North Erath County, Texas, Lat 32.43 N, Long -98.36 W, elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.
The Use of Twine for Safety in Horse Trailers
Rained off and on most of the day.
Took Sweet Hija to Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery (ESM&S) on the Brazos for a pregnancy check. Loaded Hija into the two-horse, side-by-side trailer. Some balking at loading.
On our place, the horses are accustomed to a C & C stock trailer that is twenty-six feet long, not the two-horse, side-by-side. The C & C stock trailer, for both horses and cattle, allows a larger space, plenty of views between the side rails, a good comfort zone. I don’t tie them up during the trip, only during the loading and unloading process. In the stock trailer, I put up baling twine to tie the lead rope, in case there is an accident or a panic incident, they can snap the twine much easier.
I used the two-horse, side-by-side trailer today rather than the C & C.
In the two-horse, I had failed to use the baling twine to tie the lead rope, but instead put the lead rope through the conventional steel rung. It did not register on me that I was side-stepping safety behavior for the horse and me. I failed to perform a checklist because I was in a hurry.
Trip to Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery on the Brazos was slowed by several hundred bicyclists on a race via the Brock Road. Had to drive slowly and be careful passing. Rain tapered off at Brock.
Sweet Hija Will Birth a Filly in May 2011
Dr. Semira S. Mancill gave Hija her sixty-day physical and also sexed the newly-developing foal. Two weeks ago, the sonogram signaled a colt, but the definitive conclusion with ultra-sound yesterday was that the foal was a filly. The sire is Shiners Lena Doc out of Carol Rose’s stables north of Denton, Texas. Dr. Mancill said that the ultra-sound indicated a healthy filly will be developing for birthing next April 15, 2011.
Bad sign in trying to reload Sweet Hija in the trailer. She balked and it took us ten minutes to convince her to join-up with the two-horse trailer. Dr. Mancill, Zack (our helper at ESM&S) and I completed the task. I was embarrassed.
Load completed, I drove to Stephenville to pick up supplies and hay. Twelve bales of coastal and alfalfa, three Strategies, one Horseman’s Edge. Rain eased up so I transported the hay in the bed of the pickup, the grain in the horse trailer.
Accident Due to Several Factors
Back at the ranch, I proceeded to unload Hija. Instead of being fully safety-conscious, I proceeded to undo the butt bar on Hija, intending to walk around to side door, climb in the trailer and back her up. Hija panicked and pulled back on the lead rope, breaking the snap on the rope that was under her chin. In rearing backwards, she got a laceration above her left eye from the brass on the halter. I had seen her start to back up and thought she would stop once she got to the end of the lead rope, but she did not. I grabbed her halter without a lead rope and she quickly calmed down, but the laceration was three-inches long and deep, bleeding, though not to the bone.
I asked Brenda to come down to the stables and help me assess what to do. Brenda says it’s bad enough to go to the vet. She calls ESM&S in Weatherford, Texas (not the reproduction center on the Brazos) to tell the emergency staff we are coming with Hija. It was a Saturday afternoon, about 1:30 p.m.
ESM&S Staff Stitches Hija
I hitch up the C & C stock trailer to the white F-250 we have. I’m not going to use the two-horse again today — bad medicine. I proceed to tie Hija to the twine loop, then unfasten her for the trip to ESM&S once she is loaded in. We speed to Weatherford, unload Hija. She is bleeding a bit more, but not effusively. The staff stitches the laceration and we return home by 5:00 p.m. We must take her back in two weeks to get the stitches out.
In the response to Hija’s accident, we were negligent in applying known safety standards. Fortunately, the snap broke before further injury occurred.
Open stock trailers like the C & C trailer have their drawbacks. Probably the most serious is that the separation of horses must be well-planned because there are no panels as in the side-by-side or slant transport. In most situations, however, the trailer has two compartments, large stall areas, and that seems adequate for separation.