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Trailer Ready to Haul by Martha Josey & Alissa Burson-Kelly

 

Martha Josey - Trailer Ready

Trailer Ready to Haul by Martha Josey & Alissa Burson-Kelly

Having your horse trailer prepared to haul down the road is important whether you’re competing or just going for a weekend trail ride. Making sure your trailer is in good working condition will help you get down the road safely.

Every time you get ready to haul, even if it’s only a short distance, you will need to look your trailer over completely. Always check your lights, inspect all tires including the spare and the hitch to be sure it’s hooked to your vehicle properly. It’s also best to have a second person check those same things to make sure nothing is missed before you leave. It is a good idea to have your trailer inspected by a mechanic 2-4 times a year depending on how many miles you haul.

The contents of your trailer are important. Carrying a small amount of tools with you can help make it easier to work through any mechanical problems you may encounter. Always be sure you have a spare tire that is aired up, ready to use. Make sure you carry a tire gauge with you to check tire air pressures on a regular basis. In case of a flat, carry blocks that you can pull your trailer up on to make a tire change easier. Most of the time, you will not have to unload your horse if you have the proper equipment. In the event you do have to unload, be sure to inspect the area around the trailer to be certain it is safe for your horse to come off. Something that I have found that can make a tire change less of a hassle is a battery powered impact gun. Also consider carrying some type of reflector to set out at night. If you are pulled over it is a great safety advantage especially in the dark or inclement weather.

You should also carry two first aid kits in your trailer. One is for you and one for the horse. A simple first aid kit can be purchased for yourself at a local store. The first aid kit for your horse will need to be assembled. Consult with your veterinarian about what he suggests you carry especially medications, making sure you understand how to administer them properly. Especially in case of a colic, having a sheet of paper with the amount of each medication to administer to your horse can help reduce the stress of having to remember exactly what to give. Other important things like bandages, vet wrap, duck tape, fly spray, syringes, needles and wound treatment ointment are all essentials. Electrolytes for dehydration and a probiotic paste to help settle a stomach that may be upset from long hauls can come in handy if a horse goes off feed. I also keep several tubes of Gastro-plex by MVP on hand at all times to help with my horse’s stomach because of the stress incurred during hauling. It is also a great idea to carry extra shoes and nails along with your own tools for shoeing in case your horse loses a shoe. If you have your own equipment, you can always find someone to replace the shoe.




Your horse equipment department should be kept well organized and remember to always carry a good flashlight. Be sure to have extras of everything important especially if you’re competing. It is a good idea to have an extra competition bit on hand already on headstall and adjusted properly. This will eliminate having a crisis if one is lost, stolen or breaks. For those same reasons, keep extra bell boots and combination boots on hand. Fly spray, brushes, hoof picks and other simple things you use daily should be easy to find. Don’t forget fly masks for hauling to keep debris out of your horse’s eyes. Never let your horse hang their head out of the window when hauling because they can lose an eye or be injured. A hole punch is extremely important to have for adjusting equipment. Keep a horse sheet and cooler blanket for absorbing sweat especially after riding indoors in the colder weather along with a fitted winter blanket. Pack an extra hay bag or two for your horse just in case you are gone longer or have a breakdown. I always carry a extra bag of Purina in case I need it. It’s always a good practice to carry your own water. Your horse may not like the taste of the water where you are competing at or you may get stranded somewhere where there isn’t any water. Also carry an extra set of clothing for yourself especially a jacket or a raincoat, because you will thank yourself for doing this one day!

Everything mentioned may seem like a lot to squeeze into a trailer, but for many people their trailers are their home and their barn away from home. The more prepared you are the better. The old saying of, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it” always applies in the case of hauling your horse. We all know a lot of unexpected things can happen with our horses, so do your best to plan for the unexpected! See you on the next trail or in the winner’s circle!

Martha Josey personifies barrel racing for many people. She was the first and only cowgirl to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in four consecutive decades. She has the distinction of winning both the AQHA and WPRA World Championships in the same year. Her career has stretched, win-to-win, over four decades. For more information, visit BarrelRacers.com.

This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 11

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