Trailering mishaps: let’s commiserate

Aside from Henry being a total moron in the trailer on Saturday, last week brought another interesting trailer-related event. A giant bird flew directly into my truck while I was hauling. Let me set the stage.

This monster didn’t even care enough to look up from his hay

It was late afternoon last Wednesday, and Henry and I were headed to our dressage lesson. It’s not very far, about 20 minutes door to door, and the route takes us down some kinda twisty farm roads but overall it’s an easy drive. There’s one stretch, only about a mile and half long, that has a couple of steep hills in addition to curves. The speed limit on that road is 45mph, and there I was, chugging up the steepest hill around 40mph.

As I came to the crest of the hill the road curved to the right, and at that moment I saw a giant hawk on the opposite shoulder, picking up something that looked quite dead. Another car was coming from the other direction, so the hawk hurriedly flew sideways to get across that lane before the car could get there. Clearly he had not spotted me yet, and in the process of getting out of the way of the other car, he flew directly into the grill of my truck. That bird was big enough to make a really loud THUNK, and I saw him tumble down onto the side of the road as we passed by. I think it’s pretty safe to say I killed the hawk.

Image result for omg wtf gif
Me, for the next 10 minutes

Of all the things I’ve hit in my life, I felt pretty bad about that hawk. Granted, there was nothing I could have done. Even if I’d slammed my brakes on and turned Henry onto his head, I still would have hit him. Not to mention… he’s a damn bird… go UP, you idiot. Or the opposite direction, into the woods. Why do you have to commit suicide on MY truck? Now I’m a hawk murderer.

Henry looked cute tho, and we had a good lesson, soooo RIP Mr. Hawk?

Luckily it was a clean thunk, no dent or feathers or blood. Still though, it was weird.

Out of all the things that happen pretty much every time I haul – some idiot speeding to get around me and then going slower than I was, or someone riding so close to my ass that I can’t even see their car, or someone hurrying to pass me and then slamming their brakes on and turning – this was a first. I wouldn’t mind if it was the last.

What kind of weird stuff has happened to you guys before while hauling? Ever smack right into a damn hawk?

35 thoughts on “Trailering mishaps: let’s commiserate

  1. Whoa, what was that hawk thinking? There was no way to avoid his path. I am glad there was no damage. Yes, I have encountered absolute morons on the road, sadly. You are right, the car will floor it to cut off the trailer – then slow down or turn- and don’t even look for a turn signal. One positive thing I look for – little smiling faces in the car windows. I love to see little children, gazing out the window at the horse trailer as their car speeds by – and I remember, how excited I would get when I saw a trailer (Well, I still do).

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  2. Not while hauling, but in college I hit a cardinal from behind, somehow. It got wedged in my grill with its wings spread out wide like some kind of grutesque finial. I drove at least an hour with it like that.

    Another time, I had a flock of turkeys FLY OVER my truck. I didn’t even know turkeys were able to fly that well. I almost wrecked out of sheer amazement. Lol

    Birds, man. Lucky yours hit the grill not the windshield, though!

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  3. Not while I was hauling, but in my VW Bug, I ran over a turkey….who was standing, like a moron, in the road. Couldn’t swerve left (cars), couldn’t swerve right (guard rail), couldn’t jam the brakes fast enough….suffice to say my son and I were both horrified.

    “Mom, I think you killed it!!!!”
    “Yes son, I’m positive I killed it.”

    *facepalm*

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  4. I hit a monster size black lab, like 90lb or bigger. He was a known car chaser but this day he running along side my truck and for some reason got ahead of me about 10ft and then froze right in front of my front passenger side tire. Needless to say I hit the dog with the front tire then the back tire and then the trailer. This was on a small country road with no room to swerve. I became the neighborhood hero for getting rid of the car chasing dog but it was horrible. I still remember the look on the dogs face when it realized it couldn’t get out of the way and I couldn’t slow down.

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  5. I suppose that’s where the term “bird brain” comes from? So sorry for that trauma though. I’d feel badly too. Not hauling, I was just driving my car, but I hit a bunny on the highway one night. I still feel terrible about it.
    I don’t haul all that much of late, but I did have one sort of odd thing happen awhile back. I was on the Mass pike heading to VT and as I came up a hill (going the speed limit, maybe just under) there was a cop, out of his car, half in my lane, pointing at people and pulling them over. I wasn’t sure if he meant me, so I slowed down and pointed at myself in confusion. Cop shook his head and pointed at the guy passing me, but he was still standing in my lane. It was very odd. I’ve never seen a cop pulling people over outside of his vehicle like that. At least not on a major highway.

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  6. A few weeks ago I flattened a squirrel and felt terrible about it. Not with a trailer though.

    The most dramatic trailering incident was on a Sunday morning, 2 TB’s in the trailer, going north on 820 on the west side of Ft Worth, a large and busy freeway. A trucker held position alongside me and was honking etc. to get my attention. He pointed to the rear. I had to look very carefully in the rear view mirror to see that the smoke from the trailer wheel bearings was streaming almost directly behind the trailer, due to the speed. The wheel bearings were grinding/burning out, and weren’t on fire but the tires shortly could have been. So we had to pull off and find someone to come get the horses, and a safe place to leave the trailer as no repair shops were open on Sunday morning. It all turned out ok in the end, with a big repair of course. In all the online articles with lists of things to maintain on a trailer, I’ve only found one that mentions the wheel bearings. But if it turns out that if trailer sits for months without use, and especially in a humid climate, the bearings can lose their lubrication and be a risk of fire. Maintenance/repair shops can check the bearings pretty easily. All’s well that ends, in this case. 🙂

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  7. I honestly can’t think of any super bizarre trailering mishaps, but I’ve had my share of driving ones. Once I hit a bird and it embedded in my grill, and I didn’t realize until my boss came in to tell me — she had tried to get it out (wearing rubber gloves haha) but was too squeamish, and I totally horrified her by plucking it out and throwing it into the woods with my bare hands (and then obviously washing my hands), haha.

    Once I also clipped a giant owl flying across the road as I was driving on a windy, hilly road — I sincerely hope it lived because it just kind of pinged off the top of my windshield.

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  8. My trailer mishap was more of a ‘shit this sucks’. A friend and I were convoying to an event where we pulled into a taco joint that we THOUGHT was a drive thru … yeah, nope. So now we have two trucks pulling horse trailers (and mine is a LQ!) trying to back up and turn around in a limited space parking lot with randomly parked cars. Oh lordy. We must have looked like rank amateurs! Pull forward 2 inches. Turn wheel. Reverse 2 inches. Turn wheel. And then repeat like a thousand times! Our saving grace was a Dairy Queen next door so we ate ice cream as we snail turned around and said screw the tacos!

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  9. I once accidentally left my phone on the bumper of my truck , and then ran said phone over with my trailer when it fell off the bumper. The Otterbox it was in got a little crushed, but the phone itself was fine – screen wasn’t even cracked.

    Otterbox for the win!

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  10. I had a really scary incident during my second ever time driving my truck and trailer. I was making the 3 hour trip home from my parent’s place with my leased horse who was already injured (she had bashed her head on the top of the trailer while trying to load at a show, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). I was driving along a fairly busy interstate near Lake of the Ozarks in the right lane, when a semi loaded with large logs passed me on the left. Just as he got in front of me, one of his rear tires blew out, and he started swerving across the road. The car in front of me threw on the brakes, and I was desperately looking for a place to go to avoid running into the back of the guy in front of me and not hit any of the tire debris that was flung across the road. Luckily I had given myself enough space to be able to brake and pull over slightly to the shoulder, while the semi driver maneuvered himself over to the right shoulder across two lanes of traffic without flipping or hitting anyone else. We were able to continue on without any issues or accidents, but it was definitely a terrifying experience for a new horse rig driver!

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  11. Not with a horse trailer, but driving the tractor attached to the 12 ft manure spreader I have: run into the wall with the front bucket, gouging a decent scratch; run over a pitchfork, which bent to form an interesting piece of modern art but somehow didn’t actually break; and caught a wheelbarrow with the back wheel of the spreader, completely crushing it into a cube. 😑

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  12. What a great post! Slash, that poor silly hawk!

    When I was 17 I was hauling back to my place after trail riding with my eventer friends one town over. I was already in trouble with my mom because I was supposed to be back before dark and… I wasn’t. Driving down the last “major road” on the way to my house the truck kinda stopped going. I realized I was out of gas, but never fear, our truck back then had TWO tanks! Switched to the other tank and… nada. Empty. Had to pull over on the side of a busy road and call my dad to bring me gas. #mybad #definitelygrounded #blondehairdontcare

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  13. Not hauling but I once hit an owl. That was pretty sad.

    Hauling, my dad had a deer jump in between the truck and trailer. My horse trailer has a dent from that one.

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  14. I’ve never hit anything, but I did have my escape door blow open while hauling on the highway in the mountains. I had to pull off into the breakdown lane in a REALLY not great place, run out, and close the door. It had a glitchy catch and did not lock. Thankfully, Tristan did not care and the highway was empty so I had no problems getting out of the breakdown lane and back on, but it was quite an adrenaline rush.

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  15. I had a tractor trailer driver probably save my life and my horses on a highway–I was in the right hand lane and in front of me a car had a blowout and slowed up unexpectedly–my first instinct was to get over to left lane but there was a huge semi there! He literally saw what was happening–slowed up and was frantically waving for me to cut him off and get in front or him!! Ill never forget that!! Save me having to slam on my breaks!! Not all truck drivers are evil!!

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  16. No hitting a hawk but I went with a friend to pick up her new horse and she ran out of gas on the highway! She did pull over but no one bothered to move over to the far lane as they passed so her truck and trailer would shake like crazy! Thank God her new horse was a saint. He was not bothered at all. Unbelievably, about a year later I went with her to go pick up one of her horses from Michigan State University and she ran out of gas again! This time we were able to get off the highway but she will NEVER live it down!

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  17. About kids loving to see a horse trailer: I hauled my Miniature Horse to a show in a Colt – smaller than a regular mini van, therefore a mini-mini van, and with its cargo, a mini-mini-mini van! ;O) The horse was a grullo, so it was not so surprising that other drivers, keeping their eyes on the road as they should, did not seem to notice him in spite of the vehicle’s large windows. But every kid who went by did see him, and had a pretty nifty story to tell their pals the next day. (I had prepped the Colt with a tarpaulin, heavy duty screen between the cargo area and front seats, and plenty of shavings. Minis do cute little poops, so I figured we’d be fine. BUT – *nervous* Minis produce not-so-cute little *cow flops*! I spent the next day at the Herculean task of cleansing the Augean mini van, lol.)

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  18. I hit a huge hawk one time too and felt terrible. he was grazing on something in the middle of the road, and I am thinking, “fly bird, fly!” But he didn’t. he kept picking at what ever carrion was dead in the road. i drove over him, but as soon as my truck cleared him, he shot straight up into the overhead portion of my gooseneck trailer. Like you, I heard a loud whammo and saw feathers fly. Darn bird!

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  19. I wasn’t hauling, but the SO and I were driving home from Seattle, and it was the final stretch after 14+ hours on the road. And I may have hit Hedwig. I can not completely confirm this because I was pretty tired by that point but there was something big and white with wings of sorts. I tried to slam on the brakes but then realized it was gonna happen no matter what. Kept driving. RIP Hedwig. 😥

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  20. I have hit a hawk before, luckily not while hauling. They were trying to pick up something dead on the side of the interstate and it must’ve been heavier than they’d planned, because they were moving up and over, but not UP fast enough by the time they got into my lane. My first thought was foolishly “Oh cool, that hawk is going to get close and I’m going to get to see what it picked up!” Followed quickly by “Ohhhh %^#*!” as it smashed the hell out of my windshield and barrel rolled over the cab of my truck.

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  21. I had a similar thing – but a cockatoo and it didn’t fly into my car from the ground or the side it just seemed to… drop?… onto my windscreen and THUNKED in the top right corner.

    I had no idea what happened until I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the cloud of feathers….

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  22. Driving to Las Vegas last summer, we were some place in the middle of Northwest Nowhere Texas when a damn vulture flew up off the road and right into the front of my truck. Unfortunately, he hit high and hard enough to be obliterated, and most of what used to be him landed on my windshield. So we had to drive looking out the window (and hoping nothing came off the windshield to hit us in the face) until we could find a gas station with a water hose. By that time, the dead bird had kinda cooked itself on the hot truck, and getting it cleaned off was no easy feat. Once we got it cleaned up and could inspect the damage, found out that the grill was cracked, but that was all. We continued on sans bird gore, and the rest of the trip passed by uneventfully. It sure had a helluva start though!

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  23. I once hit a duck… With my AERIAL. Just about split the damn thing in two when it flew directly into it. Literally three inches either way and he’d have been fine. And one close miss with a wedge tailed eagle (they have a 5 foot wingspan and talons that will crush your hand) when he swerved, failed to get height and got within a foot of the truck roof.. I was hunkered down over the wheel waiting for the CRASH.

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  24. My scariest trailer incident happened on the way home from FL to VA. I looked in my side view mirror in preparation to change lanes and saw a LEG sticking out of the horse trailer. I was driving 5 horses and a golfcart in a polo/stock trailer and one of the polo ponies has somehow gotten her hind leg stuck through an opening high on the side of the trailer. It was hands down one of the most traumatic and stressful horse related incident I’ve experienced. We were on 95 in NC (a BUSY stretch of 95). I was able to pull over and THANK GOD my dad was with me. After about 10 min, we managed to get the leg back in the trailer. It was cut to the bone right below the hock and she wouldn’t put weight on it, so I thought for sure that it was a fracture. We were close to NC state vet hospital, so I drove as carefully as I could and they got her of the trailer and took some x rays. Amazingly, she was fracture free. We left her there for a week and they took care of the wound. She healed up perfectly and is totally sound! I got a trailer eyes camera after THAT incident!

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  25. Oh Lord. The whole truck trying to blow up while parked on a steep incline with no emergency brake and us starting to go backwards down the mountain was fun. Also, same said truck got stuck in second gear and only second gear on the way home from Spokane. And the same damn truck’s brakes gave out coming off the freeway downhill into Kennewick at the stoplight (bizzare setup, the freeway just kind of goes straight into the town and turns into a regular road thing). We finally got them to get rid of the stupid truck.

    There was also the incident where they took a wrong turn and ended up in a cul de sac and almost went through a guy’s house because that same damn truck couldn’t seem to hold the living quarters when we were in California. Also while in California, a lady mounted on her horse ran into our trailer and bent it. And there was the time there was a tractor on the back of this semi and it was rocking back and forth so much we thought it was going to roll off, so we were afraid to pass it. And another time Blake was trying to back our truck and trailer and accidentally ran over his mom’s little dog… That one was a little horrifying.

    Oh, and same friends with the living quarters trailer? The door swung open in the front and their Bassett Hound happily stuck his head out the door for a couple of miles until they pulled into a gas station and a friend ran and shut it. No one told her about that until a year or two later.

    Good times.

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  26. I’m kind of excited to have a deer challenge my truck with her giant grill and all, but unfortunately she’s so noisy (natural due to stock exhaust) that all of Snow White’s creatures flee from me as I head down the road. One day I’ll slaughter something I’m sure though because I refuse to throw my horses for a common critter.

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  27. My worst incident involved breaking down on the highway with my trailer in 95* weather… I’d had my truck serviced two days before, and the dumbasses at the shop didn’t lock the fuel filter completely into place. I knew something was wrong when I heard this loud pop and the truck dropped to ~45 mph and wouldn’t go any faster. Of course I was in BFE Kentucky on a Saturday morning and nothing was open. Siggy then proceeded to overheat while I was trying to find a place to fix it, started to colic, and that’s the story of how he had his first surgery. I still blame the maintenance people.

    My other incident was scary at the time, but pretty funny in retrospect. Siggy can be antsy on the trailer, and we were heading to a show in TN about 3-4 hours from home. I was driving down the interstate and people started to honk and wave at me… looked back in my side mirrors and saw that the escape door on Siggy’s side was flying in the wind!! So I pulled over as fast as I could, ran back there and closed it. Dumb horse had chewed the latch and broke it during the drive

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  28. I did have two separate incidences where a tire blew on the trailer – once when I was hauling my two yearling mustangs to the very first EMM in Ft. Worth, and then the second time was bringing my mare home from a two -day stay at Retama for an impaction colic. The first time I needed help, didn’t have the right tool to get the spare off of the bracket and fortunately some kind strangers stopped and let me use their giant wrench. I went and bought my own the next day. The second time my husband was with me and we had everything we needed, we were just on the side of I-35 and four lanes of traffic – on a curve. I had pulled as far off the freeway as I could get, but it was still pretty hairy, I stood behind the trailer next to the freeway waving at folks to get their attention and let them know we were there, while hubby channeled his inner NASCAR track crew and changed the flat in record time. The next day the trailer got five new tires.

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  29. I hit a raccoon the size of a pot bellied pig once. I have never seen a larger one, and he jumped in front of the car from the weeds. I was only going about 30 mph, and the impact was enough to CRACK THE RADIATOR. Dang suicidal wildlife.

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  30. Ugh glad you and Henny are safe! I had the unfortunate experience of hitting a huge vulture. Not while trailering thank god. I was just driving on a backroad Ocala road going to the horse show, and there was a group of vultures preying on whatever had died in the middle of the road. A semi came at the same time in the opposite direction, so I tried scaring them by beeping my horn to no avail. I hit the stupidest one, that obviously didn’t get out of the way. It was a loud thud, rolled under my car, and to my relief, the creature flew away. I still cried I was so shocked.

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  31. My trailer story involves a parked trailer and an impatient horse. My old janky trailer had a chain butt bar and my squirrelly welsh cob decided it was time for him to exit the trailer, like.. NOW. He managed to get his butt under the chain and at lightening speed exited the trailer – completely skinning himself up his spine. I was mortified, but he just went about his business like no big deal (I’m pretty sure this was to preserve whatever pride he had left). We’ve worked on how to politely exit a trailer since then.

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