped open. The previous owner attached sturdier clips to hold the doors open, but I worry about how much stress it places on the hinges/clips when driving at highway speeds. At least on this trailer (Adams), I'm not sure that they are meant to be left open.

    Take doors off, cover back end of trailer with tarp when not in use. What if it rains when I'm hauling? Will my horse be fearful with the top of the doors open on the highway?

    In some ways I wished I had saved more for an aluminum trailer and then the doors up top wouldn't be so darn heavy! But this trailer was in/under budget, in good shape, with new brakes and tires so I went ahead and bought it.

    What does everyone else do? Does anyone else have a steel Adams Trailer? By the way, the sides are closed, it is not a stock trailer.

  • #2
    Originally posted by MtyMax View Post
    What if it rains when I'm hauling? Will my horse be fearful with the top of the doors open on the highway?
    Unless you're hauling in reverse/by backing up, it shouldn't matter if it rains while you're hauling

    Plenty of trailers do not have top doors in the back above the ramp and horses haul in them just fine. In fact, I've never had a horse be "fearful" hauling down the highway with the back open on the top. THey'll be fine.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


    • #3
      Maybe you could get a little power converter to put in the truck and put a box fan in the front of the trailer and plug it into the truck and get them some air? I have a stock trailer so it's not something I really deal with, but maybe the box fan idea will work for you? or if you know someone electrically handy then can wire the fan into the lights on the trailer, so when you turn the truck lights on the fan will come on?
      Chambermaid to....


      • #4
        I always keep the top doors closed on my trailer - it's a Kingston that I bought new in 2003... The dealership specifically said do NOT drive with the top doors open - they are not structurally sound enough to do that (& working in engineering for years now it totally makes sense). There are others reasons why I would not leave them open... We lost our Shetland pony back in the 70's when she flipped out the back (this was when it was just canvas/nylon on the top) - she broke her neck . If you think it's too hot then just remove the doors. I know people just leave them open all the time without an issue but all I can picture is one breaking off and ending up who knows where .
        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


        • #5
          Had a bad experience years ago when a pick-up truck with a bunch of drunks in the back passed our trailer. They decided to try to pitch all their beer cans into our trailer. Luckily we had dropped the horse off, if he had been in the trailer it would have been a mess. We had screens of expanded metal made to replace curtain doors. Now, nothing blows out of trailer and nothing flies in.


          • #6
            I have to say that when I was following a truck/trailer w/ the tops opened down the interstate the other day, it made me uncomfortable. The horse was antsy - in traffic) and I think it could have flipped itself out.

            I have no idea if the doors were pinned back or off. I was just hoping the horse didn't commit suicide in front of me. I'd say close the doors and figure out the windows/vents.
            "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


            • #7
              A lot of older trailers have really inadequate venting systems, especially for those who trailer in hot and humid climates. I absolutely cannot imagine trailering my horse with the back doors closed and only 4 tiny windows open! She would suffocate and/or pass out from sweating. I keep the top doors open and latched to the side of the trailer so they don't go anywhere and are very secure.


              • #8
                I have a large slant load so no experience with these type doors. However, it seems to me like the horse would absolutely die in the NC summer heat if the doors were closed. That being said, I see people going down the road all the time with the back doors open and have always wondered how they hold up to wind sheer. I would simply take them off for the summer.


                • #9
                  east of the Mississippi leave the doors on, west of the Mississippi horse can be hauled on flatbed trailers without issue


                  • #10
                    Upon the advice of my vet who has driven her endurance horses across the country a number of times, I keep the back doors open. Horses need the airflow!!

                    I have a 4star trailer and the doors and latches are strong enough to do this. I used to have a Sundowner and I had to put new latches on it because they were not strong enough to hold them open.

                    I wonder if trailer manufacturers ever consider things like airflow and the height of the tailgate. I sometimes think the tailgate/ramp could be a bit taller when it is closed for the larger horses. I have driven behind trailers where the horses made me nervous too with the back top doors open.

                    For people who do not trailer very much it really is a good idea to do some practice trailer rides with your horse so they get used to it. In fact I recently did this a couple of time with one of my horses who had not been in a trailer in a couple of years.


                    • Original Poster

                      I may look into having fans installed. I really wander how much worse the ride is with the back doors off. IF I choose to take the doors off, at least I have strong butt bars. My girl is a pretty happy traveler, but I don't want to change that. Some of these stories are a little scary.


                      • #12
                        Many trailers are not designed to keep the top doors open when driving.

                        I too have a 4 star, and they are designed for that. But I still keep them closed, becuase of the concern of stupid or nasty people.

                        I knew of a situation where a man who was hauling 2 of his show horses stopped at convenience store and while he was in, someone threw a firecracker into the back of his trailer. One horse broke its' neck.
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                        • #13
                          I always haul with the top doors closed but the top doors have windows, which are open. If I leave the doors open they block the bus windows on the trailer.

                          My new Eclipse trailer has fans
                          I wasn't always a Smurf
                          Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                          "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                          The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sid View Post
                            Many trailers are not designed to keep the top doors open when driving.

                            I too have a 4 star, and they are designed for that. But I still keep them closed, becuase of the concern of stupid or nasty people.

                            I knew of a situation where a man who was hauling 2 of his show horses stopped at convenience store and while he was in, someone threw a firecracker into the back of his trailer. One horse broke its' neck.
                            Holy $&*%!!!!

                            Did he ever catch the person who did that?!
                            Barn rat for life


                            • #15
                              The doors on my Sundowner are designed so they can be left open. My Sundowner dealer told me to leave them open as needed, and I have not had a problem in the 12 years I have owned the Sundowner. My previous trailer, a Colin Arndt, was not designed to be driven with the doors open. The doors bent when I left them open on a short drive.

                              I did follow a trailer on the interstate with the doors open and a tall horse inside. The back ramp was not very high and I was quite concerned he was going to jump out. I don't know what brand that trailer was, but I would not buy a trailer with a hort ramp if I planned to leave the doors open.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by clanter View Post
                                east of the Mississippi leave the doors on, west of the Mississippi horse can be hauled on flatbed trailers without issue
                                This made me laugh out loud. I am west of the Mississippi so I usually leave the doors off in warm weather but I do have a husband that can put the doors back on for me when the weather turns colder.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                                  Holy $&*%!!!!

                                  Did he ever catch the person who did that?!
                                  I don't believe so. Whoever did it took off quickly. Sickos.
                                  www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                  "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                  Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                                  • #18
                                    If you are going on dusty roads be aware that the turbulence swirls up and over and your horse will end up with an inch of dust on his back and who knows what he would have been breathing. I discovered that years ago when I took the back upper doors off thinking that it would be more comfortable for him in the heat. Now I rely on opening the windows and I don't drive in the extreme heat you all are talking about.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                    • #19
                                      Horses have been known to clamber out of the back of an open horse trailer. You never know when you will be at an intersection and have to pull over so multiple, very loud, fire trucks and emergency vehicles have to come screeching past you. I don't advise anyone to leave an open hole in their trailer big enough for a horse to crawl through.

                                      Or, as others have mentioned, some jackass may throw something in the back of your open trailer, etc.

                                      Vets are not professional horse haulers, so I would not necessarily go with their opinions on these things.

                                      Really, there is a reason that a slatted stock type trailer (even solid on the bottom and slatted top half) is the best thing to haul horses in. Any hole large enough for a horse to get through is a potential major disaster in the making.
                                      "Friend" me !



                                      • #20
                                        I wonder if any of the posters on this thread have ever hauled their horses in stock trailers? Those are much more open then just the back doors and horses manage just fine. My mare took a spin in her first stock trailer a month ago after hauling in an enclosed slant load and she was just fine. I followed behind and she spent the entire ride (including highway miles) looking out the slats. Got right back on too.

                                        There is a no way a horse could get out backward over the rear doors. In a freak occurance he might be able to fall down, roll around under the divider, and come up facing the other way but the chances of that happening (and you not noticing, flipping out, and pulling over) are not very high.

                                        I would not leave the doors open if they are not intended to be left open, but I would find a beefy friend to help you take them off and put them on once a year.