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Loading a Horse in a Slant Load Alone? How?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
    Please be aware that there is a risk when loading in a slant load alone (even with a fabulous self-loader), that the slant will close on the horse while the horse is loading. A friend's horse was literally gutted this way, and had to be euthanized.

    I would never own a slant for this reason, and I absolutely would never self load in one.

    I watched the horse in question self load countless times with no trouble, so this wasn't a case of the horse misbehaving. It was a problem with loading alone in a slant load trailer.
    Had they not secured the partitions in the open position?
    I can not see any other way for this to happen.


    • #22
      I load my horse alone often, too. I have a three horse slant. I close the partition from the front slot and the second. I lead my horse onto the trailer. I take a few steps, then he walks up to where he should be. I do not tie. I just put my hand on his rear so he knows I am there. I tap him with my hand if he needs to take another step. When he's situated, I then close that partition. Then I go outside, and tie him through the window by standing on the fender. Works well for me. I cannot see the partition causing damage since I'm the one next to it until I'm closing it. ?? Not that I doubt an accident can happen, but I can't see it in this situation. When unloading, I go to the window, step onto the fender, tie his lead rope and let it hang out the window. I open the trailer, step up, make sure he's settled. Then I open the partition and let him back up. I grab the lead rope as he's backing off. I step off the trailer with the lead rope after he's backed out. He is pretty well trained, so this works well for us. I can see if a horse is not well trained, you would have to do something else. Or don't load that horse alone.
      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
      ¯ Oscar Wilde


      • #23
        Speaking of random freak accidents...
        I can't remember if I read this hear on COTH or not but I now always use trailer ties to tie in my slant load/ stock trailer because of it.
        Someone said their horse untied their lead and the end of the lead not attached to the horse was then hanging out the stock trailer and got tangled in the wheels/axle. It twisted tight and gave the horse horrible burns on the face.
        Although I guess you would have to have a really long lead to actually have that happen, it left an impression on me.
        "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
        So you might as well have a good time"


        • #24
          Ack! How horrible! I will now be sure to ALWAYS remove the lead line. Which I do 99% of the time anyway but will make it 100% of the time. I had never considered that possibility but I can see how that could happen. Probably lucky that horrible rope burns was the worst of that accident. :-(


          • #25
            Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
            I can see if a horse is not well trained, you would have to do something else. Or don't load that horse alone.
            Yes, I try to have help with the youngsters until they are very comfortable with the routine. It is best to have a helper if you have a very nervous or difficult to haul horse. Ones that are used to loading and going places and are calm about it are no problem to do by yourself once they know the routine.


            • #26
              Mine know to stay put (they're usually busy grabbing at the hay in the hay net anyway). I have trailer ties with panic snaps, but I prefer to leave them untied (I only use the ties when I need to keep a mouthy stallion from causing more chaos than required). The lead ropes come with me rather than being draped (or tied) around the neck.
              Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
              No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.


              • #27
                In a 3 horse the front two stalls you can tie the horse and step back to move the divider over and he can't get his back legs off the trailer. In the third stall I just self load them, close them in, then walk around to the window and tie them up.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by katarine View Post
                  The slants on my Merhow have springs to hold them open, and many other slants have ways to secure them in an open position with other means.

                  I'm sorry to hear your friend's horse was hurt, though.
                  He was actually killed, not hurt. He had to be euthed in the trailer because his injuries were absolutely catastrophic. I'm not entirely sure what led to the slant divider closing on him, and that's not really the kind of thing you ask about right after your friend loses their very young, very nice horse in such a horrific way. But the owner/loader was very experienced, had done this a million times, and the horse was also very experienced. Loaded and hauled a minimum of 1-2 times per week in this very trailer.


                  • #29
                    I have a 2H slant load. I luv it. I load by myself Always..its is very rare I have anyone to help. I am afraid of straight loads due to a incident I had so I feel much safer loading in a Slant.

                    I simply lead my horse in and he has a hay bag....I have the lead rope kinda looped in the tie ring i then step back/out and shut the partion. I find this to be very easy and safer for both of us. I have had many first time loaders/shippers and I am thankful to say I have never had a issue.

                    Like some of the others I cant even imagine how your friends horse was killed by the partition. Mine are held with a spring and even if the spring fail I cant see it slamming on the horse hard enough to killed it assuming the trailer is still and not actually in transit. Then I can see something bad happening in a crash but that would be he same in any type trailer I would think.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                      In a 3 horse the front two stalls you can tie the horse and step back to move the divider over and he can't get his back legs off the trailer. In the third stall I just self load them, close them in, then walk around to the window and tie them up.
                      Ditto. I tie mine in the first two stalls, step back and latch the partition. Only my self-loaders go in the third stall. I am too dang fat to even fit in there with any of my horses.

                      Most of the time I am loading by myself. I just make do and try to be as careful as possible. No matter how careful any of us are, sadly, accidents just happen some times.


                      • #31
                        Well, as with any truth, you can choose to not believe it, but that won't make it less true. The horse wasn't killed because the slant divide hit him super hard. It started to close, it hit him, he panicked, and ended up hung up over/through the divider. If you can't understand how that can happen, you have never seen a horse panic badly in a contained area. I was not present for the accident, but it was described to me by people who were there. The fact of the matter is that my friend went to a show with her horse alive and well, and returned devastated and without her lovely horse. You can choose to believe this can't happen, but I felt it was best to bring it up in case the OP wants to consider it.


                        • Original Poster

                          THanks everyone for the replies. My boy is a very good very calm horse that ground ties and loads and trailers very well so I don't think it will be an issue no matter what I do as long as I take precautions and care.


                          • #33
                            I think if you own the horse and he's quiet as you say, you should have no trouble. Just get him in the habit of stepping forward and not backing up, while you slip back to secure the divider. I don't own a slant, but when I have to use one I toss the rope out the window (or slat, in a stock), and then go outside to their head to tie them.

                            My horror story was many moons ago as a kid, I was tying my mare in the trailer, something happened, she panicked, and she was pulling back with her back feet out of the trailer with her nylon rope across my chest, sawing into my skin with me pinned against the trailer wall unable to move, with her flipping out. Her halter finally broke and she flipped, catching her head on the metal tab on the trailer roof for the vent. That was ugly for both of us.
                            As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


                            • #34
                              I spent the last couple of weeks focusing on trailering.

                              I have a one-horse, straight-load bumper pull; and I load by myself. I was afraid to tie the head before the butt bar was latched, and afraid to latch the butt bar with the head untied!

                              With my particular rig and my particular horse, my fear was him turning around, not running backwards. After dozens of practices, I decided he is not prone to flying backwards. But my one-horse is plenty wide enough to tempt him to turn around (but not quite wide enough for that to be OK).

                              I use The Clip, which will not let him turn around; but has enough give to prevent him from flipping over backwards or breaking his neck were he to fall. Just having this in place has given me a lot of confidence.

                              So I walk in with him and clip him. (Sending him in alone would not prevent him from turning around and getting stuck, so I don't even bother. Every situation is different, of course.) Then I do the butt bar.

                              I put a lot of interesting trailering videos and pictures (interesting to me anyway) on my blog in the last couple of weeks.

                              Cheeky donkey

                              Using a mirror to keep a single horse calm in the trailer.

                              The butt bar issue.

                              More butt bar discussion.

                              More cute pictures.

                              Standing tied to the trailer.

                              Very short rides.

                              Anxiety in the trailer.

                              Riding in the trailer with him.

                              Riding in the trailer by himself.
                              I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                              • #35
                                Is it not possible to teach your horse to move past you into the trailer, you close everything up, sort out the leadrope and drive off? Why do you all need to lead your horse onto the trailer?


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by AlythLong View Post
                                  Is it not possible to teach your horse to move past you into the trailer, you close everything up, sort out the leadrope and drive off? Why do you all need to lead your horse onto the trailer?
                                  For me, it's because he can get in there, attempt to turn around, and get stuck. I need to do the head before the butt bar. Also, my trailer is spacious and my horse isn't scary. It's just easier for me to walk in with him for now. (I know different situations are different.)
                                  I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                                  • #37
                                    So I would attempt to teach my horse to walk past me, and stop and stand still! Without a float first, and then add the float in....It's great that he isn't scared! But it does take time and effort!


                                    • #38
                                      Fine Already, I witnessed a horrendous accident this summer where the horse being loaded in the first stall panicked, got himself over the open partition and slammed the partition shut during his struggles, trapping he and the trainer in the stall with him stuck ON the partition. He was struggling so hard to get himself off he was literally flailing all 4 shod feet in every direction. There was no way we were going to lift this guy off the partition let alone get near him in the first place. The trainer made herself as small as she could in the corner and prayed. I had to reach under the partition and pull her out. It was one of the scariest moments I've ever lived through. He ended up getting his hind leg up on the wheel well and popped himself off the divider, but not without cutting up his hind leg and belly badly. I can see how a horse could eviscerate himself on the rounded edges of the partition.

                                      The trainer is lucky she lived to tell the tale. He was a big 17+ stallion shod on all 4 and literally flailing in that tiny stall. He was so freaked out he started biting the trainer in the shoulder and arm as he struggled, thinking she was the source of his pain. She had no where to go and couldn't crouch down to get herself out. I'm so glad we got her out alive! Eventers are tough cookies, thank goodness!
                                      Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.


                                      • #39
                                        Yes, a panicked horse can do things that we never envision happening. All you can do is train your horse in the best possible way and take all reasonable precautions. However, horses can be unpredictable and freak accidents do happen, no matter how careful we are. It is definitely good to be aware of potential problems but the only true 100% safe thing would be to never trailer your horse. And for most of us, that is not an option.

                                        I am very sorry about your friend's horse, FineAlready. I can't imagine how traumatic that was for her. And allpurpose, what a scary thing for the trainer - indeed lucky she was not seriously injured!


                                        • #40
                                          FineAlready I apologize for not typing euthanized rather than hurt in my post above, it was a simple mistake on my part, no harm meant.

                                          Horses can kill themselves in a rubber room, my old BO had a weanling fall out of a 16' stock trailer when the back door latch failed (old steel trailer, worn out tension-bar that came loose- the kind of latch you press hard and 'hook' behind a keeper). He was tied- but he fell out and was dragged before she saw the door swing into view out of her side mirror. It was a horrible, terrible way to lose a baby horse. This does not mean all such latches, or all steel trailers, or all stock trailers are any more or any less dangerous than any other. Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere.

                                          Thank you for sharing the story, though- it's a good reminder that this is a dangerous hobby.