It is not uncommon for a horse (well, any animal, us included) to get
something caught in the throat and need to cough it out. The problem
with a horse choking in a trailer is whether or not it can get it's head
down enough to clear the object. If you have a trailer with the built in
mangers (like a straight load 2-horse), then you COULD have a real
problem IF one happens to choke.
I nearly lost a mare because of this. When I stopped the rig, she was
bathed in sweat and shocky and very, very weak. (Only went 20 miles to
trail ride - that's how fast this can happen.) It was very difficult to
even get her out of the trailer but when we did, she put her head down
and started coughing - hard. And was okay in minutes. She had a
manger of nice grass hay - I was so kind. After that, as long as I had
that particular trailer, I quit using the trailer ties (unless the
horse's behavior required it) and now have a different trailer (without
mangers.) I honestly don't know if the trailer ties exacerbated the
problem or not.
I was astounded at the close call and was telling my farrier about it.
He works with a number of people who commercially haul horses. His
response? "You didn't KNOW that?!" He said it is far more common than
On long hauls, of course, it is nice to feed in the trailer to
particularly if your horse must perform when reaching the destination.
But consider the design of his surroundings - if you have a fixed manger
type trailer and feel it is important to offer feed, please check them
more often on the road.