“You Shut It, Right?” Trailer Safety Mishaps Still Hurt Horses

by Fran Jurga | 29 November 2008 | The Jurga Report on Equisearch.com

I was driving to the office on a beautiful fall day recently. I rounded a curve and saw a nice truck and trailer coming toward me from the opposite direction.

I sighed because I was on my way to work and this rider was obviously headed to the beach or some trail somewhere to do exactly what I wished I was doing.

We passed on a wide curve and, out of habit, I looked in my rear view mirror as it went by, wondering if I’d see one rump or two, the big butt of a spotty Appy or a loud Paint, maybe; would they be blanketed or not on this chilly day? What I saw instead was chilling.

The truck was going around the curve with the ramp dragging on the ground. Sparks flew on the road surface. A panicked horse inside was bracing his hind legs and pulling back on the tie-up.

I hit the horn, blasting, but the driver probably thought I was accusing her of being over the yellow line on the curve. In my mirror, I could see the trailer ramp bounced on down the road. The driver was obviously oblivious.

I grabbed my cell phone (thank goodness for cell phones!) and called the Essex police to alert them to see if they could stop the truck as it headed through town. But would they intercept it in time? And would she even drive through the village?

The nightmare receded in my rear view mirrow, its shower of sparks as colorful as the wild fall leaves.

I never heard if the horse snapped its tie or if the sparks started a fire or if the police even bothered to look for the truck. I’ll never know, I’m sure. I wondered about the cars behind the trailer and if they had any idea what danger they were in. And that some people choose not to tie their horses in their trailers.

How many times have you been in a hurry to get home or just get on the road and after you get a mile down the road, you turn to your friend or family member and say, “Um….you’re sure checked the tail gate, right? And the hitch?”

I just read a news report about a horse that fell out of a trailer and was killed on the road. It was a valuable show horse; the driver claimed he followed all the safety steps. But the police noted that they had just passed over a long stretch of construction, with a rough road, and theorized that the vibration from the bumpy stretch had loosened the tail gate bolts until it came down.

In that case, the driver realized instantly that something was wrong when the weight of the horse came out of the trailer. You would feel it. But it was in heavy traffic. The horse didn’t have a chance.

Check it again. Just to be safe.




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