Car accidents are enough to get your adrenaline pumping, but when you’ve just had a serious accident with your horse trailer in tow, things can go from scary to downright deadly in no time. You never plan to have an accident, but if you do, it’s important to know how to handle it so that your horses and passengers survive the experience. If you’re in an accident involving a horse injury, follow these tips to keep the situation under control:
Approach the trailer cautiously. Even if your horse isn’t seriously injured, he’s definitely scared -- and a scared horse can be a dangerous horse. Approach the trailer slowly, don’t run up to it, and try to assess the condition of your horse from outside the trailer. Keep all doors and windows shut until you’re ready to attempt to extract your horse, horses sometimes see openings in horse trailers as paths to freedom, even if they’re much too small for a horse to squeeze through.
Clear a path to your horse first. Yes, your horse is going to be panicked and he’s going to want to get out of the trailer right away, but before you untie him, remove everything that’s not bolted down. Some slant load horse trailers have a number of removable gates; make sure you get these completely out of the way to prevent further injuries. Only once everything is out of the trailer should you attempt to move your horse from the rubble.
Untie your horse last. It’s always best to use breakaway ties with a horse that’s traveling, but if your breakaway failed or you didn’t use one to begin with, you’re going to have to be very careful when untying your horse. Many experts recommend cutting the tie rope with a knife on a long handle, since horse trailers are incredibly dangerous places to be if a horse is injured or scared inside. Leave as much rope as you can so you can get some control over your horse if he’s mobile.
Above all else, remain calm. Easier said than done, remaining calm is vital to a successful horse trailer accident recovery. People make a lot of mistakes when they’re worried about their horses, but you’re going to be much better off waiting for help to arrive before you attempt to help your horse. Call a neighbor for a trailer, your veterinarian for an on-site horse health assessment and emergency crews to help with freeing your horses. The going may be slow, but cutting your horses free from the outside is much safer than trying to right an upside-down horse in the narrow confines of most horse trailers.
No one can adequately prepare for a horse trailer accident, but with a little knowledge you can avoid making the situation much worse. If you’re in the market for a new trailer, consider one of our custom horse trailers equipped with safety features like SafeBump Roofs and SafeKick Wall Systems that will add extra layers of protection for your horse in case of an accident.