This something we all hope we never have to experience
Let's hope this story will help to stop others going through a similar floating accident
Sometimes I feel the need to put pen to paper on a sober subject. This one is floating and before I go too far I have to let you know that everybody, human and equine, was fortunately fine after this terrible ordeal.
My good friend Jackie Sept who so often takes my young horses and shows them a bit about life in Perth was recently down in Albany with her float and horses.
Three weeks earlier she had taken her towing vehicle to have its towing hitch serviced where all was pronounced fine.
So one Sunday morning Jackie heads off to a competition and
fortunately was going very slowly, thanks to the appalling road we live
on, when the float started swaying badly. Somehow Jackie kept her ute
upright but the float landed on its side, with two horses in it - one
was Jackie’s, one was mine. Thankfully Jackie had put a spare bay
between the horses, which turned out to be a real blessing. My horse was
at the back and somehow she struggled to her feet and was able to be
lead out the back of the float with just some superficial stitching
Jackie’s horse meanwhile was upside down and stuck with her head out the front window. Full credit to the makers of the float that it was built well enough to allow the dividers to be pulled out, despite the situation and once the horse was sedated she was able to be dragged out. She was sore and bruised but otherwise basically ok.
So what had happened?
Even though the hitch had just been serviced the ‘R’ clip that holds the pin in, that holds the drawbar in place, had come out. We will never know if it rattled loose on our terrible roads or simply failed.
What we do know is each and every time we hook up a float from now on it will not be a cursory glance we give the the pin. It will be grabbed and rattled. We were so lucky that everyone walked away. So please before you load up those wonderful trusting creatures and take them out so we can all have fun please, please always check your float hitch.
And the most amazing bit of the whole story for me was when we asked my horse to go back on a truck to come home she just walked on. How amazing are horses?
July teleconference, horse trailer standards Canadian Standards Association. The CSA is interested in the possibility of establishing standards for horse trailers. As noted at the Animal Transportation Association Vancouver 2012 international conference on horse transport, the lack of standards in the manufacture of non-commercial horse trailers contributes to injury and death of horses and humans. Your USRider on-going study of over 800 known trailer incidents reveals poor quality materials including tires, wiring, braking performance, instability at highway speeds, poor welds, trailer skin so thin it can be punched through with a fist, shifting loads, mismatch between trailer and tow vehicle, tow vehicle and trailer separation, overloading, no mandatory recall on defective parts, and horses thrown or falling from the trailer and posing an additional road hazard. As well, few trailers meet the Five Freedoms endorsed by animal welfare interests: providing an environment conducive to normal behavior, rest, drinking and eating, and which minimizes the risk of injury, mental or physical distress, or disease. Currently, there are no standards in North America for manufacturing horse trailers. To the best of my knowledge, standards are also non-existent in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. With your help, the CSA will explore the level of interest among stakeholders for supporting a research effort into establishing standards for horse trailer design and structure. Part of the effort might include minimum braking performance, minimum wiring standards and protection of horse and human life during typical highway incidents such as occur at intersections, collisions, and roll-overs. These Standards would provide an informed basis for manufacturing, insurance, regulatory, animal welfare and public interests to compare trailer quality and engineering. They would level the playing field among manufacturers. No longer would a trailer dealer be able to tell the naive buyer that the reason the trailer top is so flimsy is because "It is better for horses to be thrown from a trailer in an accident." Should the project to develop a Standard proceed following the feasibility study, the Standard will not become enforceable until it is referenced in a contract, in legislation, by being adopted by insurance issuers or underwriters or by Transport Canada or a similar authority. Your participation is vital. Before the CSA can become involved with a feasibility study, it needs to determine in this conference call the level of support, both volunteer and monetary, from the stakeholders. If the feasibility study is approved and indicates that there is a need, the next step will be to set up a standards development project. The CSA is the project manager but only the expert technical committee decides on the content of the Standard. If further applied research is required the work may contracted to a qualified test facility. Those few trailer manufacturers who have already applied testing standards to their product could likely save the technical committee much time. But the committee would need to judge the validity of the tests. We look forward to consulting with you. This is followed by further details of the CSA's role and the equipment required for your participation in the teleconference. An agenda will be circulated to confirmed participants prior to the teleconference. Confirmed participants will also receive a biographical sketch of each of the participants prior to the teleconference.