Check your trailer before you leave
- Remove and inspect all wheels and hubs or brake drums.
- Inspect suspension for wear.
- Check tightness of hanger bolt, shackle bolt and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values.
- Check brake linings, brake drums and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring.
- Check brake magnetic coil with an ohmmeter. The magnetic coil should check 3.2 ohms (+/- 0.3ohms). If shorted or out of tolerance, replace.
- Lubricate all brake moving parts, using a high temperature brake lubricant.
- Remove any rust from braking surface and armature surface of drums.
- Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace if necessary.
- Inspect and grease wheel bearings.
- Check all trailer tires (including the spare) for uneven wear, signs of dry rot, correct air pressure, overall wear and damage.
Be aware of your driving habits when pulling a trailer – braking, turning and acceleration. Your horse is completely at your mercy and cannot anticipate your next move. Imagine there is a cup of hot coffee on your floor board – make every attempt to keep that cup from spilling by staying slightly under the speed limit, doubling your follow distance, braking and accelerating gradually.
Studies show that each hour of hauling equates to an hour of walking for the horse. Stops for fueling and watering allow the horse to essentially ‘rest’ from the haul and are critical in long distance trips.
Use leg protection – even in short trips. Take into consideration the damage a horse could do to himself, or receive from a trailer buddy during a haul.
If your horse is nervous when hauling – try the following
- Bring an experienced “buddy” along for the ride
- Have your nervous horse ‘tag along’ on short rides to the vet, shows, etc. This will remind him that not every haul means work, pain or stress.
- Give him a shatterproof mirror so he can see himself and be his own ‘buddy’
Give your horse a snack for the ride. Soaked hay in a net is a great option to provide entertainment and also minimize dust in the trailer. Be sure all hay nets are hung high so that they cannot entangle the horse as they are emptied.
Keep the trailer ventilated, using screens to keep debris and bugs out of the trailer. Purchase a digital thermostat for the inside. This will help you determine how much ventilation your horses need.
Practice your hauling and backing techniques BEFORE the haul.
Load your trailer in the order you will need things. Do you have to set up stalls when you arrive at your destination? Then put the pitchfork, wheelbarrow and shavings in last.
Check the weather before hauling – this can change your necessities list dramatically. Are you traveling through a blizzard; then you might want to pack the heavy blankets.
Make a list! What better way to ensure you don’t miss a single thing? This proves to be even more helpful when you need to collect your belongings from your destination. Be sure to check out our complimentary Haul List app to customize your next list!
Always load the heaviest horse to the left. This applies when hauling a single horse also.
Check the pressure and condition of the tires on your vehicle. A dually can easily hide the condition of the inside tire, alternately the inside tire can support the outside tire and make it ‘appear’ as if it is full even when it is flat.
Complete the USRider Limited Power of Attorney for Animal Health Care Form (http://images.equinetwork.com/usrider/USRider-Limited-Power-Of-Attorney.pdf?) It’s always one of those things where it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. We never want to imagine that something serious could happen to us or our animals on our hauls, but the reality is, that if something did happen to you, the healthcare of your animals should be handled by someone you trust so you can focus on you.
Documentation – are you traveling across state lines or borders? What is required base on where you’re going or traveling through. If you’re traveling outside of the state, expect to have a physical and health certificate performed by your vet. No matter where you may be going, it’s always a good idea to bring proof of vaccines and a copy of your horse’s coggins. Put these items in a zip lock baggie or somewhere they cannot get wet, damaged or lost.