Went under the butt bar.....Need Help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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Went under the butt bar.....Need Help

Would like to get thoughts from you guys, a couple days ago Oliver had a pretty scary unloading episode, scraped his hind leg up really good and his back from going UNDER the butt bar....

So when I was given this sweet guy he was delivered to me and came out if the trailer with well....speed?! Was in a straight load and shot out hitting everything on the way out, wasn't hurt but could have been. His old owners didn't say much about it and I knew right away I'd be needing to work on that for safety reasons.

Well it been over a year now, have hauled him in a slant load where he can turn around an take his time to walk and step out, does that very well. But put him in a straight load and she shoots out like a bat outa hell! Iv worked on it a lot and he had been doing great, walking in and coming-out calmly one step at time!

Well two days ago he didn't come out calm at all infect didn't even wait for the butt bar to come down and he was already trying to scramble out backwards a billion miles per hour!

He got stuck under the butt bar (no padding on it)
He didn't scrape up his back but the bar was against his spine the whole time and he really got stuck on his withers...
He scraped his right hind and right front up a bit, almost punctured the hind leg artery on the inside but it's all just a gross abrasion and little cuts by the hoof.
His back, no scrapes or cuts or abrasions but did swell up and is very tender to the touch.

Kept a very close eye on him and his hind leg was just a little puffy at the Pastern no heat, and putting weight on it.
When I had looked out to the pasture in the morning I saw him do a stretch I'd never seen, I'm guessing it's because his back was so stiff and sore, you know how cats stretch their back, front legs all the way out in front and rump in the air.....yup it was cute but I felt bad.

So my question is should I think about shipping boots on his hind legs from now on? Just in case? Would it do any good? this happened so fast neither my trainer or I could do anything but stand and watch and help him up when he got out.

I have great after care going on right now, while I'm not able to be out there but when I get back I'm going to be working on unloading again.
So scary, so frustrating but so thankful it didn't get worse, no broken legs, no vet bill (so far) if he gets worse while im out of the country my trainer has full authority to call and have the vet out and I'll pay when I get back. I know he is in good hands.

Something must have happened before I got him last year in a trailer to have this happen and have it be a habit ....

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post #2 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 11:20 AM
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ouch, poor guy!

Some horses, shipping boots help. Other horses get so much worse. Boots can slip down and depending on the issue can make it a lot worse than it would be without. I don't boot my gelding because he scrambles and that is one issue that booting can make worse.

I do think that boots may have prevented his leg injury but you can't protect every inch of the horse and he would still have the back injury. Sometimes all we can do is train, train, and train some more.

Have you tried making the trailer the safe place where it's a good place to be? My gelding used to be a nightmare to load, and I got around it by feeding him in the trailer (when I had access to one), making it pleasant to be in there, and then if/when he backed out, making him work HARD while he was out of the trailer, then loading him again.

Teaching him to come forward off bum pressure would help - next time, if there is a next time, if he knows to come forward off the pressure he is far less likely to be injured. The injury happened because he panicked when he found that he was restrained, and tried to push through the restraint.

The other thing you could do is modify your trailer to have breeching doors instead of bum bars - they don't go full length to the bottom but the top is where you would expect and they are 2' from top to bottom, so the horse is less likely to be able to go underneath.

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post #4 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 02:09 PM
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I think you'd be wiser to wrap his legs. Try putting his feed on the floor near the front of the trailer. If he wants it he's going to have to go in. Make it his place to eat. This will help him conquer his fears. Just be sure to block the trailer solid and tie the door open and not with a bungee. He sees the small two horse as a trap and a sure bet a predator will come along and eat him.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 02:23 PM
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Is there any way at all to undo the butt bar before opening the door (at least not opening it all the way)? I was always taught to never open the door all the way until the butt bar was undone, to avoid just this situation..
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 02:47 PM
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I had a mare that was like that in a straight load trailer ( actually the3 only way I trailer ) She woukd wait for the tail gate to go down and then flip out. I solve this issue with a person in front with lead rope threw ring that the trailer tie attaches to. another at the back of the trailer that undoes the butt bar before dropping the tail gait. if the horse goes to make a move TAP do not hit their rump and firmly say ahh stand. and a soft word of whoa when they stand still even if its for a second. have the person with the lead be ready for when you bring down the ramp DO NOT DROP THE RAMP Bring it down in a steady quiet manner. all the while talking to them. If the horse goes to yank back have the person hold steady if possible and again tap that butt. and give a firm deep voice of stand. he may still back up so be ready and if he does as he comes out grab that rop and keep him backing up even if he wants to stop They hate that more then a crop on the butt. and repeat the process again. Once you get a good time set on him standing ( long enough threw each step) reward him with soft tone and maybe a treat. It took me a few times to get mine to unload slower and safer.
Chances are your horse may of had a bad accident in a trailer where they do not trust the ramp or the doorway. Try to not let them hit their sides when unloading.
As for leg protection I hate boots I always wrap for shipping and when you have one like you do a good head bumper and warps on the legs is always a good idea.
Oh and I forgot to mention above when the person at the head holds him as much as they can without having the horse freakout the minute he shows any relaxing wether a split second of give ease up on the presure.

I hate trying to gove advice over internet and try to word it the way I see it. Forgive me if this sounds odd lol

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-17-2012, 03:10 PM
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A woman was crushed underneath her drop down ramp last year when her horse did something similar - she had a strap rather than a bar and the horse ran back through it and onto the ramp as was coming down - It was always drummed into me to never stand under a ramp but at the side of it for this reason
Can you look into getting it modified to a gate type fastening behind him?
Look into exchanging the trailer for one with a front unload so no reverse out and the ramp or back doors stay shut
He may just have scared himself so much that he wont do it again
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-18-2012, 09:45 AM
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ouch poor guy !!

i teach all of my horses to stand in the trailer with the butt bar down until i pull their tail. this way they learn they have to be patient in order to get out. i practice a lot when i first introduce them to trailering. i load them up and have a person by their head at first to encourage them to stay put. i go to their butt and tap them forward if they try to get out. my horses all ground tie with the command 'stay there'. if they do get out or back part way out they MUST go back in and stand quietly. with consistancy they learn that they must stay in, regardless of if the butt bar is up or down, until i pull their tail.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-18-2012, 12:51 PM
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I have had a couple mares with this issue... with the first one would come flying out of the trailer like nobodys business (she hauled beautifuly until one day she pulled this antic)- now i admit she got away with it the first couple of times when i was trying to figure out what the issue was (attitude, not fear).... but what i ended up doing with her is I would anticipate this and when she would do it, i would make her BACK BACK BACK with a fury, making her back hard until she didnt want to back anymore, and then i backed her more. lunged a bit and then loaded her up again to do it all over until she felt that backing out like that wasnt gonna get her any kind of a reward. After about a week the lesson sank in.also towards the end i would stop andmake her stand in the trailer, if she would stop i would give her lots of pats and reward her for doing the right thing...Basically i made the wrong thing unappealing and hard, and the right thing easy and comfortable..

My second mare, Pepper started getting pushy about backing out of my straightload after i made it clear that she was capable of backing out of the trailer... she would bump and push on the butt chain and door...she knew better and again this wasnt a fear thing (this horse has been hauled EVERYWHERE)...she was just being a pushy tart- for that I would smack her on the rump with my hand (wich didnt actually work)..i finally had to up the anty to a lung whip (you wanna bump and push..you'll get a smack, you want to stand like a lady and ill pet you and you get out of the trailer faster- your choice) which got the point across pretty darn quickly...

Now if your horse is actualy SCARED of the trailer, what worked for me may not work for you...situations can be soo different. But the best advice I think is to just make the right the easy and the wrong thing hard. and BE CAREFUL!
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-18-2012, 01:10 PM
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Turning around to unload is a privilege left for those seasoned horses who will always listen to you asking to back out. Don't let him do this. He is obviously frightened of the trailer. I would do the Clinton Anderson trailer-loading training, where the horse is lunged past the trailer opening, left, then right, over and over and over again--no full circles--until he gets winded, then you leave the only place for rest to be loading in the trailer. LOTS of praise, stroking when he does this right. Some people secure a bucket with a couple of handfuls of grain as a reward--oats are a very safe grain for such training, if you feed them.
When a horse has been trained to fear for a long time, like your guy, you often have to resort to "breaking" instead of gentling, like you would a foal, weanling, yearling, or 2yo. We broke a 22yo (twenty-two year old) gelding from rushing backwards out of our trailer, by closing the exit door, then, unhooking him. He left a dent in my door, but he stopped rushing out. WE didn't get hurt either, which left me alive to feed him.
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