Horse Scrambling in Trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-19-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Horse Scrambling in Trailer

Hi! My horse has never been the easiest in the trailer, but we recently had an accident that has made me decide to ask for opinions. We were coming back from a show and pulled up to a stoplight with our horse in our two horse straightload trailer. Suddenly, there was thrashing. We ran out of the car to see that he had flipped himself over, he was on his side with his back under the divider. Luckily plenty of people stopped to help, and he was able to stand back up by himself. After we unloaded him he was fine, just some scrapes, and he banged his hip. After two weeks he was back to himself, and about a month later we are doing fine riding regularly again.

He has never seemed to be able to lean into the turns as much as other horses. Most horses you can't "feel" at all in the trailer because they are quiet. Whenever we turn, if feels like he is constantly moving forward and back, trying to balance himself. You can feel him bumping the manger then bumping the ramp that closes the trailer in. Is there anything I can do to help him ride easier in the trailer?

We don't use leg wraps anymore because they would constantly slide down just enough for him to step on them and get a tad bit caught, and he trailers fine without them.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-19-2011, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Have you tried a slant load? Some horses travel better on the slant. Or, take out the middle divider in your straight load, and let your guy figure out what angle to stand so that he can spread his legs out. On the slant, they can kind of brace themselves in a different way than straight load, especially on corners and curves.

Good luck - that's a tough one!
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-19-2011, 10:57 PM
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Horses can still get stuck in a slant load, when he was travelling was hes alone?
I have a straight haul and prefer it to slant. It has alot of padding in it so its safer too
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 11:20 AM
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My saddlebred actually also has trailer balance issues. She is fine in the arena, and has gorgeous form and balance, but she always gets caught up in the trailer. My first step was to make sure that her trailer had a nice, new rubber-like floor to help her grip a little more. Not sticky, but good enough that slipping is no longer an issue. Do you tie your guy when you trailer him? My horse we used to tie, for safety, but we found recently that if she is in the smaller half of the trailer and NOT tied, she can figure out what position to be in. It must be the smaller half though, you dont want your horse to turn around or face with their butt to the divider. This just makes it easier for them to find their footing. If you dont tie him, try it. I would also do this in the smaller half of the trailer. Whenever possible, I use the smaller half so that I can focus a little more on driving and less on if my horse is wandering around the trailer. I hope that helped, a little. Always go for a test drive first. When you do something new, gently go up and down the street and work on turns to make sure nothing goes wrong.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! We have checked our trailer over 1,000 times after the accident! We wanted to make sure it wasn't the trailer that caused the issue. Before we even started trailering him, we had our trailer serviced and got new tires (the tires were pretty old) to make sure everything was safe. He fell when he was by himself, and he tends to do better when he's with another horse.

He gets tied in the trailer, and we have a trailer tie with a quick release in case anything goes wrong. Since it is a two horse, I don't think he'd be able to turn around...

He seems to be able to more easily find his balance after the turns when we speed up. Does anybody know why that is?
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 07:51 PM
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Without knowing your trailer, horse or driving habits I'll just throw a few out things out there that could cause the problems you're having. I'm not saying any of these apply to your situation.

Trailer too small for horse-claustrophobic, unable to spread legs for balance. may back into butt bar & panic
Horse tied too short-hits end of rope & panics
Slippery flooring
Front manger- can limit the horse being able to use his neck for balance
No window-some horse need to be able to see outside for equilibrium, think sea sickness
Driver- stopping or starting too fast. Accelerating around corners before the trailer has completed the turn & is tracking true behind the tow vehicle

I hope this helps. Trailering can be nerve wracking.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks natisha. I think that he's claustrophobic. He has plenty of space in our trailer though, we double checked it before we got it, and it's extra tall considering he's 17.2hh, so it's over 7ft tall. He has a window on the side, but not in front of him. He really likes to look out the window, when we open his face door he keeps pushing the door open because he loves to take in the view.

Nothing really seems applicable to us besides the window issue. Is there anything we can do to make it easier on him without a window directly in front of him? He has one on the side that he can still see out of, and we open it too so he can get fresh air.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:47 PM
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My girl likes it when she has the two-horse all to herself -- if room is available she will turn herself right around and face backwards.

Maybe give him more room by taking out the divider when travelling alone and don't tie him. I don't tie my horses in a trailer at all, but I would emphatically not tie a horse that has balance issues. How in heck did he manage to end up on his back without a broken neck if he was tied? Luck was with you guys.

If you have a camera available, why not take out the divider, don't tie him and record what he does while driving. That will give you some kind of insight I'm sure. Then maybe try it tied and with the divider (though again, I really advise against tying this horse).
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 10:48 PM
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^^ Agree, take out the divider. If he's too big to easily turn around then tying will have to be done so he doesn't get stuck & really panic. Tie long enough so he can somewhat move into a position of comfort but not long enough to get a leg over the rope.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 11:22 PM
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My friend says her horses much prefer to ride backward as it allows them to use their stronger hind end to absorb the start/stop momentum.
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