Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fancy Cast! Part 4

Here are shots of Fancy's cast. Lisa has been reading your comments and she wanted me to respond to Laughing Orca Ranch that Fancy should be rideable by October according to her vet.

And to note that Fancy walked right into her trailer without a single hesitation. That's pretty cool. Lisa is trailer shopping these days.

That is an interesting cast. I wondered how far up the leg it would go, It's good see it didn't go halfway up her leg as I would have expected.

I know we all have some horse trailer hauling stories to tell and I thought it would be a great learning experience to hear your stories. If you have a situation you can tell us all about (with pictures - even better) I'd love to post here. My email address is

I have several stories to tell, but here are a couple that I will try to “briefly” share.

When I first got back into horses about 15 years ago, I bought my quarter horse mare, Missy. It had been 10 years prior that I sold my horse to try to survive as a single mom. During my early horse years, I had no experience hauling horses. If I needed to move my horse, I usually called one of my sisters to haul for me.

So shortly after purchasing Missy, I basically knew nothing about hauling horses and one day, I learned one of the most important rules of hauling. Do not tie the head of the horse to the trailer without first shutting the divider. (And do not open the divider until the head is untied.)

I know. I know, I see people doing just the opposite all the time, Some stock trailers are divider-less, or because of the way a trailer is built, it’s easiest to tie the head first, but I personally believe that is an accident waiting to happen. Just like mine did.

One day, as we were loading Missy for a ride home, my sister and I were yakking as we were loading and not really paying as much attention to what the other was doing as we should have been.

Missy' head was tied and started to walk out to close the divider behind me. Missy thought she was going to walk right out with me and when she felt her head was trapped, she went straight into severe panic mode.

Now, this horse was a solid-minded horse and a trailering veteran, but when she realized she couldn’t back out of that trailer because her head was stuck, her feet started going about 90 miles an hour up and down, up and down, stomping like crazy, on the tops of my feet.

I couldn’t get away from her because every time she lifted a hoof off of one of my feet, she'd stomp down on the other. Over and over. I was stuck! Scared and feeling the stabbing pain on the tops of my feet over and over again.

But it was happening so fast and I was so scary. Finally, my sister reached up from the outside of the trailer un unbuckled her head. Missy managed to unload herself without blasting over the top of me, and without flipping over backwards (something else we hear about all too often.)

My perfectly tenderized feet were two solid bruises for weeks afterward and I thought I had broken a bone or two in one of them, but I healed pretty fast.

Interestingly, Missy never hesitated to back into a trailer after that either. Some horses are amazing. But I personally will never tie the head before slamming that divider shut again.

In another incident, just recently, we were hauling a mare to her new home and we didn’t get very far down the road, and the mare was making a lot of noise in the back. So I got out to check on her and found her sweaty and scared and almost laying sideways. She was leaning on the divider and trying to climb the wall with her feet. She was in the first stall of our slant load trailer.

Although she had hauled pretty well previously, she was going nuts on this ride. My sister (always rescuing me) suggested opening the divider so the mare could spread her legs, which we did and she hauled just fine for the next hour until we got her to her destination.

Now I hear that is pretty common for horses to do. And it sounds like that is what Fancy was doing as well. I often wonder if they might get vertigo in the trailer sometimes and think they should be on their side. Who knows, but some horses really need to get a good base under them and giving them lots of room is a good idea.

I'd love to see the backward facing trailers manufactered here in the US. That's the way horses like to ride. My minis always chose to ride facing backwards when I don't tie them in, so if I do tie their heads, they are facing backwards.

It just seems to be more natural for them to keep their balance in a moving vehicle and I believe it's easier on their joints when the trailer goes over bumps. Trailering is tough on the knee joints. If you've never ridden, standing up, in a trailer, you might try it (in a safe situation) just to see. You really feel the bumps in your joints.

And old trailers from the 60s, 70s and 80s, that people are STILL using - oh my gosh, there is no suspension!

1 comment:

BethsRantsnRaves said...

Here's our story, thank goodness it's not injury-related! Prior to moving to Washington from Illinois in 2006, we purchased a new (off the lot) 2004 Sundowner 727 2 Horse slantload, gooseneck. Originally I was hunting for a Brenderup, but couldn't find a nearby dealer and would have had to travel two states away with a check in-hand. No thanks. I am not fond of separating the horses, so we pulled out the divider to allow the horses to move into a comfortable position. I also don't tie them when they are loose. Some people will gripe about that, but honestly, there is no SAFE way to truly haul livestock.
The only trailer issue we had was due to not having bars on the drop down windows. We had screens with sliding door windows (very small, who designed this?). I bought a screen from Professional's Choice and using zip ties, was able to make it work. It was much too small though. So, we drove with one window down. Even though we traveled the higher (cooler) roads, it was still too hot in the trailer. One of my horses (the Arabian, of course) refused to drink while on the road and only took water when we stopped at ranches for the night. We walked the horses into the trailer each day and they would get into position while on the road. The Paint stood facing forward, the Arabian faced backward. Each time. The only scare we had was when we stopped to eat one afternoon and the Paint laid down. He was fine, just decided to lay down, regardless if the Arabian was in the way.
In 2008, we had to move overseas, so the horses went to live at the ranch they had come from. This time, I ordered custom-made screens to fit into the drop down windows allowing me to drive with the windows down. However, I didn't need to do this until we got to Kansas since we had snow storms following us most of the way and it was quite cool. This time we drove with the divider up, horses tied. Both horses were fine, the Arabian drank more, but he was also 2 years older (5) and had more trailer travel experience. If I can figure how to include it, I'll attach or email a photo of the Paint drinking (water) from a Taco Bell cup.
I was convinced by the owner of the ranch (where I worked and bought both horses) to convert my F150 to haul a gooseneck. He has been training and hauling horses his whole life and was worried about me hauling a regular trailer cross country. My dad agreed, as he's had jack-knifed trailers happen. It was a great decision and we had absolutely no swaying or problems (like we had with our camper trailer). The Sundowner worked very well. It has pads on the divider and walls, as well as rubber up the half the walls. I wish it had a ramp and barred windows. Oh, my trailer also has the emergency & dressing room doors open on the traffic side. I think most have changed to the other now. Lessons learned.