Horse Trailer Safety Tips

March 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share

When we are traveling to horse shows with such precious cargo, we need to double check to make sure everything is in order before we hit the road.  Be sure to be alert and careful as you travel, and I even recommend installing the cameras in the trailer so you can keep an eye on your horses.  USRider released these 15 safety tips to ensure safer travel for you and your horses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(I wish I had this rig don’t you? ;) )

 

For your Safety

Based on the team’s research, USRider and the Drs. Tomas and Rebecca Gimenez offer 15 safety recommendations to those who travel with horses.

1. Drive carefully. With operator error factors, such as driving too fast, causing the majority of trailer accidents, it’s imperative for you to be very careful and remain attentive. Drive as though you have a cup of water on the floorboard of your vehicle, and stay slightly under the speed limit to make allowances for adverse driving conditions. Double the following distance recommended for passenger cars. Maintain that distance even when cars cut in front of you.

2. Hang up, and pay attention. Avoid talking on a cell phone while pulling a trailer. Transportation experts have determined that talking on a cell phone while driving proves to be just as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol.

Advertisement

3. Pull over safely. If your vehicle becomes disabled, continue driving, whenever possible, until you can pull over to a safe area. Do this even if you have a flat tire, and it means destroying a wheel. Wheels can be easily replaced. Stopping on the shoulder is extremely dangerous, particularly on an interstate highway, and can put you, your horse, and emergency responders at great risk. Pull over on the grass as much as possible, away from the white line.

4.Use your headlights. Drive with the headlights on at all times to increase your visibility.

An unbalanced load can cause a trailer to overturn in an accident. When loading your trailer, load the heaviest cargo on the left. If you’re loading only one horse, load him on the left side of the trailer. After loading, secure trailer doors and hatches.

For the past three years, Dr. Tomas Gimenez, professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Clemson University, and Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, an animal physiologist and a primary instructor in technical large-animal emergency rescue, have assisted USRider in gathering and analyzing data about horse-trailer accidents.

The Drs. Gimenez began collecting data through a survey in December 2003. The research team also culled data from incidents reported in newspapers and online postings. The data is being used to formulate recommendations for preventing accidents and enhancing equine safety.

Equestrians around the country were urged to help with the research. USRider posted a survey on its website, and asked all horse owners, trainers, emergency responders, veterinarians, and others who’d somehow been involved in horse-trailer incidents to participate in the survey by logging on and answering some pertinent questions.

“Through unique studies like this and other initiatives, we’re on a mission to increase the equine community’s Trailering IQ,” says Mark Cole, managing member for USRider. “You’re transporting precious cargo. You can never be overprepared or too safe.”

5. Use reflective material. Apply reflective material to the back of your trailer. If you lose trailer lighting or experience an electrical failure, this material will help other drivers see you as they approach.

6. Replace your tires. Replace your tow-vehicle and trailer tires every three to five years regardless of mileage. Make sure that tires are rated to support more than the gross weight of the trailer and its contents. Check the air pressure in all tires (tow vehicle, trailer, and spare) at least every 30 days. Purchase a high-quality air pressure gauge, and learn how to operate it.

7. Check your inside dually tires. If you pull your trailer with a dually truck, check the inside tires for wear. Since these tires are “hidden” behind the outside tires, they’re easy to neglect. Also check the inside tires’ air pressure. Even if an inside tire is completely flat, it’ll be supported by the outside tire, making it appear properly inflated.

8. Leave tire-changing to the pros. Even if you know how to change a tire, don’t do it by yourself if you have an on-the-road breakdown; call for professional help. Your life is worth the time waiting for help.

9. Maintain your vehicle and trailer. Perform regular maintenance on your tow vehicle and trailer. Have your trailer wiring inspected for uninsulated, loose, and/or exposed wires, and poor connections. This applies to old and new trailers alike. New trailers aren’t trouble-free; inspect them closely. Have your trailer axles serviced annually or every 6,000 miles, whichever comes first.

10. Use ICE. Make use of the ICE program; ICE stands for “in case of emergency.” This simple program is designed to help emergency responders identify victims and determine who needs to be notified. Make it easy for first responders to know who to contact for information on handling your horse: Program an entry into your cell phone called “ICE – Horse.” Key in the contact information of someone with the authority to make decisions about your horse’s care, should you become incapacitated.

11. Draw up a power-of-attorney document. In conjunction with the ICE program, initiate a power-of-attorney document with a trusted friend or relative. If you become incapacitated, this will provide for your horse’s emergency medical treatment. Also, prepare the corresponding Notice to Emergency Responders document. Keep copies of both documents in the glove box of your tow vehicle. (Both forms are available for download free from the USRider website, right).

12. Hitch up safely. Improper hitching is a common cause of trailer accidents. Use a hitch that’s the correct type, size, and rating to match the coupler. Make sure the hitch is properly installed onto your towing vehicle. Securely fasten the safety chains and breakaway switch actuating chain.

13. Balance your load. An unbalanced load can cause a trailer to overturn in an accident. When loading your trailer, load the heaviest cargo on the left. If you’re loading only one horse, load him on the left side of the trailer. After loading, secure trailer doors and hatches.

14. Use protective gear. To help ensure your horse’s safety, always apply shipping boots and a head bumper.

15. Carry a first-aid kit. Carry a current veterinar ian-approved first aid kit. Recommendations for such a kit are listed in the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website, below.

For additional safety tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area – created by Neva Kittrell Scheve and James Hamilton, DVM – on the USRider website at www.usrider.org. USRider provides roadside assistance and towing services, along with other travel-related benefits, to its members through the Equestrian Motor Plan. It includes standard features, such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance, and lock-out services, plus towing up to 100 miles, roadside repairs, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals, and more. For more information, call (800) 844-1409, or visit the website listed above.

*Special thanks to USRider!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VR on Instagram

It's Santa Adele!
Today we are offering a signed paperback copy of the brand new book by Leigh Hutton!  JUMP GIRL is set in the glamorous and thrilling scene of international show jumping and tells the gripping story of foster teenager, Ebony Scott Harris, and her struggle to prove the truth about her adoptive mother’s death, save her horses and jump for gold at the World Equestrian Games.

How do you enter? It's easy:
1) Like this post
2) Fill out our contest entry form - http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4472
3) Comment below why you want to win

#jumpgirlbook #vrgiveaway #horsebook
My gift pick from @enteratabrowbands Beaded Halters – Who ever said that beaded tack should be limited to browbands?  I love this new trend of beaded halters too!  This one is gorgeous and the halters feature beading on the noseband and cheek piece.  This type of halter would be gorgeous to show off your horse at a show!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a Memory Bracelet! Enter here:  http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4462 #vr12days
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Velvet Rider brought to me... a giveaway from @enteratabrowbands 
Enter to win a Memory Bracelet from Enter At A, LLC made from your horse's hair and in the color combo of your choice!  I have one of these and absolutely love it.  I wear it all the time, and you will too!  Enter At A, LLC truly does beautiful work! 
How do you enter? Fill out our contest entry form -  http://www.velvetrider.com/ #vr12days #equestriangift #equestrianstyle #equestrianholiday #horsehairjewelry #browbands
My gift pick from Draper Therapies: Saddle Pads - I have had my eye on the dressage pad for a while after learning about @drapertherapies through @ahorsebox and Celliant. 
The saddle pads are available in Dressage, Jumper, and All-Purpose.  Their pads are made to increase circulation and oxygenation in your horses back during exercise and is designed to not only make your horse comfortable by wicking away moisture from the body but to also provide therapeutic relief. And yes, it is made with Celliant.  Doesn't that pad sound amazing?  Every horse needs one. 
Enter our giveaway here http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4454 #vr12days #equestriangift #equestrianholiday #drapertherapies
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, Velvet Rider brought to me... a giveaway from @drapertherapies

Enter to win 2 pairs of Recovery Wraps from Draper Therapies!  These wraps offer a therapeutic bandage for horses to be used in conjunction with standing bandages. They can be used after surgery, injuries or for combating arthritic conditions.  The important part of these is the Celliant fiber. Celliant's oxygen studies were done independently by three separate doctors and all tests came to the same conclusion, that Celliant increases tissue oxygen levels which has been shown to increase performance, relieve pain and improve muscle recovery.  Who wouldn't want to help their horse in the best way possible?  I have a pair of these and they are really nice!  Anything from Draper Therapies is worth getting! http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4454 #vr12days #equestriangift #equestrianholiday #horsewear #drapertherapies
My Gift Picks from Noble Outfitters:  Belts – The new belts are amazing!  Made of full grain leather with equestrian detailing will make this your go-to belt. (From left to right) On the Bit Belt, Running Strong Belt, Double Buckle Belt, and Equus Charm Belt.  These would make an amazing gift!  Also, enter our giveaway here http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4446 #vr12days #equestrianstyle #equestriangift #equestrianholiday @nobleoutfitters
On the 10th Day of Christmas, Velvet Rider brought to me... a giveaway from @nobleoutfitters 
Enter to win a pair of their Balance Riding Tights in the size and color of your choice!  These awesome breeches feature a Euro Seat design, Toray ultrasuede® knee patches, secure stash pocket at front thigh, and Opti-Dry Technology for wicking moisture away.  They look really sharp too.  Available in black or elmwood.  These breeches are definitely worth trying!  Enter here http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4446 #vr12days #equestriangift #equestrianstyle #equestrianholiday #nobleoutfitters #vrgiveaway #breeches
My gift pick from Equestrianista Apparel: Fancy Quarter Zip – This puts all other riding quarter zips to shame!  The detailing and color choices of this one sets it apart from the rest.  From the ruching at the neck and shoulder to the metallic zipper to the moisture wicking, UV protecting fabric, this shirt is a must have for every equestrian!  Plus, get 15% off your purchase with code VR15! Enter the giveaway here http://www.velvetrider.com/?p=4441  @equestrianistaapparel #vr12days #equestriangift #equestrianista #equestrianstyle #equestrianholiday