Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Allison Price
Horse trailer safety is a serious issue. Many people make dangerous mistakes when trailering their horses. This is why we have compiled this list with our top 10 safety tips so that every “hitch up” goes smoothly.
Tip #1 – Use a properly equipped trailer and hitch.
Although it may sound like Horse Trailering 101 101, this is a common error! Many people will buy state-of the-art vehicles and assume they can tow a full-loaded trailer. On the sales lot, we’ve seen salesmen who are dishonest and trying to mislead customers. A trailer, hitch, or truck combination that is not properly matched can spell doom for the vehicle.
Make sure your hitch can handle the weight of the horse trailer. Double check that your trailer can be pulled by the tow vehicle. To safely tow your truck, you may need an add-on such as weight distribution arms (swaybars).
Tip #2 – Hang your Hay net high above the ground.
To keep your horse happy munching on the trip, you can pack a haynet to the limit. Remember that the net’s bottom will sag as it is empty.
A horse with a stuck foot is not happy. Binding nylon rope can cause serious damage to their delicate soft tissues. This tourniquet effect, which is similar to a poorly applied leg wrap can result in bowed tendon and permanent injury.
Tip #3 – Before you set out, make sure your trailer is in good condition.
Many trailers are kept outdoors, so they are often exposed to the elements. Your trailer can be damaged by rain, ice and the heat of the sun. Tire rubber can become stiffened and brittle, causing unexpected blowouts on the road. Even if the tires aren’t worn down, they should be replaced regularly. You should also check for rust, weak floorboards, faulty signals lights, sharp exposed surfaces, and nests of stinging insects. Our Smart Travel Checklist may interest you!
Tip #4 – Practice riding with your horse.
Even the best horse can turn sour when he is not able to travel for several seasons. It is a good habit to practice loading and unloading your horse before you go on a long trip. Before you take your horse on a long trip, allow him to adjust to the new trailer. Horses see trailers like ‘traps’ so it may take them some time to get used to a new trailer.
Tip #5 – Make sure your trailer isn’t too hot and that your horse is well hydrated.
Horse trailers made of aluminum with mill-finished roofs can get dangerously hot in the summer. Horses trapped in such situations are at risk of heat exhaustion and excessive sweating.
It is important to ensure your horse is well-hydrated during long rides. This article will show you how to spot signs of dehydration, and give you some tips on how to get your horse to drink more water when they are thirsty.
Tip #6 – Drive responsibly.
Your driving habits should not change when horses are behind you. To ensure a happy ride, you should be aware of horses and practice safe driving habits like slow deceleration, gradual turns and frequent stops. Find out more driving tips. Are you tired of driving? Equo! Click Book Now to book horse transport services
Tip #7 – Don’t allow your horse to hang out of a trailer window while you travel.
You can use the trailer to transport your horse’s head, tails or any other body part. The horse trailer is meant to protect your horse while he’s in the trailer. He is at greater risk if he has any part of his body hanging out. Flying road debris can cause eye injury and horses can be thrown from vehicles in severe accidents. Close the windows and do your horse a favor. You don’t want your horse to appear like a poor horse transport.
Tip #8 – Never leave a loaded horse alone with its doors and windows open.
It may seem easy to leave your horse behind when you arrive at an event. Make sure someone is there to watch the horses. There have been stories about horses trying to jump through windows at mangers in panic situations. You can do the math: Small windows…big horses
Tip #9 – Don’t saddle your horse prior to trailering
It’s easier to have your horse ready for you when you arrive at your destination. If your horse leans against the dividers, the stirrups can cause discomfort during travel. They may become trailer shy.
Tip #10 – When in doubt…ask!
You can ask your network for assistance if you have any questions about trailering. You may find a friend or trusted trainer who can help you train your horse to handle difficult situations.
Do you have any other safety tips for our readers that you would recommend? We are grateful to all who responded in the past with their suggestions.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!