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step up trailers

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  • step up trailers

    we bought a used 2 horse bumper pull step up recently. We've been hauling the boy in it all summer and have done well. We took out the dividers and use it as a stock type where we can turn him around in it and have him walk out, which he does just fine and all would be well if he weren't teh nosey, ADHD boy that he is. He's getting to the point where he won't stand still in there (he's hooked up like he's on cross ties, but he bonks he nose on the front window or he tries to look around etc....we put the chest bars back in today and having them in won't allow him to turn around and walk out like he has been doing. I admit it, i'm afraid to back him out because of the step down. it's not that far from the ground but i'm afraid he's going to hurt himself. he's a big goof and gets a little nervous (maybe more than a little) and i'm afraid he's going to bonk his head or something. any suggestions? thanks so much!

  • #2
    Do you have some place to teach him to back slowly and say "step" when he is on the edge, like a wooden bridge for trail classes, or a concrete slab with a few inches of a drop off?

    Teach him maybe to go backwards over poles on the ground and pick his feet?
    Sidepass across a pole?

    He seems to need to learn that he has feet and that he can think and move each one carefully and with intent.

    That all should help when backing out of a trailer.

    All our horses back, we don't let them turn around in a trailer, even when in slant trailers.


    • #3
      I don't back horses out of step ups. I've seen too many step down and under the trailer- clunking the front of their cannon on the step (which is sometimes followed by the head flinging up into the roof).


      • #4
        In a good 40 years span, I have seen one very wiggly silly colt step and bump his front back leg and have heard of one horse, that was unloaded on asphalt, slip and get his leg caught a bit under the trailer and scramble and scrape it.

        I have seen many horses slip on ramps and one killed a groom when he slipped off the side loading and caught him on the belly with his hock as he fell.

        For me, personally, ramps have had more problems than step ups, any day, but will use whatever we have to use, most of the time any one method is fine.

        With horses that don't know how to load, we prefer to start them in the stock trailer, that they seem to just jump in without problems.
        There are many ranch horses that would not know what a two horse trailer is and would have trouble loading, thinking "that is awfully small in there, are you sure I fit?".


        • #5
          Agree with what Bluey said. Step ups seem to be far less trouble than ramps.

          I don't have the 40 year of experience, but in nearly 20 I have had no horses that can't learn to back up out of a step up with no hassle. It's "BACK BACK BACK" until they get to the edge, then "STEP STEP STEP" as they step down. No issues, ever. Just taught a two year old to self load and back off of my 2 horse straight load in the spring.


          • #6
            When we moved from Kentucky to Texas one of more note able differences was the types of trailers used.

            East was ramp loads, west was step ups.... my only conclusion is eastern horses do not know how to get into a trailer...but really believe the ramp load is just a carry over from the days when horses were shipped in vans which required ramps to get the things in. Vans were extensively used back east until the 1970s.


            • #7
              I've got both types of trailers...24' Eby stock is a step-up, 2 horse bumper pull Shoop is a ramp. I liket he step and haven't found the horses to have a problem with it. It's got a big rubber bumper on the back, so they can't scrape up their shins. When you pick up wild mustangs or PMU babies, they require step-up trailers.

              Horses learn, it's a regionalism as clanter said.
              "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


              • #8
                If you're worried about a head injury, get a head bumper, then proceed. I think most horses will do fine with whatever set-up, after a little practice.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                  I've got both types of trailers...24' Eby stock is a step-up, 2 horse bumper pull Shoop is a ramp. I liket he step and haven't found the horses to have a problem with it. It's got a big rubber bumper on the back, so they can't scrape up their shins. When you pick up wild mustangs or PMU babies, they require step-up trailers.

                  Horses learn, it's a regionalism as clanter said.
                  Yes, our step up stock trailers have either a rubber bumper or a larger pipe on the back, so there is not an edge there for a horse to scrape it's leg if it slips a bit under.

                  I think that those kinds of possible accidents on either kind are not very common.
                  Most horses never have a problem with either kind.

                  With a ramp you have to be sure it is level, or if it teeters and bounces around when a horse is learning to load, some get scared and it takes a bit longer to gain their confidence on the wiggly ramp.
                  I have seen experienced horses get scared from that.

                  I guess we can't make anything we do perfect, but we can sure use whatever we feel is best, in our eyes.
                  That is why we have choices.


                  • #10
                    If you are that afraid of the trailer you bought I gotta ask why'd you buy it?

                    So long as you unload on level ground, or better yet manage to park the tires in a dip so the step down is minimized, and you are unloading on decent (meaning not asphalt nor ice) just back the horse off and done.

                    I use the STEP STEP STEP verbal cue for you're at the edge, think.


                    • #11
                      Just teach him to back off. I usually use, "Back, back, BIG STEP" and they figure it out.
                      It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


                      • #12
                        I had my trailer custom made for my big idiot warmblood because he won't go up a ramp. It's a two horse step-up but really tall (7'6) to avoid the head banging. This trailer usually comes with a ramp but it is super low to the ground.

                        I swing the divider over when I go to get him out, let him turn his head and take a good look, then ask him to step out. Have used it several times a week for a couple of years now with no issues.

                        If my big dummie can do it, any horse can.
                        \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks guys, your responses have been encouraging. to whoever asked why we bought the trailer....it was a great deal and we had the money. we've been looking for one for a long time and when we get ready to sell it, i can get what i paid for it or more. that's why we bought it.


                          • #14
                            That's the kind we have. We don't do alot of trailering, so every time is interesting but not necessarily difficult. We've trailer cross country moves. Unloading is usually easier than loading. Sometimes it is sloppy with the step down, but we've never had an injury. It has a rubber bumper at the back. Sadie stepped down then stepped back up, so rather than excite her more, I pulled the pin on the divider and my husband pulled it gently out of the trailer, then I turned her around. We don't tie like cross ties. We tie the horse on one side and fairly tight, so they don't move around too much. Long trips we give hay to keep them occupied.


                            • #15
                              I used to think that the ramp was the "fancy improvement". having had access to a step up again-- rethinking that. I loaded my yearling who previously had been in a ramped trailer- and he and I were both so much happier. He learned to step down very nicely. I really hate the heavy ramp too (lifting it) I will look for a step up when I look for another trailer...


                              • #16
                                I have a step. You get used to positioning the horses back feet (I have a slant) at the end of the trailer so that first step down is regular and solid and let the horse do the rest. Don't stress.


                                • #17
                                  I haven't yet had a problem with my step up. Everyone loads on it. I use the commands "back back" and then, as the first foot gets to where it's next step will be to the ground I say loudly "DOWN! DOWN!" to condition them to know when it's time to step all the way, and to help them.

                                  My mare does this weird thing when she steps down; she'll angle her leg more under her body, so more slanted to the ground. Always worries me she'll slip a bit under the trailer. Mine has a big rubber bumper, so no injury there.

                                  And I NEVER unload on a hard surface; concrete or asphalt....

                                  I had one horse who simply was too scared to EVER back out of any trailer. He was 15h, and he HAD to turn around. Really hard to do in my Cotner 2H, and almost impossible in the slant. ugh....
                                  "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James

                                  Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.