HORSE TRAILER EXIT PLANS - Today’s drivers are distracted by cell phones, iPads, and GPS touch screens which has dramatically increased rear-end collisions. Horses enter and exit at the rear of most trailers making additional protection and exits a necessity, and may save your horses’ lives. Here is what you need to know:
- Rear ramps are a must for straight load trailers – they prevent horses from sliding under the trailer when backing out. However, the typical rear ramp, that may or may not have upper storm doors, will likely not be heavy enough to withstand a formidable impact or strong enough to prevent a horse from kicking the ramp down while out on the road.
- A trailer with two full height rear entry doors of equal width without a ramp is called a “step up.” Rear doors, preferably framed and lined with steel, provide a stronger barrier than the usual rear ramp configuration, but potential risks are involved for horses moving backward and stepping down from the trailer floor without a ramp. Wet grass, slippery blacktop, or anxiousness could cause the horse to slip underneath the trailer, causing serious injury. Some slant load trailers, depending on how the rear tack compartment is laid out, may have enough room for the horse to be turned around and walked out head first, reducing these risks.
- Be aware that aluminum is 1/3rd the strength of steel and crushes/rips when impacted. An aluminum ramp may be lightweight, making it easier to lift, but in a collision, steel framing will provide better protection.
- Side ramps cannot be added to manger style trailers. Side ramps can be added to slant load trailers, but the slant design is such that all horses in the trailer may not have access to it.
- The safest configuration is a lightweight, low angle assist ramp, added behind full height doors. It provides additional strength that is needed against impact, is easy to lift, and greatly reduces the potential risks that horses face when backing out.
- EquiSpirit's side ramps, which are ideally located beyond the chest bars on two horse straight load trailers, provide an easy, safe exit if the rear exit is disabled. It’s also ideal for injured or older horses that have trouble backing, and is a safer way to unload untrained or anxious horses that are more likely to prefer walking forward through an exit. Keep in mind that side ramp model trailers will usually add 1-2 feet in overall length to safely accommodate the ramp.
- Our 3 Horse Trailer, called "SafeLoad," allows each horse to access the side ramp for unloading if needed.
- In addition to a side ramp, which is usually located on the ditch side or passenger side of the trailer, we provide a walk-through access door on the roadside or driver’s side of the trailer at or near the horse’s heads. In an emergency, the full height of the door will allow horses to exit.
Quiz Question - Should a ramp be light enough to lift or strong enough to withstand an impact?
EquiSpirit’s first principle in design is the overall safety and welfare of your horses. That’s why all EquiSpirit 2 horse standard trailers are designed with large walk through doors that can be used as an emergency exit. Side ramps are also available on all models.
Tom's Trailer Talk "Quick Tips" are provided by EquiSpirit Trailer Co.
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