Trailer safety tips? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Something else to keep in mind. Get a set of pruning blades, the small ones with a blade guard and secure them to the trailer. A gal had tied her horse into a two horse before doing up the butt chain. He tried to step out and panicked when he realized he was tied. Then she panicked. My shears were handy and proved to be the slickest weapon for cutting the tie rope, safer than a knife.
Thanks - great tip! The lead we were using when Harley tried to back out was tied to the ceiling. Is this always the case? Because you have to give a shorter horse like Harley lots of room to eat hay and such, the lead was fairly loose which allowed him to get pretty far back in the trailer. Would a shorter lead tied to the front be safer? Something that would allow him to move his head comfortably, but not allow him to start backing out?
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post #12 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Thanks all! We are looking for slightly used, not new, but in Canada, all trailers (and motor vehicles of any sort) have to be inspected once a year. If the one we buy has not been recently inspected, we will have it done. It's not expensive, and totally worth avoiding the headaches of a trailer that falls apart! DH also has experience with trailers of various sorts and knows what to look for as far as rust (esp. on the frame) and floors.

What about safety tips on loading and unloading? I go in before the horse, lead him in, tie him, exit through the side door, then close the bumper and doors/ramp. Is there anything more to it? Just asking so I don't make a stupid mistake!
Don't tie your horse until you have closed the back door/ ramp. This prevents a problem with the horse trying to back out while tied and panicking. Also, always untie the horse before opening the back door. Same reason.

I once had to haul Hombre to a vet for a serious colic, he was always a great horse to haul. I was pretty distracted because of his condition and neglected to untie his head before opening the back door. He tried to step down but the tie down held him half in, half out. Can't tell you how hard it was to push him back in, and I'm sure he ended up with a sore neck!
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post #13 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HombresArablegacy View Post
Don't tie your horse until you have closed the back door/ ramp. This prevents a problem with the horse trying to back out while tied and panicking. Also, always untie the horse before opening the back door. Same reason.

I once had to haul Hombre to a vet for a serious colic, he was always a great horse to haul. I was pretty distracted because of his condition and neglected to untie his head before opening the back door. He tried to step down but the tie down held him half in, half out. Can't tell you how hard it was to push him back in, and I'm sure he ended up with a sore neck!
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Ok, so how do I keep the horse from backing out while I shut the back door? I assume I'd have to have someone hold him. So it is necessarily a two-person job?
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post #14 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 03:54 PM
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I prefer a step up trailer myself
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post #15 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 04:03 PM
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The best thing is to work on training him to go in, stand, then back out. Work on lengthening the standing. It helps to use a little feed to divert their attention. If you back them out before it becomes their idea, then they learn not to panic in the trailer.

This is one of the pluses of a slant load trailer.....the horse has further to back out, and you have more room to work(tying, putting up feed buckets and hay nets, et.)
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post #16 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Ok, so how do I keep the horse from backing out while I shut the back door? I assume I'd have to have someone hold him. So it is necessarily a two-person job?
Ideally (if you are alone)he walks in by himself with the lead over his back & you partially close the door, then do up the butt bar, close the doors, then use the exit door to tie him.
Or he loads in one stall while you are in the other asking him to load, you hold the end of the lead (or maybe a lunge line) which goes through the divider in some way so that when you walk out the back of the trailer the lead can exert forward pressure if he tries to back off until you get the door shut. Then you go to the front & tie him. If a longer rope was used than what you will be tying him with you remove it & attach the lead rope.
I always tie with a tie ring in case they decide to bolt out.

I found it easier to just get a slant load.
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post #17 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 06:22 PM
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It is nice if you train your horse so you can "send" it into a trailer on those two horse straight loads. Then you can secure the rear door and tie the horse after.

I have come to like my slant load. I haul a variety of horses. Some like to face forward. Others to the rear. If I'm not asked to change their preference (I like them to do either), I don't address it and just adjust to them.

I also love my full tack. I can, and have, slept in it. And I have everything I could possibly need for whatever horse I end up riding with me.
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post #18 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 06:47 PM
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A couple thoughts some have minimally touched on .............
Ramp trailers when the horse steps on it it flex and settle downward.
The horse can feel the flex and settle, also the slight bounce and some really dislike that feeling and will not load on a ramp trailer.
Some horses don't care....
I have a step up semi-stock. Paperwork states holds 4 horses...
That means stock sides, 2 straight dedicated stalls in front, then a slam gate in the middle and a large area that can fit 2 more horses standing "loose" with just their heads tied.
It has one full size door in the front section as a escape, for me & the horses if I had to it is wide enough to exit them off.
My rear door is full width swing open but has a sliding half door so I can get in or out if needed without opening the rear door entirely.
I have a butt chain across my rear door opening so it does keep my guys quietly in for a few seconds longer to unite heads if need be. I rarely haul all my horses at one time so not truly a issue.
My 2 dedicated stalls in the front have butt chains so when you open that slam gate they are still contained till chain released.
My horses are taught to "self-load" with my starting them on then they walk past me so I can secure a butt chain or that slam gate then I go to their head and secure it with a trailer tie.

No matter what kind of trailer you purchase make sure you have adequate head clearance room if they should toss their head getting in or out. Today I would not buy any trailer with less than a 7' head clearance or higher....
The wider the trailer the easier it is to get a stockier horse to fit. Do not buy any trailer less than 6' wide whether that is a straight load or slant.
Personally, I see to many slants where the horses don't fit correctly or at all. I would not buy a slant that wasn't 7' or more wider....they are out there just look for them.
You limit yourself if you buy to small and either get a larger horse, want to go ride with a friend and there horse is larger.
A straight-load trailer is no different in you need adequate stall length to fit a longer bodied horse.
I also do not like any trailer with a solid bar in the middle of the stalls that is non-movable.
If you have a horse that will load with a bit of extra room stepping in but won't brush their side past that bar...you're not getting anyplace soon....and yes, having a open rear area doesn't allow flexibility to use your trailer for transporting or moving other things or objects...
Adequate lighting and ventilation are also important for any trailer to ship regardless of time of day or time of year....
Most other safety and maintenance things you can find in other areas on this forum of what to look for and what to beware of.
for your truck, make sure it is in tip-top operating condition and up to the job of towing a trailer with live cargo....there is a difference between towing a boat or camper and your horses back their in what a truck is capable of doing.
Be careful and smart and enjoy the roads!!

Just some ideas......

Happy shopping!!

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post #19 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Thanks. He will walk up the ramp, just seemed a little more hesitant than with the step-up which made me wonder which is better. Once we get a trailer, I would practice loading him, giving him a bit of hay, and unloading a few minutes later until he is 100% comfortable. He is a pretty easy-going horse, but was a bit nervous and a panicky horse is never a good thing so I want to do it until it becomes a boring routine for him.
Most people do not like ramps because they can't figure out how to train a horse to use a ramp. I've had horses slip under trailer backing out in the winter. I've also had horses pop their head up when stepping down and they could hit it on the roof. I've always had larger trailers so step down is large.I just got a new trailer with ramps and it took some training but I like them and don't have any issues with them.
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post #20 of 31 Old 12-27-2015, 06:56 PM
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Always close the back door BEFORE you tie the horse. If Harley would have gotten a leg off the back of the trailer while tied, you really will have a huge wreck on your hands.

And then of course, always untie the horse BEFORE you open the back door for the same reason.

Always use trailer ties that have breakaway snaps. And attach it to the window/trailer side (not the horse). So if you do get into a wreck, you can quickly get the horse untied.

I also like to use breakaway hatters. If I would ever get into a serious accident (trailer tips over for example)or a horse falls, I don't want them to "hang themselves". I want the halter to break.

I find it safest to teach the horse to self load and self unload. Then I don't have to get into the trailer.

Ramps are okay but make sure there is no space between the trailer and the ramp that a horse can get a foot or leg through. And make sure it is made of a material that will NOT be slippery when wet.
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