Horse Trailering Guide

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Horse trailering, traveling safely, hauling horses.

To learn more about trailering, read:

Trailering Your Horse
 

"Trailering Your Horse,
A Photographic Guide to Safe Training and Traveling
"

by Cherry Hill © 2002
www.horsekeeping.com

When you travel with your horse, the number one priority is that both of you arrive safely. For peace of mind, develop safe trailering habits.

1. Prepare and plan before every trip

2. Use practical, effective horse care procedures en route

3. Follow through with post-travel care for the trailer so it is ready for the next trip


Plan and Prepare Before Every Trip
by Cherry Hill © 2002
www.horsekeeping.com

Use this handy guide to help you make your own custom checklists so you will be organized for every trailer trip.

Truck checklist

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure your truck is of the adequate weight, length and towing capacity to safely pull your trailer!

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Have your truck regularly serviced and keep a service log in your glove box.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Fill all tanks with gas and check oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential, radiator coolant and windshield washer fluid.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure to have a good spare tire.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Locate the jack and know how to use it.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure you have the following Vehicle Emergency Equipment in your truck:

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers A star‑shaped lug wrench to give you increased leverage for tough nuts

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Can of WD 40 to loosen tight lugs

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Cloth to lay on

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Gloves for tire changing

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Tire chains

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Sportsman's lantern or flashlights with spare batteries

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Flares and triangle reflectors

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Jumper cables

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Fuses and bulbs

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Water for radiator (or for horses)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers 8" x 8" board to put under jack in soft soil

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Wheel chocks to block tires while jacking

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Fire extinguisher (be sure it is charged)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Trailer hitch lock in case you have to leave your trailer

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers In addition, carry these Specialized Emergency Items with you:

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Cellular phone and emergency numbers for help along the way

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers First Aid Kit with supplies for horses and humans

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Extra halter and lead rope (for each horse) carried in truck

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers A rubber hoof boot that can be applied if horse steps off a shoe

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Hot weather breakdown supplies (e.g. water, chemical ice pack, insect repellent, electrolytes)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Cold weather breakdown supplies (e.g. horse blanket, sleeping bag, chemical heat pack)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Snacks that have long shelf life (e.g. Power Bars')

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers In your truck's General Tool Kit, be sure you have a:

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Crowbar

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Hammer

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Screwdriver

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Pliers

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Set of wrenches

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Duct tape

Trailer Checklist

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure you have a good spare tire.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Oil any hinges, latches or other moving parts that do not function freely.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check the inside of the trailer for such things as hornet or mouse nests.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check the hitch for cracks, rust or loose parts. Check safety chains.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Add fresh bedding (sawdust) if desired.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Pack a water bucket so horses can drink en route.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Pack fork, broom and muck bucket and other necessary clean‑up tools.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Take along hay nets or bags to use en route and/or upon arrival.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Open the overhead vents and if the weather is warm, open all of the windows as well.

The Truck and Trailer

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check the tire pressure on all vehicle tires including spares.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check to see that the wheel lug nuts are tight.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check running lights, turn signals, brake lights and emergency flashers.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Adjust electric trailer brakes.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure the hitch cup is securely seated over the ball and the locking mechanism is engaged.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers If you have a gooseneck, make sure the area around the hitch remains clear so the hitch, chains and cables can operate freely and do not get hung up.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers When the trailer is attached to the truck, be sure the trailer is level. If it is not, adjust the level of the truck's receiver or gooseneck hitch.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check trailer breakaway mechanism and be sure its battery is fully charged.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Put trailer registration in the towing vehicle along with the truck registration.

The Horse

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Prior to traveling, any horse should be in good health and be current on all necessary vaccinations and deworming.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Be sure the horse has had proper trailer training so that he will load calmly and without hesitation or gimmicks.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Outfit your horse with:

  • Leg Wraps
  • Tail Wrap
  • Fly mask to keep pests and debris from harming a horse's eyes
  • Traveling sheet or blanket (optional).

 

Health Papers

Depending on the states you will be traveling through and the health requirements at your destination, you will need some or all of the following:

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers A recent health certificate (usually within 30 days of departure)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Proof of vaccination

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Recent Negative Coggins Test for Equine Infectious Anemia (usually within 6 or 12 months depending on the state)

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Permanent ID Card or Brand Card Xerox of horse's registration papers

 

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers TAIL WRAP CAUTION horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers

Use light to moderate, even tension as you wrap the tail. Non‑slip rubberized tail wraps really stay put but it is easy to apply them too tightly. If a tail wrap is too tight or left on too long, it can cut off the circulation of the dock and the tail hairs could fall out.

 


En Route
by Cherry Hill © 2002
www.horsekeeping.com

Always allow yourself more traveling time than it seems is necessary. Don't use car‑driving times to estimate how long it will take you to get somewhere. Know your route ahead of time. Pack a detailed map and locate rest stops and places where you can get help along the way. If you don't belong to a 24‑hour roadside assist program, consider it if you do a lot of traveling.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Make all acceleration and deceleration gradual

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Take curves at moderate speed

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Use turn signals well in advance

 

Pit Stop!

Shortly after you leave, stop for a trailer check. After the first check, plan to stop at least every 2 hours for at least 15 minutes per stop. Give yourself a good stretch as you walk around the rig and check on your horse.

Rig Check

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Look at tires. Know what looks normal. If one looks low, check the tire pressure.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Feel tires and wheels. Know what is normal heat and how much heat means brake problems.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check the hitch, chains and breakaway cable.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check all door latches.

Horse Check

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers If horse is wearing a sheet or blanket, slip your hand under it. If the horse is wet, he is too hot or has broken into a nervous sweat. Depending on the situation, you might change the blanket, unload the horse, or put a cooler on the horse to help him dry gradually. Check and adjust vents.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Perform a pinch test to evaluate level of dehydration. Know what is normal for your horse.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Offer the horse water with electrolytes.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers If you suspect a problem, take the horse's temperature, pulse and respiration and capillary refill time. Know what is normal for the horse.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Clean manure from the back of the trailer.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check leg wraps and tail wraps.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Keep your horse on his regular feeding schedule.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers In general, clean grass hay is the safest traveling ration but feed your horse the type of hay he is accustomed to.

If you are going to travel over 400 miles or 8 hours, consider stopping for the night or at least unloading the horse for an hour of exercise or turnout.

If a horse is not urinating regularly on a long trip, you can encourage him to urinate en route by bedding the trailer stall deeply with sawdust. Be sure to remove urine soaked bedding to prevent irritation to the horse's respiratory tract from ammonia fumes. Some horses that are reluctant to urinate on board will readily urinate when unloaded along a grassy roadside or in a turnout pen.

 


POST‑ TRAVEL
FOLLOW‑UP TRAILER MAINTENANCE

by Cherry Hill © 2002
www.horsekeeping.com

After Every Trip

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Sweep out the trailer stalls.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Remove mats so the floor can dry out.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check floor for rotting, splintering, shrinking or warping. Repair immediately.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailersRemove hay and grain from manger or feeders and sweep or vacuum clean.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Wash exterior and hose out trailer as needed.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Clean and organize tack room.

Semi‑Annually or Annually

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Wax twice per year.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Acid bath aluminum trailers.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Grease wheel bearings annually and replace seals.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Remove wheels and blow dust out of electric brakes.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check brake pads for wear and replace as needed.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Rotate trailer tires to equalize wear.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Grease springs and shackles annually and check bushings.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers Check shocks and replace when necessary.


SAFE TRAILERING TIPS
by Cherry Hill © 2002
www.horsekeeping.com

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailersTIRE PRESSURE Tire pressure specifications are listed on the sidewall of your tires and will likely be different for your truck and trailer tires. For each type of tire you run, write the correct tire pressure on a 3 x 5 card and keep it in your glove box along with a tire gauge.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers ADJUSTING ELECTRIC TRAILER BRAKES With the trailer empty, drive on a gravel driveway or road. Stop the rig using only the manual controller for the electric brakes. Refer to your brake controller's instruction manual to adjust the brakes so the stop occurs without a lurch or skid.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers PROTECTION Properly applied leg wraps or shipping boots are the best way to prevent serious injury to the coronary band, bulbs of the heels, knees and hocks. In order to be effective, the thick padding should extend at least to the midpoint of the hoof and should cover the knees and hocks.

Be sure your horse is used to shipping boots, a tail wrap, a fly mask, a head bumper and a traveling sheet before you load him in the trailer. You want to protect him with these items, not add more stress or complications to his loading and traveling.

horse trailering, traveling with horses, hauling horses, horse trailers DEHYDRATION PREVENTION The most common cause of dehydration during travel is a horse going "off water." Horses detect differences in the smell and taste of water and will sometimes refuse to drink water away from home. Carry as much home water as you can such as in a tack room water caddy. If you do not have a way to carry home water or if your home water supply runs out, you can flavor the new water with a flavored electrolyte powder. Be sure to accustom the horse to the electrolyte powder in his water at home for several days before the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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