You already know how supplements can help support your horse this show season, learn what you can do to prep your trailer for safe and happy hauling.
The old adage “better safe than sorry” applies to countless aspects of horsemanship, but perhaps none more so than trailering. To help your horse stay safe, and yourself stay sane, keep your trailer well- stocked and organized, so that you’ll be ready for anything.
Have a Safe Trip
Before you hit the road, make sure your rig is ready to roll. Have your truck and trailer thoroughly serviced before the season starts, and be sure to keep up on maintenance. Each time you travel, hook up your rig and check that your coupler, safety chains and breakaway switch are in good shape, and that your lights, signals and brake systems are fully functioning. To be ready in the event of emergency, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, spare tire (for the truck and the trailer), cell phone and a fully-stocked first aid kit (details below). It’s also a great idea to keep a spare halter and lead rope for each horse in the trailer. We love the durable and economical Safety Halter (#12425, $25.95).
A Place for Everything
Stay stress-free on show day by making sure that you have everything you need, and more importantly, making sure you can find it! Your tack will be tidy, protected and unmistakably yours when you pack with personalized custom gear bags. Keep all your grooming gear at your fingertips, even ringside, with the roomy and portable Kensington Grooming Tote (#12313, $18.95). Save on space by letting your step stool do double duty. You can pack your show day essentials, like a braiding kit or leather cleaner, inside the rugged and durable Stand ‘n Store Step Stool (#13759, $45.95), and then use it as a mounting block.
Keep your horse happy, and busy, with a whole lot of hay. The SmartPak Slow Eater Hay Bag (#20201, $19.95) is durable and easy to fill. Your horse will also love Uncle Jimmy’s Hangin’ Balls (#14867, $23.95) in the trailer for a tasty treat on long hauls. Keep your horse hydrated the healthy way and avoid sharing germs. Bring a Flatback Bucket (#12025, $8.95) so your horse has his own water source.
If you’re going to be staying overnight, don’t forget to pack your SmartPaks-compact and custom-made, they’re perfectly suited to travel. To safeguard against the stress of regular travel and competition, consider adding a gastric and/or digestive support supplement to your horse’s SmartPak.
For the Truck and Trailer:
- Have a complete service performed before the season and regular maintenance checks throughout
- Check all fluid levels before each trip
- Check tires on truck and trailer (including a spare for each) for air pressure, overall condition and tightness of the lugs
- Check trailer floor (under the mats!) for signs of weakness or wear
- Hook up and check interior lights, exterior running lights, brake lights, turn signals, flashers and trailer brakes
- Check hitch, chains and emergency breakaway system for signs of damage or wear
- Make sure you have proof of current truck and trailer registration and insurance
- Check the entire trailer for bee/wasp nests before each trip
- Pack your truck with:
- Jack, tire iron, wheel chocks, emergency triangles/flares, flashlight with spare batteries, duct tape, WD‐40, jumper cables, tool kit, spare belts and hoses, tow chain, replacement fuses and portable air compressor
- Bring a muck bucket and pitchfork – no one likes to leave a mess!
- If you have a monitoring system hook it up and test it out before loading your horses
For the horses:
- Make sure you have proof of current papers for all horses (Coggins, health certificate, ID or brand card, registration, proof of vaccination, etc)
- Pack an extra halter, lead rope and trailer tie for each horse
- Bring water and buckets for each horse – can be used for drinking or cooling overheated horses
In case of emergency:
- Fire extinguisher
- Cell phone (and charger!)
- First aid kit
- Extra cash/credit card
- Emergency phone numbers for a doctor and a vet
- Knife for cutting ropes, etc.
For additional tips on trailering a horse over a long-distance, read Dr. Gray’s Ask the Vet article this topic in her post Trailering a Horse Long-Distance.