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Equestrian Traveler’s Equestrian Travel COMPANION COMPANION

Your Essential Your Essential Horse-Trailering Horse-Trailering Resource


June • July 2017

July • August 2017

On-the-Go Feeding Checklist

Unloading: Unloading:How Howto to Slow Slowthe theBackup Backup Rig-Parking Pointers 9 Ways

to Keep On-the-Go Your Feeding Horse Checklist Cool

Expert TrailerExpert TrailerBuying Buying Guidelines Guidelines

Rig-Parking 9 Ways to Keep Pointers Your Horse Cool

An An AIM AIM Equine Equine Network Network Publication Publication

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANION June • July 2017

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

FEATURES 8 Safe Travels

Rig-Parking Pointers

12 Trailering Clinic

Slow the Backup

14 Your Healthy Horse Keep-Cool Tips

17 Buy Wise

Trailer-Buying Guide

DEPARTMENTS 4 Trip Tip Calm a Restless Traveler

5 Seasonal Tip

Stay-Cool Hauling

6 Horse-Show Tip Room to Move

7 Skill Set

Sticky Accelerator: 3 Steps to Control

19 Road Gear

Summer-Travel Essentials

20 Savvy-Traveler Checklist

On-the-Go Feeding

22 USRider Member Story East Coast Emergency

26 Winner’s Circle Advantage

USRider MemberBenefit Spotlight

28 Dream Destination Rocky Mountain Gem


Editorial Inquiries: René E. Riley • Contact USRider®: (800) 844-1409 • P.O. Box 20634, Boulder, CO 80308 • USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

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Calm a Restless Traveler Is your horse a restless traveler? That is, does he scramble, kick at the trailer wall, and/or shake/sweat nervously. Here’s what to do. • Check the other horse. Your scrambling horse’s trailer mate could be picking on him. • Check trailer size. The trailer may be too small for your scrambling horse (length, height, width, or all three). Most scramblers I’ve met calm down in a larger trailer. Consider box-stall-size transport, where your horse can choose his orientation and comfort zone. • Enhance comfort. Relentless kicking at trailer stall when in motion isn’t just a bad habit. Your horse is terrified about trailering or has some other hidden reason why he’s so upset. A horse that reacts in this manner should be transported in a larger trailer until he learns that transport isn’t something to become upset about. • Retrain your horse. Nervous shaking/ sweating inside the trailer indicates that your horse is fearful. During his early training, he might’ve been forced into a

trailer instead of trained to enter it. Regress his training until he’s more comfortable about the concept of willingly going into a dark, tight space. This goes against his instincts; as a prey animal, he’s hardwired to always have an avenue of escape. Train your horse to load quietly and calmly using the kind, natural-horsemanship method of your choosing. Don’t wait until a date with the veterinarian, the farrier, or an upcoming event makes you force your horse to load. • Provide bedding. Offer your restless traveler good footing to help prevent a fall. Tight-fitting rubber mats absorb shock, but can be slick, so cover them with shavings. Shavings also help trap slick urine and manure. Choose high-quality, non-dusty shavings, so your horse doesn’t inhale small particles of dust, which can lead to lung problems. • Provide hay. Let your horse eat hay to keep him busy and calm in transit. Anytime you can keep your horse’s jaws moving, he’ll usually be calmer. Make sure it’s a type of hay he likes, so you know he’ll eat. — Rebecca Gimenez, PhD

If your horse is restless in the trailer, his trailer mate could be picking on him.


USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

------------ SEASONALTIP------------

Stay-Cool Hauling Hints Follow these tips to help your horse stay cool as you haul him during warm summer months. • Install a fan. Consider adding lightweight, small fans to your trailer’s electrical system, and affix them to the wall for high humidity and high temperature conditions. • Buy a gauge. Your trailer’s temperature can easily be 8 to 10 degrees higher than the outside temperature. A wireless gauge will allow you to see the real-time temperature inside your trailer from inside your tow vehicle. Attach the gauge at about mid-neck height. Avoid any wall where you might get a false reading from the sun. • Avoid blanketing. Don’t blanket your horse while trailering him in the summer. His physiology is made to regulate his temperature perfectly well; a blanket will inhibit his ability to cool himself naturally.

• Avoid the heat. Avoid hauling during the heat of the day; haul at night or early morning. • Open the vents and windows. To increase active cooling, open all passive vents. Also, open your trailer windows if there are screens to keep road debris out of your horse’s eyes. If you don’t have screens, use a fly mask. • Provide ample water. Offer water to your horse before, during, and after transport. His water needs will increase in hot conditions. Give him as much water as he wants! • Consider electrolytes. Discuss electrolytes and salt supplements with your veterinarian. These minerals replace salt lost in sweat. • Take breaks. Unload your horse at a safe stop for a few hours, where he can be in the shade, and eat and drink normally. — Rebecca Gimenez, PhD

When hauling in hot weather, unload your horse at a safe stop for a few hours, where he can be in the shade, and eat and drink normally.


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June • July 2017


Room to Move Imagine this scenario: It’s show day. Barbara, who owns a standard-size trailer, offers to pick up her barn buddy, Wendy, and her horse. However, when they load Wendy’s large warmblood into the trailer, he’s so stuffed into the space, it’s difficult to even close the door. This is an extreme example, but it does happen. More likely, a poor fit is a lot less obvious. Well-trained, seasoned show horses will likely load into any trailer, even though they may be uncomfortable enough to be stressed. A stressed horse may seem fine, but he’s at risk for illness and injury. Well-trained, seasoned show horses will likely load into any trailer, even though they may be uncomfortable.

Your show horse needs enough room in the trailer to use his head and neck in a natural way for balance, especially if he’s a large breed. He should be able to spread his legs both sideways and forward to brace against the trailer’s motion, including motion created by acceleration and deceleration. As a four-legged animal, your horse should be able to balance in the trailer without leaning on the sides or dividers for constant support. If your horse is a scrambler, he most likely learned that behavior from riding in narrow trailers that didn’t allow him to spread his legs sufficiently. Horses that travel in toosmall slant-load stalls aren’t able to naturally use their heads and necks to balance. In a slant-load, horses use their front-right and left-hind legs to balance. If they can’t move around enough to relieve the stress on one leg or another, they can become sore. Is there a standard size for each breed? Not necessarily. You can use breed as a general starting place, but it’s better to fit the trailer to the size of the individual horse. For example, slant-load trailers were originally designed to haul three Quarter Horses (rather than two) in a short trailer, because Quarter Horses are usually small enough to reasonably fit. But a large, 16.3-hand Quarter Horse likely won’t fit into a typical slant-load stall. — Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve (


USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

------------ SKILLSET------------

Sticky Accelerator: 3 Steps to Control A sticky accelerator can happen to any vehicle for a variety of reasons, ranging from a broken motor mount to an intrusive floor mat to a system glitch, so it’s best to be prepared. Stay calm. Your first instinct will be to immediately turn off the engine, but if you do, you’ll likely lose power steering, power braking, and turn-signal functions. Instead, follow these steps.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Shift into neutral. Immediately shift your vehicle into neutral. The engine will continue to rev and may rev even higher with your vehicle out of gear. Over-revving causes permanent engine damage. However, unlike vehicles made prior to the 1980s, modern vehicles have built-in devices designed to protect the engine from over-revving.

Cut the engine. Find the nearest, safest place to move off the road, out of traffic, then turn off the engine.

Get a tow. Don’t attempt to restart your vehicle. Have your vehicle towed to the nearest dealer for your vehicle brand. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) dealers have the latest information and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for their vehicle brands, plus diagnostic equipment designed specifically for that vehicle. — Courtesy of USRider


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June • July 2017


Rig-Parking Pointers At a showgrounds, find a spot that will give you ample room to tie your horse to the side of your trailer. Backing into a spot close to a fence will prevent other drivers from parking too closely.


Learn how to manage your rig in three challenging areas: at an open showgrounds; at a busy trailhead; and when fueling up. By Rebecca Gimenez, PhD You’re comfortable hauling your horse on the road, but when it comes to parking and fueling up, you’re a little unsure of the best course of action. You’re not alone! Here, I’ll give you pointers in three potentially challenging areas when driving a rig: at an open showgrounds; at a busy trailhead; and when fueling up.

Open Showgrounds When hauling your horse to a show, plan to arrive early so you’ll get your pick of parking spots. Then follow these guidelines. • Find a quiet spot. Don’t park close to the warm-up pen or show barn for convenience. Rather, choose a quiet spot away from the crowd, and use a wheeled cart to USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


move your things. Your horse will appreciate the quiet, and you’ll sleep better if you’re staying overnight. And when the show is over, it’ll likely be easier to load up and leave. • Consider the weather. If it’s warm, choose a shady, breezy area. If it’s cold and windy, find a spot with a wind break. Avoid trees if a thunderstorm is forecasted. • Stake out ample space. Find a spot that will give you ample room to tie your horse to the side of your trailer so he can eat, drink, and relax. Backing into a spot close to a barrier or fence will prevent other drivers from blocking you or parking too closely. Reinforce your visual barrier with orange cones. >> June • July 2017


• Park on gravel or grass. Parking on asphalt makes it easier to maneuver, but searing summer heat will reflect up into your rig. Find a gravel or a grassy area. If you park on gravel, keep an eye on the weather. If there’s a chance of rain, move your trailer to firmer ground before the gravel turns to mud.

If you need to, ask an experienced driver to ground guide you into your spot, or accept his or her offer to park your rig. •P  ull around. Pull around so that you point your rig toward the exit. This will allow others to pull in behind you, swing around, and park.

Busy Trailhead

When hauling your horse long distances, plan ahead so you can choose the best place to fuel up. Then follow these tips. • Pay at the pump. Choose a pay-at-thepump station, so you can stay with your horse and get back on the road quickly. • Choose large gas stations. Avoid small, crowded gas stations that you might not be able to get out of, especially if someone parks in front of you. Look for truck stops on long hauls. • Pull through. Pull through to the last pump, preferably on the outside line of pumps with your gas tank on the correct side. • Face out. If you can, orient your tow vehicle facing out, so you won’t have to back up or do too much maneuvering if cars pull in after you.

Trailheads are known for their tight turnarounds, lack of parking space, and scarcity of prime parking spots. Here’s how to ease your trailhead-parking challenges. • Reserve your space. If you’ll be camping overnight, you might be able to reserve a prime or pull-through spot ahead of time. If not, look for an open location to back your trailer into. • Read the rules. Some trailheads have one area for day riders and another for those camping or parking their rigs overnight. Read the rules online and onsite so you’ll know where to go. • Do a walk-through. Get out of your truck, and walk through the parking area to look for obstacles and opportunities. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Trailheads are known for their tight turnarounds, lack of parking space, and scarcity of prime parking spots.

Fueling Up


SHOP NOW USRider Members enjoy discounts on orange safety cones and other must-have trailering accessories. -------------To shop, click here, and log in. -------------Not a Member? Click here to join. >> June • July 2017

The best way to gracefully ease out of a tight spot is to improve your rig-driving skills at home. With an empty trailer, practice driving through obstacles, turning, and backing.

• Check your horse later. While it’s a good idea to check your horse and trailer while you’re stopped, move away from the pumps, and find a safe, quiet location.

Tight-Spot Techniques

Rebecca Gimenez, PhD (animal physiology), is president and a primary instructor for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. A Major in the United States Army Reserve, she’s a decorated Iraq War veteran and a past Logistics Officer for the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Team. She’s an invited lecturer on animal-rescue topics around the world and a noted equine journalist.

The best way to gracefully ease out of a tight spot is to improve your rig-driving skills at home. With an empty trailer, practice driving through obstacles, turning, and backing. On the road with your horse, follow these tips. • Drive with a buddy. If you can, find a travel buddy who can jump out and help you maneuver. • Relax. In a sticky situation, relax. Breathe. Know that you’ll figure out a way to get back on the open road. • Develop a strategy. Take time to figure out what you’ll do and how you’ll do it. Jump out of your truck, if necessary. • Ask for help. If you’re driving alone, don’t be afraid to ask someone to guide you from outside the vehicle.



• I gnore others. Ignore others who might be watching you—this isn’t a performance. Focus on ensuring that that your horse is comfortable during the maneuver and that you’re safe. •M  ake small corrections. Go slow, and make several, short forward-and-reverse maneuvers. In this way, you’ll eventually get into the clear. Don’t go too far into a tight spot in an attempt to create a way out, or you might be forced to wait until cars move or barriers are taken down to get free. USR


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In drive-through fastfood outlets, make sure there’s enough clearance. Verify your rig’s height before you drive under low-clearance bars, so you don’t become stuck.

June • July 2017

There are approximately 170,000 unwanted horses in the United States. Through A Home for Every Horse and the over 600 rescues involved, horses are given a second chance.

Cactus was one of 59 malnourished and mistreated horses rescued from hardship and brought to Colorado in 2015. Thanks to the help of rescue workers and volunteers, Cactus and his friends all were given a second chance at a happy life. Cactus is now thriving in his new home, where not only is he a great riding horse, but a wonderful new member to their family.

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June • July 2017


To slow a horse that rushes out of the trailer, teach a specific slow-back-up cue, as Julie Goodnight demonstrates here.

Slow the Backup When you unload your horse from the trailer, does he back out too quickly? Slow him down with this technique from top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight. By Julie Goodnight with Heidi Melocco • Photos by Heidi Melocco Does your horse load into the trailer with ease, but “blows out” backward once he’s inside? This behavior is quite dangerous — both to your horse and to anyone who may be in the way as he rushes back. Here, I’ll first help you determine whether your horse’s behavior is based on fear or is learned behavior. Then I’ll explain how to teach your horse to back out only on command and in a controlled fashion.

Is it Fear? Your horse may be claustrophobic and genuinely fear confined spaces. To find out, see whether he’ll eat inside the trailer. If he won’t, that’s a sign that he’s genuinely panicked. Physiologically, horses can’t eat when USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


they’re frightened. And keep in mind that using forceful tactics on a frightened horse never works; it just makes him more afraid. If your horse is backing out in a true panic, start with a larger trailer, or even a wash rack or other confined area. Ask him to go in as far as he’s comfortable. Feed him in the confined space. Gradually move the feed farther into the space, until he’s eating an entire meal inside. Then load your horse into the trailer, as I’ll outline. As you do, avoid the temptation to leave the trailer windows and doors open. Panicked horses will try to escape through even the smallest spaces. Once your horse is eating in the trailer, shut the back door, and let him eat inside >> June • July 2017

the trailer for a week. If you want to expedite the procedure, do several sessions per day, with breaks in between, and feed all his rations inside the trailer. At first, allow your horse to turn and walk out a few times, rather than backing. This helps him to learn where he’s going, and it isn’t as frightening as moving backward down a step—a move he’d never make in the wild.

Before You Begin You’ll need a rope halter (for training only, not for trailering); a long (at least 15-foot) training lead; a training flag; and a knowledgeable horseperson to work the training flag. Hitch your trailer to your tow vehicle for stability. Drive to a hazard-free area with good footing. Outfit your horse in the halter and lead, and lead him to a level work area out of view of the trailer.

Step-by-Step Technique Use this technique if your horse’s fast-backing issue is behavioral, rather than based on fear. If he’s fearful, first use the technique described earlier to teach him to relax in confined spaces. Here, I’ll first explain the correct trailer-loading technique, which forms the basis of a safe, slow unloading process. Step 1. Establish control. Walk your horse forward and back on a loose lead. Make sure you can control where his head is pointed. Establish a back-up cue: Apply light, backward pressure on the lead, and say “back.” Teach him to respond well to this cue, taking one step at a time on your command. Step 2. Approach the trailer. Lead your horse toward the trailer. As you do, control his head and neck to keep him pointed toward the trailer. Step 3. Wave the flag. You’ll use a flag wave to urge your horse forward, rather than touching his rump. This will keep his focus forward and allow him to decide to enter the trailer voluntarily. Don’t touch him with the flag; the sound and movement alone USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

will make him uncomfortable. Ask your helper to hold the flag and wait behind you, subtly in the background. Your helper’s job is to concentrate on your horse’s feet for any sign of backing, then, if spotted, wave the flag vigorously. This action will apply mental pressure to your horse and motivate him to move forward. Step 4. Stop the flag motion. The instant your horse moves forward, your helper will stop waving the flag. This will release the mental pressure on your horse and reward him for moving toward or staying in the trailer. Your horse will learn that if he backs, he’ll hear an uncomfortable noise, but if he steps forward, the scary stimulus goes away. Backing isn’t an option. Continue in this manner until your horse loads. (If you don’t need to use the flag while loading him, leave him alone.) Step 5. Offer a reward. When your horse has loaded, offer him a bite of grain as a reward, and pet him to help him relax. The treat isn’t a bribe; it’s used to help him relax and to know that the trailer is a safe place to be. Step 6. Begin unloading. Stay to the side of your horse, for safety. When he’s relaxed, ask him to back out slowly, one step at a time. Be careful not to pull him—that will make him want to move backward too quickly. Keep the lead loose. Ask your horse for one step back. Then ask him to halt, pet him for a moment, and ask again. Stopping and relaxing between steps will teach him that going slow is the desired behavior. Step 7. Use the flag. Have your flagger ready. If your horse takes more than one step and starts to “blow backward,” use the flag until he’s moving forward or still. Make sure he’s calm before you ask for a slow backup again. Repeat until he’s safely and slowly out of the trailer. USR


If your horse is backing out of the trailer quickly, teach him that he must stay inside the trailer until you give a back-up cue.

Internationally respected trainer, riding coach, and clinician Julie Goodnight shares her expertise on her RFD-TV show, Horse Master, and at clinics throughout the United States. Her Julie Goodnight Training Stables, Inc., and Julie Goodnight Natural Horsemanship Training are located in Poncha Springs, Colorado.

June • July 2017


Keep-Cool Tips This summer, help your horse stay in the comfort zone by following these keepcool guidelines. By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

To help keep your horse cool this summer, set up large fans in your barn and run-in area. (Make sure cords are safely out of reach of chewing, curious horses.)


Sweltering summer heat is a health hazard for your traveling horse. He’s at risk for dehydration, weakness, colic, poor exercise tolerance—even heat stroke. Watch him carefully for signs of extreme depression, weakness, drenching sweat or failure to sweat, and even panting. If these occur, see the quick, four-step cooldown technique on page 16.

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Keep Him Cool To help manage your horse’s body temperature, here are key keep-cool tips: • Keep clean water available 24/7. • Make available plenty of shade from trees, shelters, or run-in sheds. • If you have more than one horse in a pasture, make sure weaker, older, or less-dominant horses aren’t being chased away from water or shade. >> June • July 2017

Because she is Everything.

your trusted roadside assistance company.

Call for a quote: 800.50.HORSE (504.6773) Or visit: for an online quote

Make sure you’re covered.

• If you provide free-choice salt, note that your horse should be eating at least two ounces per day. Weigh your blocks or bricks every two weeks to make sure. If he’s not consuming this much salt on his own, start adding salt to your horse’s grain. If you’re not feeding grain regularly, make a small daily meal of soaked beet pulp or wheat bran with two tablespoons of salt added. • Hose your horse during the hottest part of the day. • If your horse enjoys a sprinkler system, keep it outside your pasture fence, and set it to spray into the pasture.

• Set up large fans in your barn and runin area. (Make sure cords are safely out of reach of chewing, curious horses.) • If you must leave your horse alone during the hottest part of the day, it PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO may be best to confine him to the barn Keep clean water available or a small area you to your horse at all times. know has adequate shade.

Hot-Weather Feeding

Grass is the ideal hot-weather feed, because of its high water content. If your horse doesn’t have enough grass available Hose your horse during for it to be his main food, try tempting him the hottest part of the with carrots, celery, apples, watermelon, day to help keep him cool. squash, or salad greens added to a mixture Run the water a minute of soaked beet pulp and wheat bran. Start or two first to clear the with small meals if your horse isn’t used to hose of hot water. these feeds. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM per pound of the mixture to improve appeal and get that An overheated horse, either from Step 2. Hose his entire body. Once your needed salt into exercise or simple heat exposure, needs horse seems less distressed (his breathyour horse. Note: It’s aggressive cooling. It’s simply not true ing eases), progress to hosing his entire normal for appetites that you can’t use cold water on a hot body. Continue the hosing until the water to drop off during horse. In fact, cold water may prevent a running off underneath his body feels periods of extreme life-threatening condition from develcool. This means the water is no longer heat. If this hapoping. picking up large amounts of heat from pens, don’t panic. Step 1. Hose target areas. Run cold the surface of the skin. Your horse will start hose water over your Step 3. Walk him. Slowly walk your horse eating again when horse’s chest, the in a shaded area. Observe him carefully he feels more comjugular grooves of his to make sure his respiratory rate doesn’t fortable. USR neck, and his lower climb again or that he begins to sweat. If legs. These areas have this happens, repeat the cooling proEleanor M. Kellon, VMD, many superficial blood cess. is a staff veterinarian vessels that can be Step 4. Offer water. Offer tepid water for Uckele Health and rapidly cooled by the at frequent intervals throughout this Nutrition, Inc., and is water and will carry process. If your horse is very distressed the owner of Equine the cooled blood to the at first, or breathing/panting heavily, he Nutritional Solutions, a interior of his body. probably won’t drink. Keep trying. nutritional consulting PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO firm.

Quick Cooldown

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June • July 2017


Trailer-Buying Guide Are you in the market for a new or used trailer? Use this list to help ensure your horse’s new ride meets his needs and yours.

Here are important factors to keep in mind as you buy your next trailer. By Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve

Are you in the market for a new or used trailer? Use this list to help ensure your trailer meets your needs. GVWR. Determine the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The GVWR, which relates to the axle and coupler rating/capacity, tells you how much the trailer can weigh and be safe to haul. Older, smaller, used trailers can have lower GVWRs, such as 5,000 lbs. It’s easy to exceed this limit. Size. Will your horse fit in the trailer? Make sure the interior height, head area, and stall length/width allow your horse to stretch his neck and balance easily. However, bigger isn’t necessarily better. If your horse has too much room, he can get into

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trouble. Measure before you buy, and make sure you can bring the trailer back if there’s any problem. Color. Dark colors absorb heat; light colors reflect heat, which will help keep your equine friend from overheating in the trailer. Ventilation and light. Make sure the trailer has good airflow and ventilation. Windows and roof vents are key. Floors. On a used trailer, pull the floor mats, and examine the flooring. If it’s wood, check for cracks and rotting. If it’s aluminum, look for corrosion. Examine the frame structure and cross supports for rust >> or corrosion. June • July 2017

Will your horse fit in the trailer? Measure beforehand, and make sure you can bring the trailer back if there’s any problem.


Wiring. Most older trailers have wiring problems that may need some work. With a new trailer, ask whether the wiring is protected by grommets and wiring loom. Tires. Tires are rated to hold a certain amount of weight. All four tires together should add up to a rating that’s equal to or surpasses the GVWR. With a new trailer, request tires that are rated a bit more than the GVWR. Check used tires for uneven wear, worn threads, dry rot, and age. Tires deteriorate from age and should be replaced after six years. A build date is on the tire. Tack area. Imagine loading up for a trip. Will all your tack fit? Are there enough saddle racks? Are the racks large enough to keep your saddles from sliding off? Emergency access. Consider potential disasters. Could you easily release your horse if he gets over the breast bar? Could you quickly remove dividers if he gets under one? USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Imagine loading up for a trip. Will all your tack fit? Are there enough saddle racks? Are the racks large enough to keep your saddles from sliding off?

Will the horse-area doors withstand a kick without PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM opening? Are the walk-through doors large enough for an emergency exit? Gooseneck hitch. Make sure the bottom of the gooseneck is at least eight inches from the top of the tailgate when the trailer is level. Many used gooseneck trailers (those older than 2001) aren’t tall enough to clear the back of four-wheeldrive trucks that are 59 inches from the ground to the top of the tailgate. Bumper-pull hitch. A long tongue on a bumper-pull trailer will give you better maneuverability when backing than a shorter one will. A short tongue will jackknife easily. USR


Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve are the authors of the nationally recognized textbook, The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. Neva has also written two other horsetrailer books, including Equine Emergencies On The Road with Jim Hamilton, DVM. The Scheves present clinics at equine expos and promote trailer safety through articles in national magazines. They’ve designed and developed the EquiSpirit, EquiBreeze, and ThoroSport lines of trailers.

June • July 2017


Summer-Travel Essentials Four handy products to make your summer travel easier. By Lauren Back

Eye Protection

Wireless Camera System

Protect your horse’s eyes from debris on the road—and from flies anytime—with Shires’ Fly Mask. This fullface, mesh fly mask features air-stream fabric on the ears for full coverage. Complete with fleece padding along the seams, the mask provides flexible protection against even the smallest insects.

If you’ve ever struggled with hitching up your trailer, the Swift Hitch SH01 Portable Wireless Camera, designed by Toren Partners, may be the answer. The versatile system features optional reverse imaging and night vision, a color LCD screen, and a magnetic-base camera.

Traveling Saddle Stand

Hydration Hay

This handy item by Horse Fare Products, available from SmartPak Equine, LLC, is a tote and travel saddle stand in one. Its lightweight, compact design, and cut-out grips make for easy handling. The stand’s beautiful spruce wood is enhanced by a special dark-walnut stain. The stand weighs 21 pounds and stands at 24 by 24 inches. www.smartpak

Extra stress can cause your horse to struggle with proper water intake when traveling. With Purina Animal Nutrition’s Hydration Hay Original Horse Hay Blocks, he’ll receive quality forage and proper hydration. These hay blocks are a compressed premium blend of grass and alfalfa hay. Simply drop a block into a bucket of water, and it’ll quickly expand into a flake of palatable, moist hay.

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June • July 2017

------------ SAVVYTRAVELERCHECKLIST------------

On-the-Go Feeding Support your traveling horse’s digestive health with this expert checklist. By Audrey Pavia


Late spring and early summer is a busy season for equestrian travel. Your horse might appear to be a happy traveler, but the stress of traveling can play havoc with his digestive system, putting him at risk for colic.

Late spring and early summer is a busy season for equestrian travel. Your horse might appear to be a happy traveler, but the stress of traveling can play havoc with his digestive system, putting him at risk for colic—a potentially fatal digestive disorder. Use this checklist to support your traveling horse’s digestive health.

Before You Go ■ Schedule a wellness exam. “Before you set off on your trip, first ensure your horse is healthy and sound,” says Gina Fresquez, MS, Technical Specialist/ Equine Technical Solutions for Purina Animal Nutrition. “Traveling can be stressful on a horse, so schedule a wellness exam with your veterinarian for a full checkup. Discuss your travel plans,

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


any possible issues, and how you can ensure a safe trip.” ■ Evaluate your horse’s diet. Make sure your horse’s diet meets his complete nutrient requirements essential for optimal health and performance. “You may want to consult with a nutrition specialist to make sure you’re meeting all of your horse’s needs, not just calories, and address any concerns you might have while on the road,” says Fresquez. ■ Buy the right feed type. Select low-dust forage or a complete feed. Make sure it’s clean, fresh, and toxin-free. Keep to the same feed, if possible. Consider a complete feed that will travel well. ■ Check feed requirements. If you’ll be riding or camping on public lands, find out whether you need to give your horse >> June • July 2017

certified weed-free feed. This regulation also applies to feed pellets in some states. ■ Transition slowly. If you’ll be changing your horse’s diet before you leave, gradually mix the new into the old over the course of 7 to 10 days to minimize possible digestive upset. Keep your horse on the new diet for at least two weeks before you leave home to condition him to the new feed ration. ■ Consider supplements. Consider adding supplements to your horse’s feed to help him with the rigors of travel. “Travel stress is best met by providing B vitamins a week before travel, during the trip, and a week following,” says equine nutritionist Juliet Getty, PhD. ■ Pack salt and electrolytes. Pack natural salt rocks or granulated salt to offer freechoice at your destination. “Horses require a minimum of two tablespoons of salt per day, and more when sweating,” says Dr. Getty. “A sweating horse will also require electrolytes. Provide one electrolyte paste tube for every two hours of work.”

Keep Him Hydrated ■ Know your horse’s water needs. Generally, your horse needs 5 to 10 gallons of water per day, but if he’ll be working hard on a hot day, he may need more. He’ll also need plenty of water to accommodate increased thirst caused by added salt and electrolytes. ■ Plan ahead. Find out in advance whether your destination offers water for horses. If you’ll be depending on streams, make sure they’ll be flowing at the time of your visit. ■ Bring water from home. If your horse is a fussy drinker, or if water won’t be available, bring water from home to use en route. ■ Soak the hay. You can also accommodate a fussy drinker by soaking his hay. Put your horse’s next feeding into a hay net, and dunk the net into a water tub. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

■ Use a water additive. Dr. Getty recommends adding one-halfcup of apple juice or a packet of powdered drink mix (the kind with sugar) to 5 gallons of water for two PHOTOS BY KENT & CHARLENE KRONE weeks before you leave on your trip and while you’re on the If you’ll be riding or camping road. Your horse gets used to the flavored on public lands, find out water, so will be more likely to his drink whether you need to give water ration on the road. your horse certified weedfree feed.

On the Road

■ Use a hay bag or bucket. On the road, use a slow feeder hay bag for forage; this will help your horse eat more slowly and will reduce wasted feed. Bring a bucket for complete feed and hay cubes. Hang the hay bag and bucket at a height that allows your horse to lower his head as he eats. ■ Tie him right. If you tie your horse in the trailer, tie him with enough slack to comfortably eat and put his head down to clear his airways, but not so tight that he can catch a hoof in the rope. ■ Take breaks. “Stop and take a break every three to four hours to offer your horse water, refill hay if needed, rest from constantly having to stay balanced while in motion, and check his health status,” says Fresquez. ■ Consider unloading. If your horse loads and unloads easily, and if you can find a spot to stop that’s completely horse safe, consider unloading him every four hours to reduce travel stress. If unloading isn’t practical, take breaks so he can rest from the trailer’s motion. USR

If your horse is a fussy drinker, or if water won’t be available, bring water from home to use en route.

Audrey Pavia, an award-winning freelance writer based in Norco, California, is a competitive trail rider and member of the North American Trail Ride Conference. She’s the author of Trail Riding: A Complete Guide (Howell Book House imprint of Wiley and Sons, (available on


June • July 2017

------------ USRIDERMEMBERSTORY------------

East Coast Emergency This English competitor’s trailer broke down in a cloud of smoke five hours from home in Maine. USRider quickly came to her aid. BY CLARISSA EDLESON

USRider Member Clarissa Edelston, a combined training/eventing competitor, hauls her horses several thousand miles each year. “The comfort that I can call for information or help at any time and get a knowledgeable, friendly, helpful person every time is worth the price of my USRider membership,” she says. As a combined training eventing competitor, I drive up and down the East Coast from Maine to Virginia and as far west as Rochester, New York, for events. I often travel alone with two horses in tow and my Jack Russell Terriers in the truck. Whenever preparing for a trip, I check the weather forecasts so I can plan trips around snowy and icy conditions. Despite regular maintenance of my tow vehicle and gooseneck Exiss trailer, I feel vulnerable to USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


the whims of the mechanical gods. I’m in my 60s and definitely not a gearhead.

A Switch to USRider During one memorable occasion, my truck died on I-95 in Scarborough, Maine, 120 miles from home. My previous motor plan suggested that while they could find someone to tow the truck, I’d have to leave the trailer and its equine occupants roadside overnight. June • July 2017


Shortly thereafter, I switched to USRider Equestrian Motor Plan. I was a little leery, because Maine isn’t exactly the equine capital of the country. I wondered whether USRider would be able to provide the resources it advertised in such a sparsely settled area. However, my skepticism was unfounded. Over the years, I’ve had the occasional need for a tire change or jumpstart, and USRider has always come through promptly.

A ‘Real Emergency’ Then my first real emergency made me a true believer in USRider. This happened as my daughter and I were returning to Maine from Virginia late on a Saturday afternoon with two horses in the trailer. I was on the downhill lap near Concord, New Hampshire, complimenting myself on how easily the 14-hour trip had gone. I had only five hours to go when a passing driver gained my attention and motioned me to pull over. Curious, but not yet alarmed, I complied. The other driver followed us to the shoulder. “Your trailer wheel is smoking! I think your brake is locked on.” USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

I thanked her and began to take stock. Clearly, the brake wasn’t locked on, as the wheel had been turning freely. But something was wrong.

Quick Response

USRider Member Clarissa Edelston was driving home from an event in Lexington, Virginia, when her trailer broke down. Edelston, aboard Body ’n’ Soul (aka Poptart), is second from right.

I called USRider from the side of the road, and a delightful young woman named Desirae asked how she could help. I shakily explained my problem and gave her my estimated coordinates. I was envisioning a long night roadside with smushed granola bars for dinner. But Desirae quickly called back with directions to a nearby repair shop. We then determined that I’d already passed that exit and the return would require a 20-mile circle. Desirae called again with a new repair location a few miles ahead in Chichester, New Hampshire. Desirae further assured me that she had already spoken with the owner. He had agreed to wait for our arrival. (It was late Saturday afternoon and getting later!) Plus, Desirae had already contacted a local barn owner who would retrieve and board the horses if an overnight stay was necessary. >>


June • July 2017

I continued to drive, white-knuckled and whimpering, and easily found Bill’s RV Repair Shop with Desirae’s directions. I was never so relieved as when I spied that sign!

At the Shop Bill himself greeted us and began to hunt through his inventory for the necessary parts. I was a little concerned that we’d have to unload the horses in front of the shop, but Bill was quite impressed with my Trailer-Aid drive-on jack, which lifted the affected wheel clear of the ground, allowing the horses to remain onboard. The smoking bearing was pried out and the wheel shaft buffed to something like tolerable smoothness. Wonder of wonders, the shop had a replacement bearing kit of the right size in stock, and it could be inserted over the shaft. We were able to continue on our way home after only a couple of hours’ delay, thanking our lucky stars for USRider. Though we didn’t need to call on the services of the emergency barn, Bill even knew the owner and vouched for him.

Homeward Bound USRider Member Clarissa Edelston, a combined training/eventing competitor, hauls her horses several thousand miles each year. “The comfort that I can call for information or help at any time and get a knowledgeable, friendly, helpful person every time is worth the price of my USRider membership,” she says.

Nervous Drive I set off at a crawl, but the immediate outpouring of smoke made me sufficiently nervous that I quickly pulled over and called Desirae again. (We were practically best friends by now!) She told me that she’d already tried to convince the repairman to come to us, but he’d refused because he couldn’t make any repairs on the road. I told Desirae about the copious smoke. She agreed to call the repairman again, explain the symptoms, and make sure he thought it was safe for me to drive. Desirae promptly called back to say that because the distance was so short, the repairman thought it should be fine for me to limp along slowly.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


I can’t tell you how relieved I was to have a competent, friendly voice at the end of the telephone to walk me through the entire ordeal. USRider is terrific. Every repair shop they have referred me to has been great! While it sometimes seems as though I have more than the usual number of problems, I do haul my horses several thousand miles each year, sometimes over hideous terrain. The comfort that I can call for information or help at any time and get a knowledgeable, friendly, helpful person every time is worth the price of my USRider membership. I recommend USRider constantly to everyone I know who travels with horses. And I gave both my daughters (also eventers) their very own USRider memberships for Christmas. USR June • July 2017



FOR SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT USRIDER® • Do you attend a large number of events or horse shows each year? • Are you active in a local equine group or association?

• Do you have a large network of horse loving friends and relatives? • Are you active on social media interacting with other horse lovers like yourself?

USRider® has created an opportunity for you to put your influence to work and get rewarded for spreading the word about our industry leading roadside assistance services. With our new Silver Ambassador Program, you will earn a $25 CASH REWARD for each new Primary member you refer to the USRider® Equestrian Motor Plan.

LEARN MORE USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

------------ WINNER’S CIRCLEADVANTAGE------------

USRider Member-Benefit Spotlight As a USRider Member, you can enjoy money-saving discounts through Winner’s Circle Advantage. You may access these benefits directly through the Members Area of the USRider website, as well as through the brochure you’ll find enclosed in membership kits and renewal mailings. Instructions and access codes give you

quick access on how to shop with all our WCA partners. With so many discounts, you can easily save the cost of your annual membership fee, and more! This issue, we spotlight Trailers/Trailer Accessories. Here are three useful trailering products for your equestrian travels. For more, click here.

-------------------------------------------Carri-Lite Corrals Make your horse feel at home while camping with Carri-Lite Corrals. Connecting rods make setup easy and quick, while a low panel height adds stability. The corral’s lightweight aluminum and minimal parts make it easy to setup and store. A standard set assembles to a 13-foot round pen or a 12-foot square stall. Increase corral size by attaching the panels to your trailer. USRider Members receive free shipping (a $99 value).

-------------------------------------EZ Connector Have you ever had issues with your horse trailer’s lights or brakes? With its innovative electrical connection system for towing, the EZ Connector saves you time and money while keeping you and your horse safely on the road. EZ Connector’s patented waterproof, corrosion-free design, along with face-to-face, spring-loaded brass contacts, ensure a reliable, trouble-free connection. As a USRider Member, you’ll receive a free adapter (a $30 value) for your trailer with your connector purchase.


Nationwide Warranties USRider protects you and your horse from being stranded. But what happens when you arrive at the repair facility? How do you know which part really needs to be replaced? What’s a fair price? Whom can you trust? Through an arrangement with Nationwide Warranties, Auto Warranty Specialists, USRider Members can save $100 off Nationwide’s unique extended warranties. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

Horses help us in extraordinary ways...

We find our trust, our faith, our strength, our hope through horses. Hope in the Saddle is here to bring awareness to the amazing stories of horses and their people. Stories of how they inspired hope and healing, through all the circumstances of life. How has your horse helped give you hope? Share your story with us at Brought to you by:

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


June • July 2017

------------ DREAMDESTINATION------------

Rocky Mountain Gem

This summer, hitch up, and head out to an oasis of quiet solitude. Horse Ranch Park is located on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies. The campground sits at 8,868 feet above sea level in Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest between the Raggeds Wilderness Area and the West Elk Wilderness Area. Gunnison National Forest encompasses 1.7 million acres of public land in Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains. Outstanding mountain scenery is the norm. —Kent & Charlene Krone USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



June • July 2017

USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion  

Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource. An AIM Equine Network Publication

USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion  

Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource. An AIM Equine Network Publication