A horse was killed after kicking out the floor of a trailer in which he was riding, falling backwards, and being dragged on a busy roadway near Fort Pierce, Florida. A second horse was injured in the incident.

Tammy Hayes Beville operator of her family’s Tours on Horses, said nine horses were travelling to a beach in a semi-truck-hauled trailer on April 5 when one horse kicked out the rear boards of the trailer’s newly installed floor. The horse fell backward onto the roadway and was dragged for roughly a quarter mile before the driver noticed that it had fallen.

“It was a freak accident,” Beville said. “The floor was new and, because we (use) a tractor trailer and are subject to more extensive safety rules, it had been inspected.”

A second horse sustained a leg injury injured when it stepped in the hole in the floor.

“He’s being treated by a veterinarian and will take four months to recuperate,” Beville said.

She said no one was charged in connection with the incident following an investigation by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Lucie County Fire District, and the Fort Pierce Police Department.

The incident took place as many owners are preparing to haul horses to springtime horse shows, trail rides, and other events. Before taking that first trip, Allen Financial Insurance Group’s Equestrian Group advises owners to conduct a trailer safety inspection, including ensuring that:

  • Floorboards, ramps, tailgates, and dividers are free of rot;
  • All latches, springs, and hinges are secure and in working order;
  • The hitch is lubricated and devoid of rush and missing parts;
  • Brakes are in working order; and
  • Tires are not worn and are inflated to the correct pressure.

For more tips and information on trailers and trailer safety, reviews the additional resources on TheHorse.com: