To illustrate, this day we had a small trailering incident. The fact that many (most?) horses will get into a confining, dark box and ride calmly down the road, bumping, swaying, and vibrating all over the place, is kind of amazing, really. Of course we do everything we can to make it safe and "inviting," including rubber mats on the floor for traction and shock absorption, tasty hay to munch on while traveling (eating is calming for horses, and it's also good for maintaining gut function and preventing ulcers), and, if we can, a buddy to make a "herd." But, the unexpected still occurs. In Dawn's trailer, her mare was in the front straight-load area, with the dividing gate shut behind her. We put both Rhio and Paco in the rear area, which is open. We tied them on the slant, as they would travel in Gesa's trailer, heads to the driver's side. Both horses willingly loaded up and schooched in together. There is no divider between them, nor any secondary barrier behind them, besides just the back door of the trailer. This is the way they travel in Gesa's trailer, and many other trailers, without any issues in the past. Today, we had an issue.
Upon arrival at the trail, we started to unload the horses and somehow Rhio and Paco had gotten their leadropes crossed over each other in the trailer. Because it's an open stock trailer, I was able to reach through the slats and start untying them. I did not do a good job of communicating what the issue was (totally my fault!) and meanwhile Gesa and Dawn opened the back of the trailer. Rhio was loose at that point, but Paco still wasn't. I was trying to get Paco untied (I should have just unclipped the leadrope from his halter - that whole hindsight 20/20 thing) and Rhio decided to scrambled out by himself - except that he had to pass Paco to do so, as Paco was the rear most horse. Rhio tried to go under Paco's neck/leadrope, and Paco backed up to make space for him to do so - only Paco was still tied and stepped out of the trailer, scraping up a hind leg in the process. The scrapes must have stung, as he was limping for a bit after we had them both sorted out, but he "walked it off" and with a little ointment to sooth the raw skin, we went on to have a fine ride.
We certainly don't set out to create an incident like this, and no lasting damage was done (both horses loaded right back into the trailer to go home without hesitation), but it is still scary and upsetting when things like this happen. We will be hyperaware of this happening again, and probably go a bit overboard on prevention (for a while) - but I'm sure the next horse incident will be something completely unrelated.
|Stopping at a puddle for a drink.|
|Rhio leads the group across the bridge.|
|The horses contemplate the trail.|
|Exploring a huge new logging road.|