BUTT BAR HAZARD
We all take precautions to keep our horses safe on the road, but one scary and potentially harmful trailer accident can occur when the vehicle isn’t
in motion. It happens when an impatient or frightened horse rushes to back out of the trailer when the ramp has been lowered but the butt bar is still in
place. If he slips or lowers his hindquarters even slightly (which is likely if he’s pulling against a head tie), the horse can wind up wedged under the butt bar. Besides becoming panicked, a stuck horse can sustain severe soft-tissue injury and even fracture some of his spinous processes. Because the horse is jammed against it, the bar is under tremendous pressure, which makes releasing it difficult, if not impossible.
While it may seem like the easiest
way to prevent this would be to release the butt bar before lowering the ramp, this poses its own challenges: Releasing the bar requires you to reach awkwardly over the back of the trailer, and you’ll have to be ready for the horse to back out the moment the ramp is lowered.
Another option involves a bit of retrofitting but may ultimately be easier: Take your trailer to an experienced repair shop and ask them to weld a metal ring to the bottom of the divider and one at the same level on the opposite wall. You can then hang a chain stall guard from these rings to cross the back of the trailer. If a horse backs up before the butt bar is removed, he will feel the chains on his hind legs and instinctively stop and step forward.
INSURANCE: A chain stall guard can be used to discourage a horse from trying to back out when the ramp is down but the butt bar is still secured.