If possible, section off the area of the lorry containing the groom’s door, or tie the horse well away from this door so that no part of its fore or hind legs can reach it. The door should always be kept clear so that you can have safe and easy access to attend to the horse.
Some horses will constantly kick out behind or bang and paw with a foreleg when travelling; the groom’s door may break or buckle under this ceaseless barrage. Many serious accidents are caused by horses getting their legs stuck in damaged grooms’ doors so keep your horse safely out of reach of this danger.
Alternatively, use a partition to section off the groom’s door. The more solid type of partition should either fit very close to the floor or have a gap of 46-61 cm (18in-2ft) so, if the horse falls, there is no possibility of it getting a leg trapped between the partition and the floor.
Horses keep their balance more easily when travelling at an angle and also have a greater length in which to stand, and some prefer a wider stall to stand in. In a stall, as in a trailer, tie the horse so that its hindquarters can touch the side of the lorry before the rope pulls on the headcollar then it is less likely to pull back. When a horse pulls back on the rope its head goes up, its hind legs slip forward and it often falls.
When loading, close the partition then tie the horse up. When unloading, untie the horse before opening up the partition. Horse boxes are often designed so that the horses face directly to the front or rear. They travel well in this position but some may be frightened if the padded stalls are very narrow, and may lean their quarters and shoulders against one side of the division while scrabbling their feet on the floor near the opposite division. At such an angle they often fall and a fear of travelling can develop. Giving them a much wider stall so that they cannot get into this position should cure the problem.
Driving The Box Or Trailer
Drive really carefully, starting and stopping very gradually, changing down in good time before corners and turning slowly and smoothly. Remember that the horse cannot anticipate starts, stops or corners and has no hands to hold on with. It has to balance on its feet and must be given time to alter its balance in order to stay upright. Never drive at speeds over 40 mph kmph (64 kmph) and on your first few trips do not exceed 25 mph (40 kmph).
lmagine that you are driving with a bucketful of water in the back and do not want to spill a drop. Reluctance to load, scrabbling and panic are very often caused by experiences of bad driving. If all box or trailer drivers had to travel in the back just once without holding on with their hands, they would be much more considerate when driving horses!