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Horse falls down in trailer; VERY scarry
Topic Started: Feb 19 2008, 07:05 PM (519 Views)
mercury1
Shunnnnn the unbeliever. Shunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
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My new horse seems pretty normal, until you have him ride on the right side of the trailer. I have a straight load 2 horse with a swinging divider. We thought there was something wrong with the trailer, until I took a ride in the dressing room to watch the horses while my husband drove.

My horse, only when loaded on the right side, will fall/lean into the divider, then scramble with his hooves on the wall, then fall completely down....only to repeat the process over again the whole way. As far as I know he's fine on the left side of the trailer, possibly b/c there's no wall to scramble against? I'm going to take him for a ride again tomorrow loaded on the other side, only b/c I've never felt any jerky movements when he's on the left...only the right.

He bent the divider, and when we opened the trailer door all you could see was smoke that smelled like burnt rubber...it was his hooves on the rubber floor and walls.

It was extremely heart breaking to watch, and I plan on calling the vet this week.

Has anyone dealt with this before? What should I do?
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Onelanerode
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Off visiting Candy Cave, be right back.
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I cannot imagine that your horse's hooves against the rubber floor are creating THAT much friction. It sounds to me like there's something going on with the trailer that's causing him to scramble. Smoke in the trailer cannot be a good sign, but I would be absolutely shocked if it was the horse causing that. I've never seen nor heard of that happening.

I think it would be best to take your truck and trailer to someone who specializes in trailers and their maintenance/repair, and have them go over your entire rig with a fine-toothed comb.

I have heard of horses in slant loads being picky about where they are placed, but not so much in straight load trailers. It really sounds to me as though there is something wrong and your horse is quite worried about it. I think if it were a trailering issue on your horse's part, he would be scrambling/leaning regardless of where he was stalled.

If your rig checks out OK, maybe you can try adding some shavings to the trailer. I really don't like to haul without them ... I feel like they give much better traction, a little extra cushioning and moisture absorption (keeping slipping to a minimum), in addition to being a footing that the horse is (likely) familiar with. Having shavings in a black-rubber-matted trailer can also brighten the inside, which can help horses who don't want to load b/c it makes the trailer look like less of a black hole.

Does your horse ride OK in other trailers?
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MAR
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Thomas H. Cruise!
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I had one that used to do that...it was horrifying. He tore up a lot of two horse trailers. Turned out he could only ride in a big rig or a slant load. And yes, he made smoke with his horse shoes. The only way to avoid it was to GO REALLY SLOW around turns...like less than 5mph!
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Ontherun
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Shunnnnn the unbeliever. Shunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
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I had a horse that had to have a butt bar not a chain because he would sit on it. The first time I followed the trailer he was in (chain butt bar) I freaked because he was constantly going down. When we got a trailer, but got one with a butt bar and he was fine. He would sit on the bar.
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mercury1
Shunnnnn the unbeliever. Shunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
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I'm glad someone else has felt my pain before. It's just bazar.

I called my trainer. She said she's actually seen one other horse do the same thing, only when loaded on a certain side. They took out the divider and the horse was fine; never misplaced a foot. Unfortunately it took more for things to change for that horse. He finally ended up putting a hoof thru the wall into the wheel area. They totally remodeled the trailer and he's doing fine now.

She also said she used to hear more of these cases back when trailers were made less 'open' and the dividers went all the way to the ground. They called it 'climbing the walls'. Which describes it well considering his hoof marks were in the rubber all the way up to the chest bars. HENCE, the rubber burning smoke.

PS> I've had my trailer checked by two reputable horse trailer maintenance facilities, in addition to my husband who is a Mechanical Engineer, my father in law who is an Electrical Engineer, and my uncle who is a well respected mechanic. I never dreamed it would be something like this, it was truly horrible to watch. I would never put my horse into a dangerous situation with a trailer that does not work properly. Trust me, this is a horse issue, not a trailer issue.

I've also got the thing bedded very deeply, since he likes to urinate in the trailer now and then.
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mercury1
Shunnnnn the unbeliever. Shunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
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MAR
Feb 19 2008, 07:59 PM
I had one that used to do that...it was horrifying. He tore up a lot of two horse trailers. Turned out he could only ride in a big rig or a slant load. And yes, he made smoke with his horse shoes. The only way to avoid it was to GO REALLY SLOW around turns...like less than 5mph!

Did you ever notice any other strange balance issues with that horse? I'm trying to stay calm here but I can't get the image out of my head. Being a vet tech of course I'm thinking he's got all these medical issues now like EPM or a brain tumor that affects his balance :,(
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heineken
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Off visiting Candy Cave, be right back.
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My older retired horse falls down in the trailer. I used to think he was just being a jerk, scrambling and being impatient, turns out as he's gotten older his balance has diminished and he really struggles to stay upright in a 2 horse straight load. He won't go on a slant anymore, had a bad experience a few years ago but will always load, and then loses his his balance and slips around. It is SO DISCONCERTING when you are driving!!! I totally understand what you are talking about!
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DairyQueen2049
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DRAGON BREATH. DRAGGIN' BUTT
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I think if I had trailered my old mare she'd have fallen in the trailer - she had a hard time toward the end standing - her stay mechanisms were not functioning well.

So sad. Poor horse.
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Black Tack
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You're BANNED!
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We had a horse at the barn that used to do that. We were lucky though because he was fine in a large rig and that's usually what went to the horse shows. He had to have 2 stalls and then he was fine.

The last time I trailered Chaz to the vet, he was scrambling and had a very hard time , especially around turns (he has traveled far and wide and been fine so this is something new.) He ended up coming off the trailer very sore. I always assumed it had something to do with the other 2 horses on the 4 horse trailer. Now you have me wondering if his balance is starting to go. He is 18 this year.
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2bayboys
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Not as bad as you think I am.
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I had one that used to climb the walls. I used to trailer him with the divider tied to the side so he had more room and he was fine with that. It seems he liked to spread his legs wide and if he felt like he couldn't, then he panicked. I foxhunted and showed the horse and there were no other balance or neuro issues, just the trailer thing. We accomodated for him.

It is very frightening to see, I feel for you.
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varider
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Have had that happen a couple of times and it's not fun. Currently we have one horse who can not ride in our slant load unless he has 2 stalls - he has to have a lot of head and neck room to keep his balance. Straight load - he's fine.

Had a mare who would kick her left hind leg over the partition unless she was next to the left wall. That one was fun... Trying to get her unstuck in the median of the highway - not fun. :o
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mercury1
Shunnnnn the unbeliever. Shunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
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I took him for a ride tonight. Turns out he does the same when loaded on the left side of the trailer, except he doesn't have a wall to climb up. He severely leans into the wall on his left, just as he did to the divider when loaded on the right side of the trailer. Then his legs way over, under the divider. His left legs aren't carrying weight some of the time, his knees are bent. But his right legs are helping to push his body into the wall. It's like he's using the wall to stand.

He does 'seem' out of sorts a bit. He almost body slams the wall with his shoulder and neck at times. And other times he just flops over to lean.

He's 8 and has a long career ahead. I'm not sure what I can do for him. Taking the divider out doesn't seem like it would do much since he was already hugging the wall the minute he got into the trailer. I don't think he touched the divider once.
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