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Is Head to Head better than SL for long trips?

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  • Is Head to Head better than SL for long trips?

    Looking for info, especially from West Coast Eventers, or others who haul pretty long distances with some regularity. Do you notice a difference with head to head, what do you use? Thanks in advance.

    PKN

  • #2
    IIRC, there have been some studies that say facing backwards is easiest for a horse when traveling and that slant load is ok if they are used to it, but not if they are not
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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    • #3
      Horses prefer to travel backward

      I know when we did our initial research on trailers ages ago we found some good studies about horses preferring to travel backward. At the time Head to Heads weren't around so our first trailer was a reverse slant load. I'd guess that the ones in the front of a Head to Head would be happier but the ones in the back...

      Here is a quote and link to an article I found in a quick search.

      "Research on the effects of transporting horses facing the front or back of the vehicle concluded that heart rates were lower on those animals facing the rear of the truck or trailer. The researchers concluded that horses were less physically stressed travelling backwards, as they tended to rest their rumps, dropping a hip, leaning over the forequarters, lowering the head and relaxing to the point of dozing off. (3) They were also better able to balance and brace themselves during transport and vocalized less than their front-facing travel mates. (4) Several other investigators, including Wentworth Tellington, and David Holmes, confirmed that horses facing backwards and untethered showed less signs of stress. (1)"

      http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...trailering.htm

      I know we found some data from the 60's as well.

      Anecdotally we trailer using box stalls a lot now so I don't have to switch dividers around and a very high percentage of the time the horses are backward when we stop.

      Hope that helps.
      Dale
      www.witsendeventing.com
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      • #4
        Depending on the trailer, I feel the head to head affords the horse more space than the slant load. From recent personal experience, my horse made the 6 hour trip to KY in a head to head and seemed to be much more comfortable than the same trip last year in a slant load. They're also easier to work out of at a horse show.
        1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

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        • #5
          Get the book that Neve Scheve wrote about buying and maintaining horse trailers.

          Hate slants. I feel they mae the horse balance on two legs only, don't afford nearly as much head and neck room and if the horse(s) in the middle are in trouble you can't get to them.

          Head to head any day over a slant.
          www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

          www.pegasusridge.com

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          • #6
            What do folks think of the Balanced Ride trailers?
            SportHorseRiders.com
            Taco Blog
            *T3DE 2010 Pact*

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            • #7
              My horses that scrambled in a head to head, rode much better in a slant, but one that was designed with more room than the standard slant, so they could travel with their necks be in a natural position so could be relaxed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Horses are built to balance back to front, not across the diagonal.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Balanced Ride trailers are an interesting concept, but that sure seems like a lot of empty space to be hauling around, making the trailer that much longer.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CookiePony View Post
                    What do folks think of the Balanced Ride trailers?
                    I think their website is bad.
                    I read this post and wanted to see (with ease) WHY this trailer is a "balanced ride".

                    They don't have any stick pictures of horses loaded in the trailer....
                    http://kaboomeventing.com/
                    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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                    • #11
                      We use slant loads with extra space.

                      A standard slant is quite small. I bought a 4 horse and turned it into basically a two horse with storage. My slant is also fixed so that if I have only one horse I turn it around and allow it to travel backwards.

                      If I were to make my own trailer and could not choose a van, I would make an over sized reverse load slant. They can almost ride straight in a oversized slant.
                      http://kaboomeventing.com/
                      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                        I think their website is bad.
                        I read this post and wanted to see (with ease) WHY this trailer is a "balanced ride".

                        They don't have any stick pictures of horses loaded in the trailer....
                        Risa posts here sometimes so maybe she will answer. But it seems to me that she's designed the trailer to have the horses travel facing backwards. that's the balanced ride. Having bought 2 Hawks from her in the past I'd also say that these trailers are highly customizeable and affordable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          study regarding slant loads and injuries

                          I never have and never will own a slant load.

                          20 years ago I had a horse come out of 2 horse inline straight load trailer going down the interstate 70 mph miraculously with no significant injuries, but it was as a result of him panicking because there was not enough room IN FRONT of the breast bar for his head and neck. The vet involved with treating him gave me a study that showed that height or even the length of the stall for the body were not factors in inducing panic in horses, just the length in front of the chest bar for the head and neck. I guess that's why they can fly them in airplanes with their ears almost touching the ceiling LOL.

                          Slant load trailers were pretty new then, and the study showed that injuries to horses in slant load trailers were more than 75% more likely than in straight loads and that the injuries suffered were 90% more likely to be catastrophic. Fatalities were 80% higher in the slant loads. The significant reason was a lack of breast bars in the trailers. When the brakes would get slammed on, or the trailer got hit, the horses were thrown forward with nothing to stop them and they would break their necks, backs, or suffer severe head trauma. I realize there are slant loads with mangers now to try and help with that issue, but the horses are still not as stable as riding straight.

                          For those of you that will ask, I have tried to find the copy of the study and looked for it on line to no avail, so I don't have a footnote for you, but the study is seared into my brain, along with the accident.

                          By far the safest way for a horse to ride in a trailer is backwards. They can lean back and brace on their hind legs when braking, and the movement forward when accelerating is generally much less than when braking in a sudden stop. Think about it. Is it easier for you to stop yourself by leaning back, or to hold yourself from falling forward?

                          I am a driver, so my dream trailer is a reverse load with the horse riding backwards over the axle. I have a head to head trailer now where he could ride backwards in the front but I absolutely will not haul a horse that is blocked in and that I can't get to or get out easily, another reason not to have a slant. If horse number 3 of 5 panics or gets in trouble, I don't want to have to unload 3 other horses to get to them. And I don't want to have to get my golf cart out of the trailer in order to get my horse out, so he rides in the back in a box stall loose. I realize there are a lot of people that think that is dangerous, but I lived in an area where I only had one show that was less than 4 hours away, the rest were all more than 10, and a horse that had ridden in a box stall for 10-15 hours arrives in better shape than one that has been locked in for that length of time. When I did the really long trips, I pulled with a motor home and it was fabulous. I would just pull in a rest area 12-14 hours in, clean his stall, put in fresh water, feed and hay and go crawl into bed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a trailer phobic horse, or rather a horse that within the space of a year turned in to trailer phobic. Before I realized my horse had an issue I got pressured in to buying a two hrs, straight load with mangers up front. Never, ever, ever again. My trailer phobic horse rode in it one time, and then I was never able to get her back in. I truly believe the trailer was too small, and the lack of head and neck room up front made her not want to get in to any trailer ever again.

                            I have a open stock "training" trailer, as in its okay to load and unload the horses on for training but I would never haul a horse in it. It's parked in the pasture and I've found my mare in there many times of her own free will. I have a broken ankle right now so I'm not showing, so no need to try and load my girl but I am going to be buying a new trailer in the next couple of months so that when I do get to ride, show, trailer again I will not be dealing with the trailer of death.

                            Right now I am looking at a 2+1 trailer. Meaning it has two straight load slots and a box stall in front of the two straights. This trailer can also have the middle divider taken out to make two box stalls. I see this as one of the best options for my space loving mare other than an open stock trailer. My second horse taught himself to trailer load and as long as there is food he'll jump on anything.

                            Anyone have experience with these types of trailer?
                            Eventing at Midnight Blog

                            Rodan and Fields, Ask Me About it
                            A Measure of Grace Blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NRB View Post
                              Risa posts here sometimes so maybe she will answer. But it seems to me that she's designed the trailer to have the horses travel facing backwards. that's the balanced ride. Having bought 2 Hawks from her in the past I'd also say that these trailers are highly customizeable and affordable.
                              I like companies that customize.

                              So it seems as though this company is another that will allow the horse to travel in reverse orientation.
                              http://kaboomeventing.com/
                              http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                              Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Cameraine View Post
                                This trailer can also have the middle divider taken out to make two box stalls. I see this as one of the best options for my space loving mare other than an open stock trailer. My second horse taught himself to trailer load and as long as there is food he'll jump on anything.

                                Anyone have experience with these types of trailer?
                                the 2 + 1 is my favorite type of trailer!

                                I like being about to get the horse out from either direction.

                                I do have issues with it though because there is very little storage and the trailer can get quite big and expensive when detailed with everything I need. booo.
                                http://kaboomeventing.com/
                                http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                                Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  On our second 2+1, both Equispirits who pioneered the design. LOVE them. Period. The design allows to you get to and unload any horse with out touching the other two, and the ability to take out/put in dividers accomodates the polocrosse horses (3), the eventers (2) and the driving pony (1 plus two four wheeled carriages).

                                  I am a big fan. Note: the slant is set at a different angle and Equispirit recommended to us that we not place larger horses in the slant. Forget what the size restriction was, but it is to allow for extra head and neck space. With three equestrian disciplines we are on the road a lot and like how our horses haul.
                                  www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

                                  www.pegasusridge.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The 2 plus one's are my favorite "smaller" trailer and I know someone searching for a used one now. They are not easy to find. If someone knows of one that is reasonable, please PM me.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Slant load space

                                      Reading some of the comments above about the impact of accidents in a slant load got me thinking. I have a 3 horse slant load gooseneck trailer. Because I have never needed to take 3 horses anywhere I have taken out one of the dividers to allow the front stall to be roomier. My horse seems happy enough in it although I have occasionally thought of putting the divider back in to give him something more to lean on. In the case of an accident, I wonder if more space (w/o the divider) is better or worse than less space (w/ the divider). Thoughts?

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        thank you and follow up question

                                        The knowledge on this board never ceases to amaze me. Thank you very much for the information, especially on collisions.

                                        My follow up question is : Why does everyone use slants then, and why not use stock trailers?

                                        PKN

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