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tifflunn

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Has anyone converted a full size van to accomodate minis? Could you post pics if you have one. I am specifically looking for what you use for them to get in and out safely and how it is divided inside?

Thanks for Your input.


Tiffany
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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i am working on mine. the ramp is made out of that hmm not sure what it is called but that metal that looks like a screen with the diamond cut outs? it slips into the hitch and folds up against the van.

For dividers i am using 4 rail panels made out of PVC pipe and then making a frame for them to attach to ( to prevent the horses from coming forward) out of the same metal screen stuff.

It is in the process of being done and should be finished by the end of the month I will post pics when I am done.
 

tifflunn

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Lisa,

The ramp is it attaching inside or outside of the van? And are you planing on having sides on the ramp( I don't know if there needs to be)? Would love to see pictures. My work will be selling there full size van for a good price in the next couple of months and we are kicking around the thought of picking it up and converting it for our future mini hauler.
 

Jean_B

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I sold mine a long time ago so don't have any pictures.

I used an extra long conversion van - left the 4 "captain" chairs in it and took out the beds/benches etc. in the back.

I took it to the welding shop in town and had them build a steel mesh divider between the horses and me that was attached to the frame. They also built breast bars that I then covered with heavy pipe insulation so that if I had to hit the brakes hard, they didn't break their necks on the divider in front of them (NEVER haul a horse without something to keep them from landing in your lap in the event you have to clamp on the brakes).

The ramp was a heavy sheet of plywood that doubled as the divider. It slid into the van on a metal track attached to the floor and then was held up between the breast bars.

The down-side of hauling in a van that is divided in this manner...horses HATE hauling where they have to face forward and in fact they stress out quite a bit. There have been studies on the best way to haul horses. They much prefer to haul facing totally backward (much lower heart/respiration rates). A slant load or sideways load is also much better than straight forward. I had a yearling colt that totally flipped out when hauling straight forward in the van. I won't go into all the details of what I had to do to get him unwedged from under the breast bar, but he ended up facing backwards and rode like a champ.
 

tifflunn

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Jean_B said:
I sold mine a long time ago so don't have any pictures.
I used an extra long conversion van - left the 4 "captain" chairs in it and took out the beds/benches etc. in the back.

I took it to the welding shop in town and had them build a steel mesh divider between the horses and me that was attached to the frame.  They also built  breast bars that I then covered with heavy pipe insulation so that if I had to hit the brakes hard, they didn't break their necks on the divider in front of them (NEVER haul a horse without something to keep them from landing in your lap in the event you have to clamp on the brakes). 

The ramp was a heavy sheet of plywood that doubled as the divider.  It slid into the van on a metal track attached to the floor and then was held up between the breast bars.

The down-side of hauling in a van that is divided in this manner...horses HATE hauling where they have to face forward and in fact they stress out quite a bit.  There have been studies on the best way to haul horses.  They much prefer to haul facing totally backward (much lower heart/respiration rates).  A slant load or sideways load is also much better than straight forward.  I had a yearling colt that totally flipped out when hauling straight forward in the van.  I won't go into all the details of what I had to do to get him unwedged from under the breast bar, but he ended up facing backwards and rode like a champ.

462303[/snapback]

Thanks for the info- never thought about the padding-Good idea.

2 questions

1) Was it because they could see out your windsheild or they can actually feel being backwards?

2) How many did you fit comfortably in?

Thank You Tiffany
 

Bess Kelly

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As to the loading positions -- it may be the fact that they can see out the front, or it may be the way they have to balance in the "start & stop" surges. They can naturally feel better in the balancing act of side to side rather than front to back.

That said, notice that many horse trailers are built with the front to back positioning but, they can't see out of a windshield -- AND always a breast stop with plenty of head/neck room. I have a mini trailer that is like this, front to back, & 2 horse side by side. Never an issue with loading or riding. I have a 4 horse mini that is a slant load....no issues. In the past I had a four big-horse that was converted to minis--there were several stalls that had the minis with butts on one side and facing the other. There was a breast bar and their head/neck faced toward what was a walk area along one entire side.

Personally, I feel that if they have support on either side, with ample room and a breast plate to keep from throwing them forward and injuring head/neck, they relax and accept the ride. Front to back is the most uncontrollable for them but, with padded "stops" it works. My dividers go to the floor and are padded. They swing to allow load, then drop pin to hold the divider in place. Most are like that.

THINK about how YOU would feel riding in a standing position. Then make stall dividers that will allow them to have support in making turns........safety in the head/neck area to prevent throwing them into a wall in a stop situation......and I think you will be ok.

I ride in every trailer, myself!!! To test the ride and comfort. WOW -- EVERY driver who is towing needs to do this.
 
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Bdazzled

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Hi,

I know someone that has a super nice conversion that she turned totally into a mini horse hauler. THe ramp slide out from under the stalls, easy to use, and looked great. She actually had stalls for the horses. Christy Darmond! I am sure she wouldnt mind me telling you about it. And I would think that she could give ya some pointers on it. Her email address is [email protected]
 

Little Wee Horse Farm

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We used a GMC VanDura for years. We emptied the cargo area completely of air conditioner, chairs, table etc. Cargo area empty was 5x9!!!! Worked great. However, we didn't use dividers. Just trailer ties tied onto "I" rings that our mechanic installed for us. Also had him put on new running boards. The horses would step up into the van thru the sliding side door by walking up onto the running board & then into the trailer - 2 steps total. They did it with no problem. One piece of real advice tho: put something between you & the horses. Right behind the two front seat captain chairs, we stretched a cut-to-fit piece of chain link fencing at all four corners with doubled ended snaps onto four I rings. Before I had that, I once suddenly found a horse I was delivering in the front seat with me!!!
 
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Jean_B

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tifflunn said:
Thanks for the info- never thought about the padding-Good idea. 

2 questions

1)  Was it because they could see out your windsheild or they can actually feel being backwards?

2) How many did you fit comfortably in?

Thank You Tiffany

462320[/snapback]

Even if you put horses loose in a stock trailer - they will USUALLY ride backwards. It's a preference because less stressful. They will usually brace themselves with their butt. I could get 2 horses in there.
 

hidden jewel

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I have never seen a van converted to haul minis! Now that I think about it, it sounds like a really good and inexpensive idea!
 

tifflunn

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Hidden Jewel- I know we are seriously considering it because of cost effectiveness and we can easily transport our big dogs also.

Jean B- Thank you for the info- I will keep it in mind

Little Wee Horse farm-The horses riding in the front seat and the smell are what is debate the idea.
 

[email protected]

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We have a Ford Econoline van that was converted prior to our purchase that has sheet viynl on the floor, and panelling on the walls/ceiling with a metal grate type material separating the backseat from the cargo area.

We have lead ropes tied off from the back seat looped through the grate that we can tie of horses that get rambunctious, otherwise we usually haul them loose if their use to it.

We can haul 1-4 minis depending on their size.

The ramp is wood 2x4s & plywood - very sturdy, that we attached to the back, and store either in the back or behind the front seat.

If we could change anything I would get a different ramp that would slide inside under a raised floor - like a uhaul truck has.

The upside - we can monitor the horses continually, travel at a bit faster speed, park easier, etc, plus we can keep the AC on and know the horses aren't overheating in the trailer.

The down side if you don't like Eau de Manure - well a van wouldn't be the right choice for you!
 

shminifancier

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I know when I hauled mine in the Suburban that is in my avatar that mare would lay her head on my shoulder and look out the wiedshield...That was so neat,, the bond between animal and human.. And I would take her to shows as far away as 350 miles one way like that... Sure beat pulling a trailer....
 

susanne

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We plan eventually to convert a full-size van for horse transport, but for now we use our Ford Windstar with a safety barrier behind the front seats. We use a wheelchair ramp loaned to us by Shari of this forum -- it works great without being too heavy, unlike the wooden ramp we just made.

I love the fact that we can see how the horses are doing, we can control the temperature and ventilation, talk to them, and know that the softer ride has to be much better on their legs.

The downside of the minivan is that the center of gravity is higher than either a trailer or a cargo van and we won't take more than one at a time -- they would probably be fine, but I just won't do it unless there were an emergency.

We'd also like our future van to be beefy enough to pull a horse trailer so that we can haul a full-size horse when we get one.
 

susanne

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tifflunn,

My brothers act as if Keith and I have committed the ultimate sin by using a nice vehicle to haul our horses...even though their kids have probably done worse and more permanent damage to their cars...

My younger brother told Keith very solemnly, "You know that every time you put a horse in there, you're decreasing its value." Keith told him "No, the horse is still worth just as much after riding in the van."
 
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