The equine track at Animal Transportation Conference, held March 18-21, welcomed Odessa Holmes from Equi Balance in New Zealand. Holmes provided a provocative presentation that started out with this strong statement:

“Too many horses needlessly suffer injuries, stress, and worse in ground transport.”

That set heads in the room to nodding in agreement. Remember that horse trailers/floats were originally adapted from delivery wagons that carried dead weight of produce and goods, and not for live carriage that’s standing on legs that are about a meter off the ground!

Holmes went on to boldly state that she considers conventional trailers inhumane for transporting horses, and then reminded us that science has shown (and most seasoned horse people know) that in conventional transport of horses (especially forward-facing and slant-loading trailers) our horses are trying to show us how uncomfortable they are from not standing balanced in a natural manner. All we have to do is look inside our trailers at the scramble marks.

Holmes encouraged all of us to go home and look inside our trailers at the walls, where we will find scrapes from the desperate attempts of the horses to balance impossible situations. She also showed videos of horses in trailers of several types of transport conditions that demonstrated high head carriage (attempting to use their head and necks to balance) as they simultaneously attempted to transfer their weight onto their hindquarters and spread their hind legs to alter their center of gravity during acceleration.

She also noted that, since trailer manufactu