“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Remember That Slippery Slope We Have Mentioned about 589 Times...

Well, Here It Is
and in true NAHSC fashion the damage inflicted by their cause to your lifestyle is all YOUR fault. Your fault for thinking you knew what you were doing and how to do it. Your fault because you chose that business in the first place. Your fault because….well just because…

Representative Kirk (IL), with Co Sponsors Rep. Cohen (TN) and Rep. Whitfield (KY) introduced a bill (H.R.305) to ban hauling horses in double deck trailers on January 8, 2009. Congressman Kirk said he was prompted to introduce this legislation by an accident in Wadsworth, Illinois in October, 2007 involving the overturning of a double deck cattle trailer carrying 59 Belgian draft horses. Eight horses died at the scene and ten were later euthanized. Currently, several states including New York and Pennsylvania have laws prohibiting the transport of horses in double deck trailers, additionally federal regulation prohibits hauling horses to slaughter plants in double deck trailers.

This information was taken from an article I ‘googled’ researching this bill. I assume the Belgians must have been yearlings. Fifty-nine one thousand pound saddle horses would be over -weight. 59 adult Belgian horses in a cattle pot??? I did not research the wreck and the senator said it was so, so I’m gonna accept it, okay???


The bill, titled the ‘Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2009', was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and passed out of that committee on July 29, 2010.

Partial text of the bill:

`(a) Prohibition- No person may transport, or cause to be transported, a horse from a place in a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States through or to a place in another State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. Complete information on the bill: http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:1:./temp/~c111XPp1GF::
Aimed at slaughter horse transport and using research gathered from same, the bill, if passed, will also apply to transport of all horses in all double deck trailers. Contractors, veterinarians involved in rodeo, and other interested parties are calling for opposition to this bill. The *NAHSC internet bully squad showed up to let everyone know this is never an acceptable way to haul horses. As always the comment sections of articles disagreeing with THE CAUSE, are a lesson in hypocrisy. You know, the peace, love, and harmony for all living things mantra stated using verbal abuse and personal insults. The cheap bastards can haul their stock right or go out of business. Never mind the contractors who have spent several hundred thousand dollars modifying trailers to keep the horses safe and comfortable. Never mind rodeo depends on the condition of the horses to stay in business. Never mind most proven rough stock animals are very valuable. Never mind the contractors have been hauling large groups of horses, long distances for many years SAFELY. The idea of actually researching how any of these contractors handle their horses or what the double deck rigs being used really look like inside or out was obviously not an option and never done.

This is a modified rig Flying U Rodeo Company uses. It is specifically designed to haul cattle in the top deck and horses on the lower one and in the front. Head height in the lower deck is 82”. That’s a skid over 6’ 8” or taller than the average 6’ 6” private stock or horse trailer going down the road to the average rescue.

Another custom built trailer. I would guess this photo was taken at the Merritt factory for promotional reason. Don’t these horses look upset, crowded, and mistreated?

Below are some interior photos of Korkow Rodeo’s double deck trailer modified to keep their horses safe and comfortable.
Wood shavings on the floor for bedding? How careless…

I know what my F-250 Super Duty and 7’x 16’ stock trailer cost. Care to estimate what one of these custom made big rigs run? So much for the ‘cheap bastard/greedy ass hat’ angle.

The factual side of this argument? ??

The only prior research studying transport of horses in double deck trailers was compiled at slaughter plants in the late 90s. The problems cited in this research as leading to injury are not applicable to rodeo horses and the methods used to handle them.

The contractors have obviously taken great care to insure the trailers are modified to be safe and comfortable for the horses. The photos and measurements given above are proof of that. The stock bios page at www.prorodeo.com has photos and statistical information about several top broncs the youngest foaled in 2000 the oldest 1993. I may be going out on limb but I am going to guess they have received fairly good care and hauling to remain competitive for that many years.

Rodeo horses are familiar with their hauling mates. They live together as well as travel together. The horse fights sighted as the main cause of slaughter horse transport injury in the research data are not an issue.

Loading and unloading, another leading cause of injury in the slaughter horse study is not a problem for rodeo horses. Not only have the contractors modified the ramps in the trailers to accommodate horses but the horses are taught to load and haul as youngsters. There is a youtube video link provided and much more information in this in depth review at http://prorodeo.com/community/pdfs/2010_double_deck_truck.pdf

I know if I were going to ask advice on how to haul horses I would certainly trust the knowledge and experience of Hank Franzen, Cotton Rosser, or Jim Korkow over that of The Friends of Barbaro crowd. Just my humble opinion but….

If transport safety is the real aim of this bill why is no mention made of any other form of livestock being transported in double deck trailers? I can think of two cattle pot accidents both less than 100 miles from me in which all the cattle died or were killed by law enforcement at the scene. Not one senator is pushing for safer legislation for them.

The slippery slope? If the equipment and knowledge of these long standing rodeo professionals is outlawed and condemned, how much longer until my stock trailer is outlawed? Featherlite did not design it specifically for horses. It is only 78” in height and who says I know how to load and haul horses safely in it?

By RH1


  1. geez those trailers are nicer then most stock horse trailers Ive seen people driving around here. Heck those things probably cost more then most peoples houses

  2. There are so many trailers that shouldn't be hauling horses or any type of livestock for that mater. Why not just re institute yearly trailer inspections? And come up with a more definitive description of the type of double decked trailer that can't be used for horses. The design and the way the trailers that are pictured in the blog are used makes a big difference. Yet another broad all encompassing law that will harm more than it will help. Obviously we can't all be trailer and equine experts so I suggest they consult with some people who are knowledgeable before pushing this further! or is this how the NAHSC plans to destroy rodeo as well?

  3. You know, I have to admit guilt here, too. On the surface, when you hear about a tragedy and horses being hauled, you always want to know we're doing our best. If you don't educate yourself, double deckers do sound like a death trap. I was one who just took the "facts" presented as truth. Of course, we know we can't always do that, as at times those facts come with an agenda. Accidents happen. We have to do our best to haul safely. These trailers are examples of those who strive to do just that. Thanks for posting the information.