Newsletters and Tips

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This Month's Horse Tip: Safe Hauling Tips

Horse trailerThis may seem like a long list......but it helps to be reminded of those things that we don't think about on a daily basis. 

Happy Trails!

30 Tips for Trailering Your Horse from     


1. Even if you don’t own a horse trailer, your horse needs to know how to load easily in case of an emergency.

2. If possible, carry two spare tires for your horse trailer.

3. ST (special trailer) tires, not passenger car or light truck tires, should be used. An ST tire has about 10 percent more load capacity than an equivalent LT tire and nearly 40 percent more than a P tire when each is filled to its maximum PSI rating.

4. Check to ensure that your ball hitch is the right size for your trailer.

5. If you feed hay in transit, make sure it’s not dusty.

6. If it’s safe to do so, leave your horse untied during transit so that he can lower his head, which studies have shown is healthier for his respiratory system.

7. Have a qualified mechanic service your trailer at least once a year—checking lights, brakes, suspension and floor.

8. The wheel bearings will also need servicing every 12,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.

9. Give your trailer a thorough once-over the day before a trip or show. Pay close attention to your tire inflation and sidewall wear.

10. Before every trip, check truck tire pressure, along with the oil and fluids.

11. Always outfit your horse in shipping boots before loading up. A head bumper is also advised.

12. Double check that your hitch, brakes and lights are connected correctly. Cross your safety chains for extra security.

13. Chock your wheels whenever your trailer is parked.

14. Once your horse is loaded, physically handle each latch to ensure that all doors are secure before you drive off.

15. On the open road, allow plenty of distance between you and the cars in front of you, and remember that it takes longer to stop when towing a trailer.

16. It’s not advisable to unload your horses on the side of a road.

17. Never unhitch your trailer with your horses still in it.

18. Carry a trailer jack.

19. If you get a flat tire, try to drive slowly to the nearest service station when it’s safe to do so.

20. Research roadside assistance programs to make sure your rig and horses will be taken care of in the event of a breakdown. (USRider is one plan designed specifically for equestrian motorists.)

21. Just because your tow vehicle can pull your trailer doesn’t mean it should: Check its ratings to ensure it can safely handle  the task.

22. Carry an equine first-aid kit in your trailer.

23. Other handy items to have in case of an emergency are extra halters and lead ropes, a supply of water for your horse and extra hay/feed.

24. If you have trouble hitching solo, use one of the many handy devices that help line up ball to hitch.

25. Only haul the number of horses your trailer is designed to handle.

26. Make sure drop down windows are screened so that your horse can’t get his head out, and road debris can’t get in.

27. If you’re traveling a long distance, stop every four hours to give your equine road warrior a break; let him drop his head to the ground if he’s been tied; offer plenty of fresh water and hay.

28. If you’re hauling your horse by himself in a two-horse straight-load trailer, always put him on the left side. It helps balance the trailer on crowned roads (roads that slope to the shoulder).

29. Always clean out your trailer after each use to increase its life span and keep your horse’s environment sanitary.

30. Check ramp springs for rust and wear. A spring that breaks as a horse puts his weight on it is very dangerous.


 Horse "Choke" - Previous Tip

sample imageHorse choke occurs in horses when the esophagus is blocked, usually by food material. The horse can breathe but he's unable to swallow. Your horse may become severely dehydrated, complicating the problem. Severe cases can lead to aspiration of fluid into the lungs which can lead to pneumonia!

This should be treated as an emergency and you should contact a vet immediately!

Symptoms of Horse Choke

  • may cough excessively
  • have a heavy nasal discharge that contains bits of feed or excessive/foamy saliva
  • has difficulty swallowing
  • tries to drink but water comes back through mouth or nose
  • tries to retch or dislodge the obstruction
  • may continuously stretch or extend the neck


Prevention of Horse Choke

  • Keep your horses dental visits up to date
  • Eliminate large chunks of food such as whole apples, carrots, moist food that is stuck together
  • Very dry food can cause choke if the horse doesn't have free access to water
  • Keep stall and field free of foreign objects such as twine, trash or any non-food item
  • In the winter, make sure that the horse stays well hydrated with lots of water and minerals to encourage regular drinking
  • Horses that eat fast are more apt to choke.  Discourage gorging by feeding on a regular schedule or placing a small mineral block in the feeder so that the horse has to work around it to get its food.














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