Horse going down in trailer, scariest moment of my life

Cheshire Chestnut

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Towing two horses today, mine and my friend's horse. Both good travellers and get on well with each other, never a problem in the past. About 3 miles from home the loudest sickening noise came from the trailer and the whole thing shook. I stopped but it was on a huge sweeping bend on a country lane and there was no where to stop safely so I just pulled a bit onto the small verge and put my hazards on. My friend ran to the jockey door to find her horse on his knees fallen over in the trailer with his leg stuck under the partition (even though it looked impossible to fit a hoof under there), with his shoe all twisted. He was panicking and managed to move the partition and crush my pony to the other side of the trailer. My boy stayed fairly calm considering but he was frightened too. It then started thundering and an absolute downpour of rain commenced.

There was no room to take the horse out of the front ramp so the back ramp was the only option, however when i went to lower it, he freaked again. Right on cue (as if in a nightmare) a huge lorry came and didn't see us until last minute and the slammed on it's breaks, skidding next to us in the river of a road. Both horses where going mad in the trailer so I put the ramp back up, scared incase one ran into the road of fast traffic. I called 999 and the police came within minutes, thank god. They closed the road both ways so we could get the horses out safely. It was still thundering and lightening, horses tense and hysterical. One police officer (who seemed to know a bit about horses) helped with the ramp and lifting the partition off the horse's leg, while the other two card blocked off the road. My friend stayed in the trailer holding her horse and trying to carefully guide him down the ramp. He then sat down on his hocks and rolled off the trailer backwards, it was horrific.

To cut a very long story short, I took my horse back to the yard in the trailer whilst my friend stayed with the police in a nearby field with her horse. He wouldn't go back in the trailer so I got dropped off, the farrier removed the twisted shoe and we walked the 3 miles back down the road with his bridle on in the pouring rain, it was the longest walk ever.

We both managed to hold it together until we got back to the yard and then burst into tears. Both horses are uninjured, apart from a few minor cuts and the farrier said a bruised hoof sole. I never ever want to experience that again. Still don't understand how it happened but I guess it was just an unlucky accident. Just so glad everyone was ok, it's frightened me a lot :( Don't even know why I'm sharing this really, suppose I feel it's my fault somehow as I was the one towing.
 
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PorkChop

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Oh my goodness, how frightening.

Please don't blame yourself, sounds like a freak accident, so glad both horses are ok.
 

meesha

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What a horrific thing to go through, sounds like you coped well. Hope everyone is OK, I would check the trailer floor, could it have been slippery or damaged? Otherwise it could have just been bad luck, horse may stood on shoe and panicked.

If you are nervous towing again maybe install a camera so you know what they are doing and can relax.
 

fishy

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Glad you are all ok x Accidents in trailers are so frightening. My mare managed to strike out and push the handle on the jockey door forward so it wouldn't stay shut, opening an artery in the process. It was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. New trailer as well. 😢
 

Slightly Foxed

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God, that's awful. You did well to have the presence of mind to call the police. Don't blame yourself, freaky things happen. I hope you and your friend are ok now.
 

atropa

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God how scary for you all! Try not to blame yourself, these things happen and all ended safe. I would just make sure your friend keeps an eye out for possible abscesses brewing with the bruised sole, my old boy had a bad one from a bruise last year.
 

asmp

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My horse went down in a trailer once - in fact he went down a couple of times. My trailer was out of action so we cadged a lift from a friend. We were driving behind the trailer and noticed him going down as the trailer went round a bend, he recovered but at the next roundabout he went down and didn't get back up. Flashed driver to stop and we pulled the back ramp down. Luckily horse didn't panic and just sat there for a few seconds. He then scrambled up and we got him out the back with just a small cut. I came to the conclusion there were two possible reasons why he went down - 1) he was on the 'wrong' side to the one he normally travels one (he's a leaner) and 2) he was tied up quite tight by the friend so that he couldn't reach her horse but this meant when he lost his balance he couldn't put his head down to regain it.

All not as horrifying as your experience though, especially when you had such awful weather to contend with. Glad to hear the horse wasn't that badly injured. Try and put it behind you.
 

Fjord

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Oh god, that must have been terrifying. I am glad they are both relatively uninjured, I hope you feel less shocked soon.
 

Goldenstar

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When this happened to me I drove with a 17.2 TB curled up in the front of an IW he was caught by the stifles on the breast bar until we were in a secure place before I attempted to extricate him , the longest few minutes of my life .
He managed to get purchase with one foreleg and propel himself backwards back over the bar and then fainted and ended up on his side in the trailer he came round as I was leaning over him removing the bars from the back .he waited till I got out then was a god awful noise and there he was standing on the ramp .My beautiful boy all in one piece .
He got away with a few bruises I was so lucky that day .
He heard a horse cantering about and calling why he did it I have no idea, he loaded the next day and has been fine to travel ever since .
It took me much longer to get over it than him.
I am tearful thinking about it's a horrible thing to go through .
 

taraj

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I can relate to this as it happened to me a few weeks back (see post regarding travel boots!)
It is such a scary thing to happen, luckily you were not far from home and their were no major injuries. My horse went down on his side, leaning against the partition and got stuck, luckily no major damage.
The scariest thing now will be putting him back in the trailer again��.
 

Cheshire Chestnut

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Thanks everyone, feel much better after a hot shower and a cup of tea. Just keep re-living it all in my head :(
Floor and trailer are newly refurbished. It's a Cheval trailer but I had an aluminium floor but in it last July and it has good rubber mats and shavings, shouldn't have been slippy but I suppose you just never know :(
 

Cheshire Chestnut

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Has the horse had a hock issue by any chance ?
No, never has. Sound as anything. Think he must have just lost his footing round the bend maybe. When he came off the ramp backwards he was panicking and stepped off the side of the ramp with the foot with the twisted shoe, so I think the sitting down might have been a knee jerk reaction to the discomfort in his foot. All happened so quickly (but in slow motion at the same time if you get me?) Horrible.
 

Spot_the_Risk

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Gravel issues are just terrible. As Goldenstar, I've had one go over the breastbar and stay hung up by his stifles (bent his willy backwards too, ouch) until we dropped the front ramp and he thrashed his way out. He's been over the bar since, and TBH if I never had to travel him again I'd be very happy. I hope you can settle down soon and your horses travel easily once more.
 

Cheeky Chestnut

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Having had two bad travellers and both going down several times I now don't travel two in my trailer.

I have a full length breast at at the front and two short ones joined at the back with two coupling links for a Lorry joining to make a flexible breach at the back and that's how I travel mine.

His issue is his hocks he cannot balance due to arthritis, he used to be perfectly fine, then one day he started paddling then scrambling then he went down and once he even went down before the trailer had started moving, he was scrambling in panic.

So now he just goes in himself. Means though it's easier for me to tack and plait up etc in the 505 with no partition :)
 

el_Snowflakes

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That must have been terrifying. Glad your horses are both fine. Have you had your trailer serviced recently? It may be worth a check to make sure there are no issues that may have caused it. Best wishes.
 

Crackerz

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Sounds horrendous! :( I'm glad everyone was ok though.

I have a 3.5t and i know exactly what's going on behind me as i have a window & about to get a camera put in too. I wouldn't use a trailer unless it had a camera in it because you can't see or feel quite like you can when they are in the same vehicle as you! A friend has a wireless camera in hers
 

applecart14

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I've had a horse go down in a trailer when I was in the back with him. We knew he had problems with his feet placement and wanted to watch what he was doing to see the reasoning behind it. We went to an industrial estate on a quiet Sunday morning and Dad was driving literally two mph. I got in the back with him. Dad came up to a T junction, turned left literally crawling around the corner and Biggles went down, and sat like a dog would sit. I jumped out of the jockey door to get Dad to help me, he'd felt the horse go down and just grabbed his headcollar and he hauled him to his feet. It was terrifying.

We worked out that the partition was too narrow. Also the floor which was wooden was too slippery and Dad altered the breast bar to give Biggles more room, put rubber matting down on the floor of the trailer and altered the partition permanently so there was more room for him (he had 3/4 of the partition in the end). It solved the problem.

Not sure why you are blaming yourself. I assume you didn't go round a corner to fast for the horse to lose balance so like a previous poster said, it may have been that the floor was slippy. I know with these big 4 x 4's that you don't even feel the trailer nowadays so its easy to drive fast and not realize, but if you feel you were not doing this then blaming oneself is a pointless exercise.

Hope you get to the bottom of it soon x
 

PollyP99

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I can relate to this as it happened to me a few weeks back (see post regarding travel boots!)
It is such a scary thing to happen, luckily you were not far from home and their were no major injuries. My horse went down on his side, leaning against the partition and got stuck, luckily no major damage.
The scariest thing now will be putting him back in the trailer again��.
And me, mine suffered a severed artery so didn't come off as well it's the most hideous experience and God only knows how I'd have coped if mine too was on a busy road! The blood the noise her shocked face are still night,arise to me, I too have not yet tried to travel her again.
 

smja

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Well done, it sounds like you dealt with it in the best way possible. Good on the police too.

Have you got shavings/other bedding down on top of the rubber matting? Mine had a panic in a trailer a few years ago (thankfully didn't go all the way down), we always travel with some bedding down now and he's been fine since.
 

pepsimaxrock

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Oh that sounds totally horrendous. It has happened to me, twice, but not as seriously as that, probably cos I was only carrying one horse.
Max went down on a v short journey I heard something but presumed it was a bad bump in road I had failed to avoid. When I got back to yard he was lying down - he got up really quickly and got himself out down the front ramp.
It happened again just a short while afterwards - I gently turned a corner and heard a thump - uh oh. I knew what that was. Much further away from home so I pulled over into a layby and opened the jockey door to find the breast bar on the floor (?) and Max sitting down again. I pulled on headcollar to get him to his feet but he went for the open jockey door and trapped my arm against the trailer. Somehow I pushed him inside and we gingerly made our way home - my arm still has a permanent dint - that was 3 years ago.
Since then I have travelled with the partition out and he was fine - new horse similarly and she is fine too.
Obvs got the (2 yo) trailer serviced and - I had a puncture. Who knows whether I had it when poor old Max fell over :(
 

applecart14

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Since then I have travelled with the partition out and he was fine - new horse similarly and she is fine too.
(
Makes you wonder whether horses lose their balance because of lack of room with a standard partition width. When you stand on a bus or other moving vehicle you stretch your legs to keep your balance, so maximizing the width of room in a trailer by doing like I have done and making it 3/4 wide instead of half wide, or removing the partition like you have done Pepsimaxrock, obviously makes a huge difference to horses.
 
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