This guest blog on trailer safety was sent to me by cutnjump, and I think it's great, but I'm also going to add to it as this is a topic I could talk about all day. Please note that THE PICTURE BELOW IS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. NO ONE IS ALLEGING THE HORSES IN THE PICTURE WERE HAULED DOWN THE ROAD LIKE THIS.
Instead the horses traveling are just like you see here. I have even seen some without even a halter on. They are loose inside with their heads hanging out. If the trailer were to flip for whatever reason and their head or leg stuck out as everything goes over, I image the least thing they would lose is some skin and a little hair.
While some horses travel better loose, as in not tied, most travel better standing backwards, it has been shown to reduce their stress levels. It would not be difficult if they all traveled with the drop down doors, or at least the window bars- UP! The horses will not be as likely to be frightened by large trucks, motorcycles (aka crotch rockets), rice burner cars with special mufflers that make them sound like a giant swarm of killer bees... You get the idea.
Besides, most drop down doors have windows in them that can be secured open and they usually have screens on the outside and bars on the inside to keep hooves and nosey slobbers- horse boogers off of them. Pretty much standard on any trailer now too are the two way roof vents, to help keep the climate inside the trailer in a comfortable range.
Is it just us, or do these people have no clue about what could happen? I know a lot of us, in all parts of the country, (and world for our fugly friends abroad) have at some time, had some type of debris (rocks or any sorts of stuff that fell off a work or construction vehicle) that was on the road, fly up and hit the windshield on the car,truck, van, SUV, whatever you drive. Sometimes the stuff bounces right off, without leaving a mark. Most of the time it at least leaves a *star* shaped crack. Can you imagine what it would do to your horses head, or worse yet their eye?
Here's a different scenario for everyone to think about when they see a horse hanging their head out the drop down window going down the road. Back when slant loads and drop downs first became an option, my husband was traveling within a caravan of trailers, showing across the country going to shows in various states. They just finished up at one show and everyone was going on to the next one. (much like the rodeo circut) One of the guys in the group was traveling with his drop downs open, horses relaxed with their heads hagning out. One of the rigs had a blow out, so everyone pulled over to help change the tire and get the procession back on the road quickly.
While they were on the side of the road a semi went past them, going however fast. One of the mares on the trailer happened to stick her head out in time to have it taken off by the passing truck. It was horrible, let alone extremely gruesome. It was instant and I'm sure she didn't feel much, but the other horses in the trailer seemed to sense what had just happened. She was in the middle of the trailer and since it was a slant load, there were horses in front of her to be unloaded.
The other sad part was that the mare had just cleaned house at the last show, several class wins, Championships and Reserves. I cannot imagine how badly the driver must have felt since it was his choice to leave the drop downs open. Let alone having to explain what happened and WHY, to the horses' owners.
Whenever I see this on the road, I cringe for the sake of the horses. Yes, I roll down my window and yell at the drivers for being so ignorant. Usually I ask them if they have ever had a horse literally, lose it's head over their stupid behaviour? If there is a phone number or farm name on the side of said truck or trailer, you can better believe they get a phone call."