Unloading From a Slant Load Trailer- Help!
Background about the horse- Sassy is a 15 year old, 16hh Thoroughbred mare. When we first got her she had major trailering problems. Finally worked on that and got over that which was extremely bad. We always haul in a stock trailer and this was her only 4th time being loaded in a slant trailer.
So on Sunday we went to a horse show and we trailered with a friend, load/unloaded fine until we unloaded at home. My yearling filly was out in the pasture getting excited because she saw we were home and was whinnying. We had Sassy in the 2nd to the front slant out of a 4 horse and all the slants were stud dividers. I had tied the rope longer because she hates when it is tied short. I go move the divider and ask my friend to hold the divider against her and stand there so she wouldn't back up. So I'm just undoing the rope which was a slip knot, and she got excited and started backing up and my friend couldn't hold her back and had to let go. Sassy backed to the end of the length of the rope and when she felt the pressure she flipped out, pretty much acting like she had never been tied before. There was matts in there but with the horse poop/pee it was slippery, almost fell. I'm still up by the rope but she had pulled it so tight that I couldn't get it undone so I am holding the rope, and just talking quietly to her "hey, hey, settle down". She finally settles down and I get the rope undone and back her out. Then she acted like nothing happened.
She never does this in the stock trailer, and she can back out of the stock trailer fine. But in this trailer when her back foot went off she threw her head up and hit it. It never happens in the stock trailer which is shorter.
I can't really get someone to bring their slant trailer over to practice with, is there anything I can do and practice with in the stock trailer? We might be hauling up in that trailer again next weekend or the weekend after.
Luckily that night someone was coming out to massage her, and was there about 15 mins after it happened and she wasn't hurt at all.
This is not a horse problem --- It is a people problem. Unless a horse is seasoned and very well trained, the divider should NEVER be undone before the halter is unfastened. A butt bar in a straight load should NEVER be undone first, regardless of the horse. It is also a good idea to have quick-release snaps on trailer ties instead of tying with a lead-rope unless you tie them as I do.
When I am hauling by myself, I obviously cannot be in front of and behind a horse at the same time, so I tie with a lead-rope, one that can always be pulled loose. When I am hauling by myself, I lead a horse in, run their rope through the tie ring, run it over the hinge of the divider that closes behind the horse and then I secure the divider good. Once the horse is secured in front of the divider, I tie the rope in the horse's stall behind that horse. So, each horse is tied to the ring in the stall behind their own stall. When I get to the last horse, I fasten their lead or halter through the drop-down front window.
A friend recently hauled a fairly green show filly that set back when she unfastened the divider. Her feet slipped, she fell over backwards when the snap broke, she rolled up-side-down almost hitting my friend and somehow broke her tail in the process. Her tail now hangs limp to one side and she pees and poops in it. It ruined her as a show horse. More than a few horses have broken hind legs when they set back in two-horse straight loads while they were still tied. Just never, NEVER open a divider or a back door if a horse is still tied solidly.
I have stopped allowing my horse to back out to discourage all this. Our slant is wide enough for them to turn and exit. Same routine every time has them knowing what to expect.I also don't open a door until they are settled and quiet.
I never tied in our straight load.
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Another suggestion. I don't allow my horses to start backing up until I give them the vocal command "Back." This keeps them standing still even when the gate is opened until they are allowed to back out. They know they better not even think about backing until I say so!
I just practice with them on the ground until they learn to back up on the ground with a voice command. Then when in a trailer if they back out with out being told they have to take a step forward back into the trailer. Eventually they learn to stand still until being asked to back up. You can practice this in your stock trailer to the concept is the same.
Sounds like a scary experience I am glad you and your horse are ok!
I would have untied it through the window but the windows were locked and my friend didn't have the key to unlock them. In the stock trailer we turn her around and tie her to the back, as that is how she travels the best. She is 16hh and turned around in a 5' wide stock trailer once, how I have no clue. I was actually thinking of turning her around because that is what she is used to.
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