Category Archives: Horse Stories

Some Pros and Cons of Straight Load vs Slant Load Trailers – and Walk Throughs.






I was dreaming about a new trailer… my trainer loves his ‘walk through’ so I decided to look at those, too.

I found this article and thought you might enjoy it, too!

Click to go to the original article.


 

Credit: Thinkstock

Straight load vs slant load trailers: The debate continues. However, the one factor that everyone will agree on is that horse safety comes first. It is a given that when a horse enters a closed, dark space it is counter to his survival instinct, a throwback to living in the wild. That said, what we think of as a simple walk up a short ramp might well be viewed as a dangerous, “No way am I going in there!” exercise for the horse. But, walking into a light, airy trailer that accounts for your horse’s size and has adequate ventilation can reduce the most common causes of stress and stress-related accidents.

Tom Scheve, owner of Equispirit Trailers and co-author of The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer, underscores the importance of considering your horse first when choosing a trailer.

“How tall is your tallest horse? Does the trailer give that horse enough headroom? Can he stand comfortably and not bump his head when loading?” he asks for starters.

“He also should have enough room to use his head and neck for balance and to lower his head to cough out dust and debris he may have inhaled in the trailer,” added Scheve. “And he should be able to spread his legs both forward and backward to stand easily without having to lean or scramble to find his balance.”

The breed of your horse is also a factor as you compare trailers. While a 15.2 to 16.3 H Thoroughbred might need a tall trailer, a 16.2 H Warmblood might need not only a tall trailer, but one that is wide. And, with the heavier horses, especially drafts, weight becomes an issue, from both a hauling perspective as well as from the potential damage a larger horse can cause. Scheve likens the experience to carrying bricks in a plastic bag. He then noted a few other points to consider, namely age, prior training and temperament.

“Since horses are prone to feelings of claustrophobia, particularly young or green horses that are unused to entering into small spaces, they will likely need to develop a sense of self-assurance as they learn the ropes,” he said. “And while it’s ultimately up to you, your handler or your trainer to instill confidence and trust in an untrained horse, having a trailer that is open and welcoming can help make the process easier than trying to encourage an unwilling youngster to walk into a close, dark, place, reminiscent of a lion’s den.”

Scheve also said that your horse’s temperament plays a role in your finding the right trailer.

“If you have a calm, easygoing horse, you can pretty much pick and choose, but if your horse is high-strung and nervous, finding a trailer that will help to alleviate his anxiety,” he advised. “Providing more interior space and extra comfort features (see additional safety features below) can make the difference between your horse feeling comfortable or becoming colicky as he rides down the road.”

Trailer Safety

Just as important, the trailer needs to be safe. Here is a check list of items that should not be overlooked:

• Sharp objects or edges are an invitation for injury, so make sure that all surfaces, exterior as well as interior are rounded or smoothed out

  • • Latches, tie rings, butt bars, breast bars, etc. should be strong enough to withstand wear and tear from the largest, strongest horse
  • • Dividers, posts, butt bars, and breast bars should operate freely, yet can be easily removed in an emergency
  • • Ramps should be solid, low, non-slip, and long enough to protect you from getting kicked while lifting the platform
  • • Step up (no ramp) trailers need to be wide enough to allow your horse to turn around and unload headfirst instead of having to back out (a front unload ramp is even better)
  • • The construction material of the trailer should be strong enough to handle the size, weight, and strength of your horse(s) plus the equipment that will be hauled
  • • Additional safety features that can help reduce stress and which may not be expensive include, removable hay bags, mats, screens, bar guards on windows, removable or no rear center post, and water tanks

Walk-Through (Straight Load) – Advantages

• Open from ceiling to floor, the walk-through trailer is sometimes referred to as a “Thoroughbred” trailer because it is considered tall at 7 feet (newer models are even taller). Traditionally on the narrow side (5 – 5 ½’ ), today’s models reflect the current concern for comfort and safety by offering 6’ as the standard for the interior width and added dimensions as options

  • • Equipped with a breast or chest bar to keep the horse from going through the walk-out door
  • • Open appearance to quell feelings of claustrophobia
  • • Unencumbered space permits a horse to brace himself with his front legs while enabling him to lower his head in order to clear his respiratory tract should he need to
  • • The walk-out door is an added safety advantage for you. If your budget permits, consider a trailer that has a walk-out door on each side so you can reach one horse without disturbing the others

Walk-Through (Straight Load) – Disadvantages

• If you are planning to haul more than two horses you will need a larger straight load trailer to accommodate them

  • • There will also be an increased expanse attached to this along with additional customizations, i.e., the need for a side ramp
  • • A larger trailer is also heavier, which will add pressure on your towing vehicle

Slantload – Advantages

  • • More horses can fit in a shorter length trailer, making it possible to haul more horses in a shorter trailer, i.e., a four horse slant load with 3 x 7 foot tack storage is 24’ to 25½’ long whereas a four horse straight load, head to head, with 4’ x 6’ tack storage is 34’ to 36’ long
  • • Since the dividers are pushed to the sides and the rear entrance is spacious, it looks more inviting than a straight load; consequently horses are usually easier to load
  • • Horse can be turned around and led out head first
  • • Removable dividers make the trailer easier to customize to your needs
  • • More room for tack storage (and dressing rooms) at the front and rear corners

Slantload – Disadvantages

• The overall stall length is limited to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) restrictions on width (8½’) of the trailer. Since the wheel wells end up inside the trailer when it’s over 80”, and increases as the trailer is made wider, the stall length is greatly restricted, and often not enough for horses over 16 hands

  • • If you have a problem with the front horse, and he has to be unloaded, you have to unload all the other horses to get to it – not a good thing in an emergency

Scott Riley, Director of Director of Dealer Education for Sundowner Trailers weighs in by adding that a straight-load, walk thru trailer allows a horse to use both his front and hind legs to balance better during acceleration and deceleration,rather than trying to brace with the leading foreleg and trailing hind leg, or having to lean into the divider to for balance.  But, in the end he maintains it comes down to personal preference.

“Slant load verses straight load is often determined by how the customer uses the trailer. Ropers, team penners, and barrel racers tend to tie their horses outside the trailer, making a slant load more convenient. And polo players, who use several horses for each match, usually favor slant loads. Straight loads, on the other hand, are used more often by people who hardly ever tie their horses outside the trailer, choosing to unload only the horse they’ll be using at the time.”

To sum it up, Scheve looks at the horse’s perspective when discussing trailer styles.

“I believe that we have to balance the ‘horse’s point of view’ with sound research and knowledge when designing trailers. Just because a horse walks into a unmoving trailer and stands at an angle, doesn’t mean that he wants to travel that way, and even if he does, it doesn’t mean it is safe, i.e., let a four-year-old child choose how he wants to travel in your car, and he’ll probably end up by standing on the back seat looking out the rear window. We, however, know that he’s safer strapped into a car seat, even though he may not like it.”

JANUARY BUCKET FUND – Let’s help 21 Donkeys!

These donkeys lost their owner suddenly and had no one to come to their aid except Dr. Kris Anderson.  She brought them onto her personal property and had them gelded, teeth done, feet done, vaccines, meds, and gave them much needed nutrition.  You can read their story here.

All donations are 100% tax deductible.  THANK YOU in advance!!

We are only $285 away from helping Dr. Kris will all of her hard costs for meds, feed and farrier! Click here to donate!  (Thank you!)


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Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!


Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
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How a cattle baron saved California’s elk from extinction






I loved this article because Hubby is stationed at Camp Roberts here in CA, and he sees the elk all the time.  Often, when he runs or rides his bike on post, he will remark about the incredible bulls or the mammas and babies.

Original article linked here.

Click image to go to the original article!

tule elk photo
© Jaymi Heimbuch

It is not often that we can thank cattle ranchers for the preservation of wild grazing species. But throughout history there are ranchers we tip our hats to for the conservation work they have done, helping protect wildlife and wild spaces. Tule elk, the smallest elk on the continent, is one such species that has not one but two cattle ranchers to thank for their continued existence.

It came down to one breeding pair of elk, discovered in the tule marshes of Buena Vista Lake in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Huge herds once covered the California landscape, with numbers estimated to be over 500,000. But, like so many species, they suffered at the hands of the Europeans. The elk were hunted for food and hides by Americans arriving to the west coast, especially during the gold rush of 1849. By 1873, elk hunting was banned by State Legislature but it was too late. The damage was done and tule elk were thought to be extinct.

That is, until that tiny band with its single breeding pair was found in the tule marshes on the land of cattle baron Henry Miller in 1874 by a game warden named A. C. Tibbett. Miller told his ranch hands to keep the elk safe, and it is this action that is credited with sparing the species from disappearing altogether.

But the story doesn’t end there. Though Miller’s protection helped the species begin to recover, the protection ended with Miller’s death.

When Miller died, the ranch was subdivided and hunting resumed. With this, along with habitat loss and poaching, the elk population dropped again to just 28 individuals by 1895. Over the years, attempts were made to transplant the elk but nothing seemed to work. Finally in 1933, Walter Dow, a rancher in Owens Valley east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, brought a group of tule elk to his ranch. And finally, they began to thrive again.

As numbers rebounded, hunting was allowed to keep the Owens Valley tule elk numbers to under 500. Sadly, that isn’t exactly a high number of individuals for an entire species. California’s Department of Fish and Game established three permanent tule elk herds in the state, and by 1969 there were tule elk in Owens Valley, Tupman State Reserve, and Cache Creek.

Meanwhile, an activist by the name of Beula Edmiston headed up a group that lobbied for more than a decade to ban the hunting of the elk until their numbers reached more than 2,000 head. By 1976, US Congress agreed and federal lands were to be made available for preserving tule elk, including the San Luis Wildlife Refuge, Concord Naval Weapons Station, Mount Hamilton, Lake Pillsbury, Jawbone Canyon, Point Reyes National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, and Camp Roberts.

Today, there are 22 populations of tule elk throughout California with numbers estimated at around 4,000 individuals. Now that is a story of determination and success!

JANUARY BUCKET FUND – Let’s help 21 Donkeys!

These donkeys lost their owner suddenly and had no one to come to their aid except Dr. Kris Anderson.  She brought them onto her personal property and had them gelded, teeth done, feet done, vaccines, meds, and gave them much needed nutrition.  You can read their story here.

All donations are 100% tax deductible.  THANK YOU in advance!!

We are only $285 away from helping Dr. Kris will all of her hard costs for meds, feed and farrier! Click here to donate!  (Thank you!)


Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!


Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!