Six Tips And Tricks For Safe Horse Trailering

Six Tips And Tricks For Safe Horse Trailering

 

Here at Trailers West, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks you can use to keep your horses safe while you’re on the road. If you take a few minutes to put safety first, you’ll arrive at your destination with less stress and happier horses!

1: Make sure your tow vehicle is rated and equipped to haul your load

Don’t hit the road without proper equipment! A low-rated tow hitch with a heavy trailer can lead to disaster on the road. Keep everyone safe by learning the tongue weight of your horse trailer and ensuring that your tow hitch and vehicle are capable of hauling your load.

Unsure if your tow hitch or vehicle is up to the job? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your question is in regards to towing or trailer design, send us a message at Trails West! We’ll be happy to help you.

2: Before you load up, inspect your trailer, tow hitch, and tow vehicle

Before you get behind the wheel, take a few moments to inspect your vehicles. The sun, rain, and snow can turn your trailer tire rubber brittle, which makes it vulnerable to blowouts on the road. Trailer tires should be changed every three to five years, even if they aren’t worn down.

Inspect the trailer itself for rust, weak floorboards, insect nests, damaged safety chains, and other hazards. Check to ensure the brake lights are working. In the case of mechanical failure, reflective materials can keep other drivers from rear-ending your trailer and potentially injuring your horses.

And don’t forget to take a look at your tow vehicle’s fluid levels, too, so that your truck is ready to handle the stress of hauling.

3: Distribute the load evenly

While loading your trailer with equipment, your horses, and other cargo, distribute the weight as evenly as possible. An unbalanced trailer is a tip hazard, or worse, creates negative tongue weight that could lift back end of your tow vehicle. Tether your horses and use dividers to keep them from shifting during transport.

4: Make your horses comfortable!

While trailering, do everything you can to secure your horse’s comfort. First, don’t saddle your horse for trailering. Some horses will lean against the trailer’s dividers, causing stirrups to rub against their body. Ouch! And as you drive, be alert for unusual shakes or sounds from the trailer that may indicate distress.

During summer months, the interior of a trailer can be sweltering. A horse trapped in a stifling trailer is in danger of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Pack jugs of water and keep your horse well-hydrated during long trips in the heat.

Finally, don’t let your horse hang its head out of a trailer window while you’re on the road. Your horse can be injured by flying debris such as rocks or broken glass. Or in the case of an accident, your horse could be ejected from the trailer. To stay safe, close the bars over the window.

5: Practice trailering with your horse . . . and without it!

After you purchase a new horse trailer, drive your trailer while it’s unloaded to get a feel for stopping, starting, turning, and backing. Stand in the back of the trailer and have a friend drive you around. Feeling the bumps from a horse’s point of view will give you a better understanding for how driving affects their balance.

To keep your horse from becoming trailer shy, practice loading, unloading, and traveling with it on a regular basis. If you’ve just purchased a new trailer, give your horse time to acclimate to the new rig, too. Horses avoid dark, enclosed spaces instinctually, so you may need to take your horse on a few smaller rides before attempting a longer trip.

6: Be prepared for any emergency

When traveling with your horse, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Pack spare jugs of water, basic tools, an equine first aid kit, and emergency contact numbers for large animal services or veterinarians along your way. Make sure your cell phone is charged, too, and bring a spare charger.

We hope these tips will get you saddled up for safe horse trailer driving for years to come!