Closeouts! `

Be sure that your hay net or hay bag is hung securely so that it cannot slip and allow a horse's leg to become entangled. It should also be adjusted to a height that is both appropriate for your horse to eat and that is out of leg reach if the horse paws.

Keep the interior of your trailer clean. Promptly remove manure and hose out urine to reduce the buildup of harmful fumes. Sanitize the walls and floor to reduce bacteria and viruses that can flourish in the remnants of respiratory excretions and manure.

Good ventilation is important during trucking because horses are highly susceptible to respiratory problems. Be more concerned with providing the horse with plenty of fresh air rather than with having him be cold. While drafts and direct blasts of air should be avoided in cold weather, remember that stale air filled with exhaust fumes from the pulling vehicle, body heat from the horse(s) and gases from manure and urine accumulate rapidly in the closed trailer.

It is better to clothe a horse and allow ventilation than to keep a horse closed tightly in a trailer. A clipped horse that is accustomed to wearing a blanket should most likely wear a blanket on a winter trip, but avoid overdressing him for hauling. Most horses tend to heat up during trucking, and even a sheet in some instances can be too much in warmer temperatures-especially if more than one horse is being trucked as body heat accumulates rapidly. In cold temperatures, a wool dress sheet may prove to be the ideal solution for clothing your horse for trucking. Wool is a natural insulator, yet it allows for moisture to move away from the horse's body if the horse begins to perspire.

If you plan to truck your horse in summer, try to do so in the cooler parts of the day and make sure there is plenty of airflow in the trailer. Park in the shade when you reach your summer destination. If you can't, open the trailer doors and/or unload your horse as soon as possible so that he doesn't overheat in the enclosed environment.

Many people choose to protect their horse's legs with shipping bandages or shipping boots. Because poor wrapping techniques can damage a horse's legs, if you're not skilled at wrapping, use shipping boots that cover a horse's legs from hoof to knees and hocks. It is imperative that any protective gear you put on your horse's legs will remain in place so as not to interfere with his ability to maintain his footing. Concerns of overheating and adverse reactions of horses to wearing wraps cause some haulers to avoid protective legwear altogether. The choice that is right for you will depend on your horse's own particular needs and behavior.

On the Road
Always turn your headlights on to increase visibility on the road, and turn your cell phone off. Because your horse is counting on you to concentrate on the road, distractions should be minimized.

So that your horse can most easily maintain his balance, always accelerate and decrease your speeds slowly and with care, and make slow turns. Drive at a consistent speed and brake slowly—abrupt stops have been known to cause horses to fall in trailers. When you encounter a bumpy road, reduce your speed by 5 to 10 miles per hour.

Merge carefully on and off highways as doing so is more difficult when pulling a trailer. Your tow vehicle works harder on the incline to the highway, and it is important to use your directional light to gain the attention of other drivers during this time. Keep your directional on until you reach the same speed as other travelers and can move into the travel (middle) lane of the highway.

Because stopping a rig takes longer than stopping an independent vehicle, double the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to allow yourself plenty of room should you have to stop. Lastly, always look at the road and traffic patterns well ahead of you and plan your maneuvers to avoid sudden stops and abrupt turns.

Supplies

  • To be courteous to the places you visit, you'll need a manure fork, muck bucket and possibly a broom to clean up after your horse. A Mini Future Fork is a handy size for trucking as it is a petite, space-saving version of the original.

  • When you travel, take along an equine medical kit. See Maintaining an Equine Medical Kit for details of items you might need if you prefer to build your own kit.

  • If you plan to tie your horse to the side of your trailer when you arrive at your destination, use a breakaway trailer tie such as the Tie Safe Trailer Tie or bring along a piece of twine. Attach the twine to the tie hook on your trailer, then tie the horse to the twine. This way, the twine will break if the horse panics.

  • You'll need a bucket for drinking water for your horse, and a bucket and sponge for cooling down your sweaty horse after exercise in warm weather. You'll also want to pack an ample supply of water so that you have it in the instance of a breakdown, and you won't have to worry about finding a water source when you arrive at your destination.

  • You'll need a hay bag or hay net. A wide selection of bags exist, including fabric bags designed to cut dust, corner feeder bags, cotton rope hay nets and nylon mesh hay nets. No matter what kind you use, be sure that it is fastened securely at a height at which a horse cannot get a leg entangled in it.

  • If you have to pack an entire bale of hay, consider using a bale bag to keep the hay contained, out of the sun and free of road spray.

  • Pack a fire extinguisher designed for dousing electrical fires, a Trailer Aid or suitable jack for changing flat trailer tires and a tire chock.

  • Take an extra halter, which should be breakaway or leather, and an extra lead line in case your primary ones break.

  • Pack a flashlight.

  • Accessories you might want to include for your trailer include a spare tire cover to protect the tire from harsh weather, a hitch cover to prevent water from seeping into the electrical system and trailer covers to keep a stored trailer free of dirt and debris.

  • If you have a dressing room, you may want to outfit it with a shatterproof mirror and one of a variety of travel style grooming bags designed for mounting in a trailer.

  • If you don't have a dressing room with built-in saddle racks, you might want to take along a collapsible saddle stand to hold your tack when you arrive at your destination.

  • The Trailer Eyes Wireless Monitoring System can help you align your trailer ball and hitch, and can enable you to monitor the horses inside your trailer.

  • In winter, pack a supply of sand and a snow shovel in case you get stuck. Include an extra blanket for your horse, and one for you to keep warm in the instance of a breakdown.
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