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To tie or not to tie in the stock trailer

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  • To tie or not to tie in the stock trailer

    A friend of mine is hauling my horse for me to the vet clinic soon and she has a stock trailer. It doesn’t have a partition or gate, etc. I have only experienced slant load and straight load trailers so I wasn’t sure where/how to tie her.
    I ended up tying up at the corner, left side. My mare untied herself along the way somehow. At first she did circles around the stall area and seemed to be really nervous but settled quickly facing backwards and since she seemed ok, I didn’t ask her to pull over. She seemed fine when we arrived.

    So, Im catching a ride again soon and am wondering what to do this time. My friend says she should be tied again and hasn’t ever hauled loose because of risks. I’m thinking if she is tied, she may try to turn around since there isn’t a partition so I would want to tie her short so that she can’t get the lead over her neck when she tries to turn but in the event of an accident, a short tie might hurt more than help. If I tie her looser, then that creates other problems like getting the lead up over her neck. So, now I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking loose might be better but not sure my friend is comfortable with this.

    What do you guys think? Id like to tie her safely since thats what my friend wants but how short or long? She will be riding 20 minutes on highway and a bit of interstate. No many curves.

  • #2
    Why would you want her to travel facing forward ?
    What are the risks of hauling loose ?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      eehhh...i dunno...Maybe to prevent her from moving around?I didnt really ask. I guess I could just tie her in the back of the trailer so she could be tied and facing backwards. Win?

      Comment


      • #4
        With horses that travel well and are well socialized hauling loose is not really an issue in a smaller area. When we had a stock trailer we loaded, tied, and then when all were aboard we unclipped the lead ropes.

        The trailer was an 18 foot with a single cut-gate. I later had a six horse with two cut gates.

        I would not haul loose in a large trailer as I don't want my load moving around that much. The risk of instability it too high, IMO. As long as you're in a trailer where you can't have more than two (three at the most) loose I don't see a problem.

        We did note that, left to their own devices, most (but not all) horses will travel facing backwards.

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

        Comment


        • #5
          I just travel them loose. They choose to face backwards. If you think about an accident, it's usually a fast deceleration, so the horse is effectively thrown forwards relative to the trailer. So the last thing you want is them facing forwards - you'd like their butt to be slammed forward if anything, not the head. Also when the trailer is in motion, the horse will be slung around a little. Hopefully he's going to balance by weight shifting, but if there's too much motion for him to cope, he'll be balanced against the trailer walls at some point. Hopefully, he will use his butt, his flanks, his shoulder ... the one part of him you don't want to be jerked abruptly is his head and neck. If he's tied by the head, the only thing this can do while in motion is to transfer movement to his head. I travel two at a time loose in the stock trailer and they walk around back there, and I don't feel it from the truck.

          Comment


          • #6
            If she moves to the back of the trailer, and you have to suddenly apply the brakes, you're going to have 1000 lbs of a projectile horse flying from the back of the trailer to the front.

            Tie her like you did, and use a better tie so she can't get loose.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

            Comment


            • #7
              Tie length - the same you would tie for her standing around. I have my leadrope so my gelding can lower his head to just below chest height for balancing, coughing, whatever. But its not long enough for him to get a foot caught if he paws.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

              Comment


              • #8
                I never tie my horses when I trailer them. I think your decision to tie or not tie should factor in how well your horse responds to being restrained.
                I have had more than one horse go from upset to relaxed in the trailer merely by un-tying them. I also think in terms of an accident, ( never had one yet- knock on wood) if the trailer goes over would there be a chance at breaking their necks if tied.
                I don't tie, but my horses are not your horses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  if its a bumper pull stock trailer and the horse stands at the end it takes the weight off the hitch and compromises steering and braking- you want the heaviest object at the front (hence bigger the stock the more likely its a gooseneck).
                  My guys ship in boxes in a 16' stock and pretty much all choose to travel facing backwards on a slight angle. Load her, turn her around and tie her facing backwards in the front end of the trailer. She'll park her butt against the front wall and be happy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Horses have a higher center of gravity and can create more hazards moving around in a trailer than the smaller, stouter cattle. While a lead rope won't keep them in place if all hell breaks loose, at least at the start they aren't wandering around in a small place. Hauling horses loose isn't a big deal if the horse finds it's spot and stands still. The walking around is what causes the problem of trailer control for the driver.

                    FYI, do something very different when tying in that stock trailer to make the extra rope length safe. Years ago back in Virginia a very experienced horse friend was hauling to a show with 4 horses in their stock trailer. The trailer did have partitions and the horses were facing forward. One of the lead ropes came untied, draped out of the trailer and got caught on the trailer tire and eventually the axle. The skin on the horses face was shredded off from the accidental, horrible rope burn the nylon halter caused as the rope wrapped around the axle. It took 9 months for the skin to repair on the horses face. It was the most horrific injury I had every seen at that time. If using a trailer with stock sides I would use one of those break-away ties Clinton Anderson promotes with a short lead rope dedicated to just being used on that trailer tie.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mine prefers travelling loose and facing backwards, but I only have a 2 horse slant with the open sides. I tie the divider open (to the side of the trailer). She moves around a bit, but nothing like what one could do it that. Is there any way you could make a partition of sorts? Maybe plywood? Might be worth it if you were going to be in that trailer several times. Then you could have your horse untied but contained to the front.
                      Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                      Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is it a 2horse stock or a 4? I routinely hauled horses in my 4horse stock. If only 1, he'd go in the front compartment loose. If 2, one in each compartment loose. The front horse always chose to stand backward, the back horse always faced forward. They were happier loose. If I hauled more than one in a compartment, I would tie.
                        "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Its a two horse stock. Its small. The front part of the trailer has living quarters. Thanks everyone so far. I have enjoyed reading all responses!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Always tie when hauling in a stock trailer. If someone pulls out and you need to stop suddenly there is a good chance the horse will go down if they are in the rear of the trailer. Tie from front to back so they can brace themselves against something if a sudden stop is needed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SLW View Post
                              FYI, do something very different when tying in that stock trailer to make the extra rope length safe. Years ago back in Virginia a very experienced horse friend was hauling to a show with 4 horses in their stock trailer. The trailer did have partitions and the horses were facing forward. One of the lead ropes came untied, draped out of the trailer and got caught on the trailer tire and eventually the axle. The skin on the horses face was shredded off from the accidental, horrible rope burn the nylon halter caused as the rope wrapped around the axle. It took 9 months for the skin to repair on the horses face. It was the most horrific injury I had every seen at that time. If using a trailer with stock sides I would use one of those break-away ties Clinton Anderson promotes with a short lead rope dedicated to just being used on that trailer tie.
                              THis is one of those things that you NEVER think of until it happens to you...thank you for posting this because I usually tie with a leadrope in my stock with the stock-type sides. Because of your post, I will now use trailer ties with the snaps so no extra rope can hang out the sides...
                              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I tie if my mare is trailering with another horse because she can be snarky but I prefer to leave her untied if she is alone.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It depends. I always haul my mare untied in a straight or slant load trailer. There's nowhere for her to go, but I feel like it allows her to find the most comfortable position for her head if she's not tied off short. In an open stock trailer by herself I will tie her with a trailer tie (she can and will untie a lead rope) because she moves around too much and I would prefer her to be slightly uncomfortable than to destabilize the trailer and risk a wreck by moving around. If the trailer is full I don't tie if all of the horses get along, but if there is a troublemaker I will tie everyone.
                                  It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                                  Theodore Roosevelt

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A note on forward/backward facing: Most horses prefer to travel butt-first. I know a man that hauls his draft horses daily for work, and he uses a giant stock trailer and leads them in and turns them around so they're facing the driver's side like a normal slant trailer, but their butts are farther forward than their heads. He said they travel much quieter that way, plus they are easier to unload!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have an open stock and prefer to haul my gelding loose. He did circles a couple times but settled down, and is actually calmer (as in, DOES NOT PAW) when loose.

                                      However, it can be nerve-wracking as a driver if you've never hauled a loose horse before. So if your friend wants her tied, just tie her up. When I do tie my horse in my trailer it's because I have another horse, but I just close the gate and tie him halfway between the front of the trailer and the middle gate so he can travel how he likes. I use a breakaway trailer tie and a piece of 550 cord tied to the tie ring. NEVER EVER EVER hang a lead rope outside of the trailer. A friend of mine recently rolled into my trainer's barn with her mare in tow, and to our absolute horror she had run the lead through the window and tied her to an outside tie ring. My trainer and I had to take several deep breaths before calmly pointing out the danger in that.
                                      runnjump86 Instagram

                                      Horse Junkies United guest blogger

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        i prefer my horse haul loose in a stock trailer. they can balance themselves better.

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