Blogs > Horse Sense

Marissa Raymo will discuss everything about horses, including horse health care tips, training tips, equestrian friendly trails, horse buying info and much more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Horse Trailering Safety Tips

Whether you are hauling your horses 1 mile down the road or on a 1,000 mile road trip, be sure to check out the trailering tips below before you travel to ensure a safe and stress-free ride. Now if only the Snohomish County driver had read these...
  • Inspect your trailer inside and out before each trip. Check tire pressure, hitch, floor boards, dividers, safety chains, lights, and latches. I read a story recently about a horse that was seriously injured by some tiny rivets that were sticking out from a tear in the trailer padding. 
  •  Make sure your trailer's hay rack/bag is full to keep your horse busy and distract from all of the outside stimuli. 
  • Check your mirrors frequently. You should be able to see if a latch has come undone or a lead rope has untied (this is where trailer ties come in handy). It also helps to keep an eye on other drivers. Non-horse people don't always know proper equestrian etiquette (proven by the people who repeatedly drive by at 50+ MPH with barely a horse width distance from trail riders). And on the other hand, they might be the first to see if something on your rig has gone wrong, so keep an eye out in case another driver is trying to flag you down.
  • On long trips, make regular stops to re-check your equipment and re-hydrate your horses. 
  • Consider using a leather or breakaway halter and shipping boots to protect your horses from injury. In the case of an emergency, a leather halter will probably break and may prevent the horse from being trapped or hung in the trailer.
  • Always leave extra stopping distance to keep your horses from being shifted unexpectedly.
  • Practice loading and unloading your horse a few times before tackling a long trailer ride. It is important to be sure that the horse is completely comfortable being inside of the trailer before you add movement and road noise to the mix. 
  • Make sure the trailer you are using is suited to the horses you're hauling. For example, you wouldn't want to haul a 17hh horse in a trailer with only a 6' high interior. Though you may be able to load the horse initially, the likelihood of the horse getting bumped and bruised throughout the ride is high. And one bad experience can lead to a lifetime of trailering issues. It's a whole lot easier to make a few extra safety preparations than it is to train the fear out of a horse that's had a bad experience.
Have any other horse trailering tips? 
Send me an e-mail or leave a comment and I'll add 'em to the list!


Cowboy Logic of the Day 
"When you get to where you're goin' the first thing
to do is take care of the horse you rode in on."

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