USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion-Spring 2018

Page 1

Equestrian Traveler’s


Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource Spring 2018

Expert Guide to On-the-Road Veterinary Care Stay Safe in Inclement Weather

Spruce Up Your Trailer Handy Checklist!

An AIM Equine Network Publication

How to Change a Trailer Tire

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANION Spring 2018

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

FEATURES 6 Safe Travels

Change a Trailer Tire

10 Hauling Hints

The Open Road

14 Your Healthy Horse On-the-Road Veterinary Care

24 USRider Member Story Alone No More DEPARTMENTS 4 Trip Tips Expert Travel Help 18 Skill Set

Inclement-Weather Driving

20 Road Gear Spring Things 21 Winner’s Circle Advantage

USRider® Member Discounts

22 Savvy-Traveler Checklist

Spring Spruce-Up


USRider General Manager: Bill Riss Editor: Rene E. Riley Art Director: Abby McDougall Contact USRider: (800) 844-1409 P.O. Box 20634, Boulder, CO 80308 • USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

26 Dream Destination Southwestern Jewel AIM Equine Network is a division of Active Interest Media. Its stable of award-winning magazines includes EQUUS, Dressage Today, Horse&Rider, Practical Horseman, and The Team Roping Journal. AIM Equine Network also offers a proprietary line of books, DVDs, trailering products, and equestrian gifts through its online store, 2

Spring 2018

Need more benefits? Own an Equine Business? Travel long distances? Introducing the:

Premier Plan UPGRADE TODAY Premier Plan

The new USRider® Premier Plan is the preferred plan for business or competitive equestrian travelers. This plan includes all of the Classic Plan benefits PLUS:

• • • • • •

Unlimited towing Unlimited jump start benefit Unlimited lock out benefit $400 maximum winch out benefit $400 maximum roadside repair One FREE associate/employee membership

• Emergency disablement expense reimbursement • 24-hour concierge service • 20% off all items in the USRider® Store • Includes fuel, oil and water delivery, tire changes, roadside repair* *excluding cost of parts and fluids

WWW.USRIDER.ORG • (800) 844-1409


TripTips USRIDER MEMBERTIP------------

Be Cautious on Limited-Access Roads On toll roads, thruways, turnpikes, and other roadways with limited access, service providers trying to render assistance to motorists can encounter delays. The operating authority on limited-access roadways often require stranded motorists to use a designated service provider for roadside assistance. Many require payment at the time of service; some accept only cash. And in many cases, designated providers can be summoned only by law-enforcement authorities. “This makes our job as a motor plan very difficult,” says Bill Riss, USRider general manager. “Our Members can call us to summon help on these roadways, but our options and abilities to service them are extremely limited. This means our Members cannot expect help to arrive with USRider’s customary quick-response time.” Long waits roadside can be especially dire when traveling with horses, which are at risk of becoming overheated, dehydrated, sick, or panicked. USRider urges its Members to exercise extra caution on limited-access roads to lessen the chance of needing emergency roadside assistance. Check your route for toll roads prior to taking a trip into an unfamiliar area. Carry extra cash, stock up on water and feed for your horses, and be aware that USRider is limited in the service that it can provide.


Use this post-storage inspection routine to ready your trailer for springtime adventures.

Be Ready to Roll If you stored your trailer over the winter, follow this 11-point inspection routine before removing your trailer from the jack stands to make sure it’s ready to roll. 1. Remove all wheels and hubs or brake drums. Note which spindle and brake the drum was removed from so it can be reinstalled in the same location. 2. Inspect suspension for wear. 3. Check the tightness of the hanger bolt, shackle bolt, and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values. 4. Check the brake linings, brake drums, and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring. 5. Check the brake magnets with an ohmmeter. The magnets should check 3.2 ohms. If shorted or worn excessively, replace. 6. Lubricate all the brake’s moving parts, using a high-temperature brake lubricant. Caution: Don’t get grease or oil on the brake linings or magnet face. 7. Remove any rust from the braking surface and the drums’ armature surface with fine emery paper or crocus cloth. As you work, protect the bearings from rust-particle contamination. 8. Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace the seals if necessary. 9. Lubricate hub bearings. 10. Reinstall hubs, and adjust the bearings. 11. Mount and tighten wheels. — Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve (


Be aware that the operating authority on limited-access roadways might require stranded motorists to use a designated service provider for roadside assistance, limiting the service USRider can provide its Members. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018


Promote Respiratory Health It’s a good idea to provide your horse with low-dust hay in the trailer, whether you’re going on a short or long journey. That quick trip to the veterinary clinic can unexpectedly turn into a longer time away from home if you experience a breakdown or end up waiting longer than you’d anticipated for your veterinarian to treat your horse. Free-feeding hay will help keep your horse calm in and out of the trailer, and will keep his digestive tract moving, which will help prevent colic, a potentially life-threatening condition. If you use a hay net, avoid overstuffing it. Allow enough room behind the net so your horse can move his nose around it to grab the hay rather than pushing his nose into the net, which could lead him to inhale small particles into his lungs. Finally, tie your horse so that he can put his head down to remove any hay dust and debris from his lungs, but high enough so that he won’t get a hoof tangled in it. — Top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight


Allow enough room behind the hay net so your horse can reach around it to grab the hay rather than pushing his nose into the net, which could lead him to inhale small particles into his lungs.


Be Flood Safe USRider reminds horse owners to be extra cautious on the road when traveling with horses in wet weather. More than half of flood fatalities in the United States each year are vehicle-related, usually the result of a driver misjudging water depth and the force of moving water. And a vehicle can float dangerously out of control in just a few inches of water. Follow these travel tips from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help keep you and your horse safe on the road. • Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, or other trusted weather-related sources. PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Your rig can float dangerously out of control in just a few • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water inches of water. is flowing quickly. Don’t drive around a barrier or attempt to cross a flowing stream. • Never drive through flooded roadways. Road beds might be washed out under flood waters. • If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately, and seek higher ground. • Be especially cautious at night, when it’s harder to recognize flood dangers. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018


Change a Trailer Tire Learn how to change a damaged trailer tire with this 12-step tutorial. By Rebecca Gimenez, PhD


Your trailer tires take your precious cargo down miles on the road—and sometimes off road. Know how to change a trailer tire in an emergency. • 6-8 reflector triangles or cones. If you choose to use triangles or cones instead of flares, place at least three very close to your stopped rig. Then place one at least 100 steps (300 feet) down the road behind your trailer, and one halfway back from that triangle or cone to the back of your trailer. • Flathead screwdriver. If your wheels have hubcaps, you’ll need a standard, large, flathead screwdriver or wheel-cover-removal tool to remove them. • Lug wrench. Carry a lug wrench that fits your tires’ particular lug nuts. Or, find a four-way universal lug wrench. • Drive-on jack. A drive-on jack can be made from plastic (such as Trailer Aid), wood, or steel. It should be at least five inches high, with a ramp. Use this simple tool if you’re replacing one tire at a time. • Jack and jack stand. Use a jack and jack stand if you’re replacing more than one tire at a time. >>

As an equestrian traveler, you should know how to change a trailer tire in an emergency. It’s empowering to know how to deal with this common horse-hauling challenge. Here, I’ll first give you a tire-changing kit. Then I’ll tell you what to do before you change a tire. Next, I’ll explain, step-by-step, how to properly change a trailer tire.

Tire-Changing Kit • Two spare tires. Carry two good-quality spare tires in case more than one tire fails during your trip. • 8-10 emergency flares. Flares help others see your rig when you’re stopped to change a tire. Use a minimum of three flares. Place one flare behind your rig, one at least 100 steps (300 feet) down the road behind your trailer, and one halfway back from that flare to the back of your trailer. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018

To choose the correct models, consult the trailer manufacturer’s recommendations. Using the wrong number or type to support your trailer is dangerous. • 6 Chocks. A chock is a heavy piece of metal, rubber, or wood you tuck under a tire to keep it from rolling. Use chocks on both sides of the tires to prevent your trailer from rolling while jacked up off the ground. Carry at least six chocks. • Lubricant. Use WD-40 or other penetrant, graphite, or silicone lubricant to loosen the lug nuts, dissolve rust, and ensure the lug nuts don’t cross-thread (cross over each other, stripping the lug nuts and studs). Never use a hammer on lug studs—you can destroy the threads.

Use a drive-on jack when changing one tire. This one is made from two four-inch-by-six-inch treated pieces beveled to allow drive-on ease. The good tire will support your trailer while you change the damaged one.

Tire-Change Prep • Pay attention. Signs of tire trouble include loud banging sounds, bumping, jerking, scraping, or grinding. • Pull over safely. As soon as you have a tire problem, pull to a safe area well off the road. Driving on a compromised tire can destroy it. However, if you need to for safety’s sake, you may continue to drive slowly to get to a safe place. Tires can be replaced, your life cannot. If you can, find shade and flat pavement. • Set up reflective devices. Set up flares, triangles, or cones, as described in the tire-changing kit. • Assess the damage. Check the affected tire, and decide whether you have the tools and skills to To prevent your trailer from rolling, move to the side of your trailer opposite the damaged tire, and push chocks under the tire facing downhill. For added security, chock the other tire on that side of your trailer. Then chock the undamaged tire on the drive-on jack (shown).

After you remove the tire, inspect the lug studs for any thread damage.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

fix or replace it. To check wiring destruction and brake lines, look for oily fluid on the road next to the tire and wires hanging from the underside. Other signs are locked-up brakes and if the trailer sensor in your truck says the brakes are disconnected. • Call for emergency roadside assistance. If you find complications, such as multiple blowouts, or destruction of wiring or brake lines—and/or if you don’t have the proper tools or knowledge to safely get back on the road, call USRider for emergency roadside assistance.

How to Change a Tire Step 1. Remove the hubcap. Remove the hubcap using a screwdriver or a hubcap-removal


Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts before driving your trailer onto the drive-on jack.

While the tire is off, look for any damage or maintenance issues in the wheel well, electrical or brake system, or the spindle.


Spring 2018


After you replace the tire and roll off the jack, tighten the lug nuts with the wrench. tool. You’ll then be able to see the hub and lug nuts on the wheel. Step 2. Start to loosen the lug nuts. You’ll have better leverage if you loosen the lug nuts before driving your trailer onto the driveon jack. Spray lubricant onto the base of each lug nut until the lubricant gets down to the lug stud. (Avoid getting lubricant on your fingers—it’ll make them slippery.) Loosen the lug nuts about four turns until you can loosen them with your fingers, then stop. Step 3. Drive onto the jack. Drive your trailer’s good tire on the same side as the damaged tire onto the drive-on jack. (If you’re using a jack and jack stand, lift the trailer on the same side as the damaged tire.) When the good tire is solidly parked on top of the drive-on jack (or safely balanced on the jack and jack stand), apply the emergency brake, put your truck in Park, and pull the keys out of the ignition. Step 4. Apply chocks. To prevent your trailer from rolling, move to the side of your trailer opposite the damaged tire, and push chocks under the tire facing

downhill (both front and back). For added security, chock the other tire on that side of your trailer. Then chock the undamaged tire on the drive-on jack (both front and back). Step 5. Remove the lug nuts. Finish removing the lug nuts, and lubricate the lug studs again. Tip: Use the hubcap to contain the lug nuts. Step 6. Remove the damaged tire. Carefully slide the tire toward you, off the lug studs, without putting [I]any[I] body part under the trailer or tire. Note that the tire will be very heavy—don’t strain your back.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Step 7. Inspect the wheel well. Inspect the wheel well for any damage to the electrical lines, brake lines, or even the spindle, especially if the tire was destroyed. Inspect the lug studs for thread damage. Step 8. Lift the spare tire into place. Check to ensure that the tire is correctly facing the lug studs, then lift it into place, carefully setting it onto the studs. Step 9. Replace the lug nuts. Replace the lug nuts, and tighten them with your fingers. Then tighten them lightly with the lug wrench in a star pattern or by opposites. This process tightens the tire evenly and avoids cross-threading the lug nuts on the studs. It also ensures the tire goes all the way onto the studs. Step 10. Roll trailer off the jack. Remove the chocks. Using your tow vehicle, slowly roll your trailer backward off the drive-up jack. (Or, carefully remove the jack and jack stand.) Step 11. Tighten the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench again, as tight as is comfortable for you. Step 12. Retighten the lug nuts. After you travel 50 miles, or the next day, retighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench to set the amount of torque applied to the tightened nut. USR

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.


Spring 2018

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.

------------ HAULINGHINTS------------

The Open Road Use these expert guidelines to make sure your rig is ready to hit the open road this travel season. By Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve

You’ve invested in the right trailer for your horse and are planning your equestrian travel for the year. But is your rig ready for travel on the open road this season? Here, we’ll tell you how to ensure your vehicle has the capacity to tow your fully loaded trailer and give you hitch-safety guidelines. We’ll also give you a rig-safely checklist. Along the way, we’ll detail two essential kits to carry in your tow vehicle.

Towing Capacity PHOTO BY CATE LAMM

To determine whether you have enough towing capacity to pull your trailer, match your tow vehicle to your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Your tow vehicle must have the right pulling power, curb weight, and wheelbase (the distance from the front axle to the rear axle) to haul your trailer safely. To determine whether you have enough towing capacity to pull your trailer, match your tow vehicle to your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.


Spring 2018


The GVWR isn’t the actual curb weight; it’s the limit as to what your trailer can weigh and still be safe as stated by the manufacturer. You’ll find this information on the Certificate of Origin, the title, or on an informational sticker on your trailer. A typical two-horse tag-along trailer, with or without a dressing room, will have a GVWR of 7,000 pounds. This means it has two 3,500-pound axles. (The GVWR could be a little more if the manufacturer figured in tongue weight.) Most standard two-horse gooseneck trailers will have a GVWR of 7,000 or 10,400 pounds. The larger and heavier your trailer, the stronger the axle will be, increasing the GVWR. In most cases, the actual weight of a fully loaded trailer never exceeds the GVWR (if it does, it’s illegal and unsafe) and often will be quite a bit less. Have your fully loaded trailer weighed so you know the actual weight. Use the actual weight, plus 15 percent, as a guideline when choosing your tow vehicle, so you’ll have a safety margin. Some small SUVs and trucks have a rear axle/engine combination set to fully maximize pulling power. However, they don’t have the weight and wheelbase to handle those weights well. Horses are “live” weight and will shift around in your trailer. You don’t want the “tail wagging the dog.” Longer wheelbases make your tow vehicle more stable by preventing the front end from floating (the feeling of bouncing from front to back). A weight-distribution system will help stabilize a tow vehicle with a shorter wheelbase. The


Your tow vehicle has to have the right pulling power, curb weight, and wheelbase to haul your trailer safely heavier the vehicle, the better it can handle the weight behind it. But be careful—you can overdo your tow vehicle, causing a severely mismatched rig, such as using a heavy,

spring-loaded one-ton dually to pull a light two-horse trailer with one or two small horses. This rig assembly would provide a rough ride.

Essential Kits Keep a toolkit and emergency kit in your tow vehicle at all times. Here’s what to include. Toolkit. On the road, you’ll need a drive-on jack and wheel chocks to PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO change a tire. Your toolKeep a toolkit and emergency kit in your box should include a tire tow vehicle at all times. gauge, screwdrivers, an electric wiring kit/tester, a hammer, adjustable pliers, various sizes of adjustable wrenches (you may need to adjust the gooseneck coupler), a cheater bar (to give you more leverage for stuck bolts), a lug nut wrench for the wheels, duct tape, extra license plate bolts, Gorilla glue, rope, and bungee cords. Emergency kit. In this kit, keep such items as flares, triangles, cones, a fire extinguisher, jumper cables, extra fuses, WD-40, a sharp knife, bucket and sponge, water, extra lead ropes and halters, gloves, flashlight with extra batteries, horse-health paperwork, and equine and human first-aid kits.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Spring 2018

Hitch-Safety Guidelines For a tag-along (bumper-pull) trailer, use a frame-mounted hitch, not a ball on the bumper. The frame-mounted hitch is rated for how much it can hold (tongue weight) and how much it can pull (carrying weight). This rating is separate from what the tow vehicle can haul. For example, your tow vehicle may be able to pull 16,000 pounds, but the frame-mounted hitch might only be rated to carry 4,000 pounds. Ratings are usually located on a sticker on the hitch itself. The sticker will list two sets of ratings: weight carrying and weight distribution. The weight-carrying rating is the one you’ll use for a slide-in ball mount. The weight-distribution rating is almost always higher than the weight-carrying rating. You’ll use this set of ratings when you use a large, slide-in weight-distribution ball mount that allows two 30-inch steel bars (often mistakenly called sway bars) to attach from the ball mount to the trailer frame. These bars latch into a snap-up bracket on the trailer frame. The ball and the slide-in mount are also rated and should be equal to or greater than the hitch rating. Now that you’re familiar with the ratings, check the nut that secures the ball onto the ball mount to make sure it’s tight, and check the pin that secures the slidein ball mount to the frame-mounted hitch. Also, make sure the ball size matches the coupler size on your trailer. A 25/16-inch coupler put onto a 2-inch ball will pop off at the first good pothole. Cross your trailer’s two safety chains, and attach them to slots on the frame-mounted hitch on the sides of the tube receiver for the ball mount. After you attach the chains, connect the electrical plug. After hooking up with a gooseneck hitch, make sure the coupler is locked or latched. You can check this by raising the gooseneck while your trailer is hitched to make sure it doesn’t come up off the ball. PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


To check the trailer lights, first insert the trailer plug into your tow vehicle’s receptacle, and start the engine. There are various types of gooseneck hitches from which to choose. Most brands will have a way to remove the ball when not in use, such as one that will flip down into the bed out of the way or one that can be removed. Make sure that the gooseneck hitch rating is enough to pull your loaded trailer safely. A professional hitch installer will most likely know how to install it for you, but know that the ball should always be mounted slightly ahead of your truck’s rear axle, never behind it. After hooking up, make sure the coupler is locked or latched. You can check this by raising the gooseneck while your trailer is hitched to make sure it doesn’t come up off the ball. Your gooseneck hitch will have two places to hook the safety chains; these are located on both sides near the ball.

Rig-Safety Checklist Perform this rig-safety check the day before you haul your horse. Laminate this checklist and keep it in your tow vehicle to keep it handy. ■ Check fluids. Park your tow vehicle on a level area, and set the parking brake. Check all the fluids (oil, transmission, brake, power steering, coolant, battery, and windshield washer). ■ Check the tire pressure. Check the tire pressure on all tires. Make sure they’re at the recommend pounds per square inch (PSI) when cold. Recheck the >>


Spring 2018

tire pressure before you head back from your trip. It’s very possible that a tire could get punctured while you’re on the road. With rubber torsion suspension (found on most all trailers), you can’t always tell if the tire is flat by looking at it, because the front tire holds up the back one. ■ Check the electrical cord. Insert the trailer plug into your tow vehicle’s receptacle, and start the engine. On a tag-along trailer, if the cord is tight from the trailer to the plug, it might pull out of the receptacle. If so, have it lengthened. If it’s too long, it might drag on the ground. If so loop it up, out of the way. Electrical cords on most new goosenecks will be long enough to reach the rear plug located under the rear bumper. If the cord doesn’t reach, you’ll need to have an electrical connection mounted in your truck bed or have the cord lengthened.



Check all the running lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Check the interior lights, which often aren’t pre-wired on the tow vehicle’s plug. ■ Check the lights. Check all the running lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Check the interior lights, which often aren’t pre-wired on the tow vehicle’s plug. ■ Check the brakes. Drive your rig slowly forward while operating the brake controller by hand until

Work all the ramps and doors to make sure the work easily and latch well.

the brakes grab to ensure they’re working. Then use the brake pedal to make sure they work through your system, and adjust according to the loaded weight. They should activate slightly before the brakes on your tow vehicle. ■ Check the ramps and doors. On your trailer, work all the ramps and doors to make sure they work easily and latch well. ■ Check the stalls. Walk through the stalls, and feel for sharp edges and protrusions that could put your horse in harm’s way. Check the window frames, bar guards, butt/breast bar brackets, dividers, etc. ■ Remove the dividers. If the dividers and center posts are removable, practice removing them to make sure you can do it quickly and easily in case you have an emergency. Do this again after extended use of your trailer — sometimes, things settle and stick. ■ Check for insects. Make sure there are no wasp nests or other insects residing in the trailer that could spook your horse. ■ Inspect the trailer exterior. If you’ll be tying your horse to the outside of your trailer, check the area for sharp edges and protrusions that could harm your horse. ■ Practice securing the butt bar. Practice securing and pinning the butt bar. The faster you can do this when loading your horse, the less time you’ll spend behind him. 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 horse-trailer 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.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018


On-the-Road Veterinary Care

If your horse suffers an injury or illness while you’re traveling, follow these steps to arrange optimal veterinary care. By Jessica Jahiel, PhD



USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018

treatment on the road, pull this folder, and be ready to give it to the emergency vet. (After the vet treats your horse, update your horse’s medical records to reflect all diagnostic tests, treatment, and medications he received.)

Step 3. Take your horse’s vital signs. For a downloadable


When the vet arrives, stand back, and let him or her assess the situation. Hand over your horse’s medical records, then answer any questions as thoroughly as you can. You’re on the road with your horse, in an unfamiliar place, when your horse suddenly pulls up lame. Or, he becomes injured. Or colics. Or comes down with a mysterious illness. You’re miles from home—and your familiar veterinarian. What should you do? First, stay calm. Then follow these steps to find a reputable vet, ensure optimal care for your horse, and keep your own vet updated so he or she can follow your horse’s progress.

Step 1. Find a veterinarian.

Finding a reputable vet is your first concern. If you’re with local riders, ask them who to call. If you’re on your own, use your laptop or mobile device to locate the nearest equine veterinarian. USRider Equestrian Motor Plan offers emergency trip-interruption veterinarian referral services to members. Another good resource is the American Association of Equine Practitioners; this organization’s Get-A-DVM feature allows you to fill in any city and state, and get the names of AAEP members. You can also try to reach your own veterinarian for a referral.

Step 2. Pull your horse’s medical records. Whenever you leave home, no matter how short of a trip, take your horse’s medical records. If they’re on your computer, print out the records so you have them handy no matter where you are. These records include your horse’s current Coggins test (for equine infectious anemia), vaccination records, deworming records (including products used), and his baseline vital signs. Baseline vital signs are those taken when your horse is home, healthy, and rested. If your horse is insured, keep handy all equine-insurance information (company, agent, and hotline number). Also include the basics: Your horse’s age, breed, gender, and use. Include notes on your horse’s normal eating and drinking habits, a list of any medicines and supplements he’s receiving, his disposition (calm/laid-back vs. nervous/ excitable, aggressive vs. passive, etc.), his farrier records, and anything else that might be useful for a vet to know about your horse. If your horse requires veterinary

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


PDF on how to take your horse’s vital signs, from USRider’s sister publication, EQUUS, click here. Take your horse’s temperature, pulse, and respiration. Also give him a capillary-refill test: Press down on his gums, and see how long it takes for them to return to their normal color. (It shouldn’t take longer than two seconds.) The emergency vet can then compare your horse’s vital signs with the baseline records. If your horse appears to be colicking, listen for gut sounds on both sides of his abdomen with a stethoscope. You want to hear rumbles of a healthy gut; faint sounds or silence can indicate a potentially life-threatening colic. Seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Step 4. Keep your horse calm. You can do almost anything

with your horse provided that you can keep him calm. On the other hand, if he’s in pain, afraid, and/ or agitated, he can quickly become resistant and uncooperative. Some horses become even more agitated when being handled by a stranger. Help your horse stay calm by remaining quiet and calm yourself. Your instinctive reaction may be to hyperventilate and talk fast, but this is the last thing you want to do. Instead, breathe deeply, and speak slowly in a low voice. This will tell your horse that you’re neither upset nor angry, and all is well. >> Spring 2018

You’re the other half of your horse’s herd—his reactions will be strongly influenced by your calm presence, both while waiting for the vet, and during diagnosis and treatment.

Step 5. Communicate clearly. The emergency vet will want to know what made you call; that is, what signs of distress you observed and how long you’ve observed these signs. The vet will also want to know what you see at that moment and your horse’s current vital signs. Report, according to your best estimate, when your horse


The emergency vet will want to know what made you call; that is, what signs of distress you observed and how long you’ve observed these signs.


You’re likely accustomed to vets who make farm calls, treat your horse, and send you a bill. In an on-the-road emergency, expect to pay in full on the spot. last ate, drank water, urinated, and passed manure. If there was an accident, be prepared to report what happened, and what time it happened. If your horse seems ill, report when you first noticed there was a problem. Tell the vet about any first-aid measures you took while waiting for help. Ask whether you can offer your horse water and feed while you wait. You’ll likely be asked not to administer any drugs until the vet has seen your horse. When the vet arrives, stand back, and let him or her assess the situation. Hand over your horse’s medical records, then answer any questions as thoroughly as you can. Be specific. Your horse’s records will help the vet accurately assess your horse’s condition. For example, knowing that your horse is usually energetic will help the vet know that your horse’s apparent calm demeanor isn’t typical and may indicate shock and/or blood loss. Step 6. Pay in full. You’re likely accustomed to vets who make farm calls, treat your horse, and send you a bill. In an on-the-road emergency, expect to pay in full on the spot. Most vets and veterinary clinics take credit cards, and most will give you an estimate for any diagnostic tests required followed by another estimate for treatment.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


You might be asked to fill out an emergency-care form with information about your horse and yourself, as well as your signed promise to pay. Don’t see this as insulting in any way. Of course you intend to pay, but the vet doesn’t know you. It’s a precaution that enables him or her to stay in business. Step 7. Follow up. No matter what your horse requires in terms of immediate diagnostic tests and treatment, be sure you understand fully the immediate follow-up care you’ll need to give your horse until you reach home. Ask for specific, detailed instructions—you’ll want to take the best possible care of your horse until you can see your regular vet. Call your horse’s regular vet immediately, and make an appointment for follow-up care as soon as possible after you return. The emergency vet’s discharge record will describe exactly what was done, thus allowing your regular vet to evaluate your horse’s progress. USR Jessica Jahiel, PhD (, is an internationally recognized clinician and lecturer, and an award-winning author of books on horses, riding, and training. Her email newsletter ( is a popular worldwide resource.

Spring 2018

Horses teach us extraordinary lessons... They teach us to trust, to have compassion, to love, to fight, to hold on to hope. At Hope in the Saddle, our mission is to share some of the most meaningful and important stories to emerge from the equestrian world—stories of how our relationships with horses help us overcome life’s toughest challenges. What lessons has your horse taught you?


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

Inclement-Weather Driving Spring can be a beautiful time to travel with your horse, but this time of year is also notorious for inclement weather that can quickly sneak up on you, especially in higher altitudes. To better prepare, keep your eyes on the sky, and check the weather forecasts for developing weather conditions. If conditions really deteriorate, stay home. If you’re on the road, find a safe place to sit out the storm. As a horse owner, you might get caught in inclement weather—such as driving rain, dense fog, slick mud, and light snow—despite your best efforts. Or, the need to be on the road (such as an emergency trip to the veterinarian) might outweigh challenging weather conditions. Here are 10 safe-driving tips to follow when you must haul your horse in inclement weather.

4. Turn off cruise control. Turn off cruise con-

trol when hauling in all but the best of conditions; it can compromise manual control. 5. Turn on the lights. Leave your trailer and tow-vehicle lights on at all times, day and night. 6. Drive with a friend. It’s helpful to have a friend along to help you when driving in in risky road conditions. He or she can navigate, watch the road and weather conditions, check on your horse from the in-cab monitor, and guide you as you back up and maneuver in tight spots so you can concentrate just on driving. 7. Go slow. In hazardous conditions, go as slow as you need to. Run your hazard lights, if necessary. Let the rest of the traffic go around you—your top priority is the safety of you, your horse, and your passengers. Driving a trailer is no place for road rage or frustration to set in—take your time and breathe. 8. Be considerate. Turn on your hazard lights when you’re moving slower than the traffic around you; move into the right lane except to pass. (This is not only a safety precaution, it’s also the law.) 9. Brake smoothly. If you must brake hard, do so as smoothly as possible; use the trailer brakes to assist your tow vehicle. 10. Regain control. If you start to skid or slide, ease off the brakes immediately and steer into the Spring is notorious for inclement weather, such as fog, that direction of the skid to regain control. This reaction can quickly sneak up on you as you haul your horse, especial- isn’t intuitive. Practice this skill until you react autoly in higher altitudes. matically. —Rebecca Gimenez, PhD 1. Check the trailer brakes. Ensure your trailer brakes complement your tow-vehicles brakes; consult the manufacturer’s instructions. 2. Turn off the engine brake. In icy and wet conditions, turn off the compression release engine brake (also called a Jake brake), a mechanism installed on some diesel engines. Engine brakes slow the tow vehicle and trailer to minimize brake wear under dry conditions, but in slick conditions, they can lead to a trailer jackknife, since they slow the tow vehicle initially. 3. Position the electronic brake. Position the As a horse owner, you might get caught in driving rain and electronic brake where you can manually engage it via slick conditions despite your best efforts to avoid such the thumb control. conditions. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018

Peace of Mind WITH EVERY MEMBERSHIP 24/7 Nationwide Roadside Assistance for You and Your Horse

Benefits includes: • • • • • •

Up to 100 miles of towing Emergency stabling assistance Emergency veterinarian referrals Emergency farrier referrals Coverage in any vehicle Service on dual-wheeled vehicles and horse trailers • Discounts on tack, travel, accessories and more!


WWW.USRIDER.ORG (800) 844-1409

Administered by Nation Motor Club Inc., DBA Nation Safe Drivers


Spring Things

Top products for the equestrian traveler. Fast-Dry Towel

Sheepskin Seatbelt-Strap Pad

Spring showers call for a quickdry towel for both you and your horse. Discovery Trekking Outfitter’s Ultra Fast-dry Travel and Sports Towel is made from a quick-drying, stay-soft, lightweight performance fabric. Safe, odor-resistant technology discourages bacterial growth, keeping the towel fresher between washes. The towel is available in aqua, black, lime, navy, orange, purple, red, and royal and in sizes S (16-by-28 inches), M (28-by-34 inches), and L (34-by-58 inches).

Enhance your driving comfort for spring travels with the Merino Sheepskin Seat Belt Shoulder Strap Pad from JMS Products USA. The 4-by-12-inch pad wraps easily around most flat straps up to 2 inches wide and closes with a hook-and-loop fastener. Measure around your seatbelt straps before ordering; special orders available via email. The pad is available in black, burgundy, chocolate brown, green, ivory, navy, red, silver grey, tan, and white.


Mud-Flap Kit Without a barrier, debris and mud can damage your trailer while you’re on the road. Inventive Products’ XD Mud Flap fits all standard hitches with a 2-by-2-inch receiver. (The XD Large Receiver Kit fits hitches with a 2½-by-2½-inch receiver.) Each flap measures 24-by-24 inches, and adjusts vertically and horizontally to fit any vehicle. Easy to install.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Odor-Control Concentrate Odor and potentially harmful fumes, especially ammonia, can build up in your trailer and in show barns. Bye Bye Odor, by Spalding Laboratories, contains four microbes that consume odors’ elements and convert them into odorfree, harmless elements. The natural, nontoxic microbial solution is specially formulated to substantially reduce or eliminate ammonia levels from your horse’s urine and manure. The 4-ounce concentrate makes 2 to 3 gallons of solution.


Spring 2018

------------ 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 a 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 Winner’s Circle Partners. With so many discounts, you can easily save the cost of your annual membership fee, and more! This issue, we spotlight a notable horse park and three hotels in the Travel category. For more information on each of these destinations, and for more Member discounts, click here.

Kentucky Horse Park Plan to visit the Kentucky Horse Park whenever you pass through scenic Central Kentucky or participate in an equestrian event here. Peruse the International Museum of the Horse. Attend special equine exhibitions. View striking bronze statues of such equine legends as Man o’ War, Secretariat, Alysheba, Bask++, and Misty of Chincoteague. USRider Members receive a discount on general admission and the American Saddlebred Museum. Present your USRider membership card at the gate.

Drury Hotels The Drury Family has provided travelers with clean rooms, friendly service, and a good value for more than 40 years. Family ownership makes Drury Hotels distinctly different, and assures quality and consistency with every stay. Drury offers its guests many free extras, including free Hot Breakfast, the 5:30 Kickback® with free hot food and cold beverages, free wireless Internet access, and more. USRider Members are eligible for discounted room rates.


Hyatt Hotels & Resorts An entirely new level of comfort and productivity—plus extra savings—is now available worldwide at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. Through The Hyatt Company Travel Program, USRider Members receive a 10% discount off the best available rate at Park Hyatt™, Grand Hyatt™ Hotels, Hyatt Regency™ Hotels, Hyatt Place™, and Hyatt Summerfield Suites™.

Ramada Ramada® now offers nearly 1,000 locations worldwide. Its four tiers of service are: Ramada Plazas, designed for discerning travelers with a contemporary décor; Ramada Inns, offering high-quality hotels for the mid-market traveler; Ramada Hotels, in Canada, located near city centers or airports; and Ramada Limiteds, featuring high-quality accommodations at value prices. As a USRider Member, you’ll receive up to 15% off the best available rate at participating locations. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018

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

Spring Spruce-Up

Tune up your trailer for the travel season with this handy checklist. By Rebecca Gimenez, PhD PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM

Time to tune up your trailer for this season’s towing needs, whether or not you’ve used your trailer during winter months. Here’s a pointby-point spring spruce-up checklist.

Time to tune up your trailer for this season’s towing needs, whether or not you’ve used your trailer during winter months. Here’s a point-by-point spring spruce-up checklist. ■ Check all tires. Check all trailer tires and spares; they should have good tread (at least one-quarter inch) and filled with air to the tire manufacturer’s recommendation; low tire pressure is a major cause of blowouts. Tires should also be free of dry rot and weak spots.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2018


■ Invest in spares. Stow at least two spare trailer tires; a blowout can damage other tires. ■ Rotate your tires. Tire rotation will even out the tread wear. While the tires are off to be rotated, lubricate the wheel bearings. Make sure the axle ends have minimal signs of wear so you don’t lose a tire and wheel. ■ Check the brakes. The brake pads/shoes might need to be replaced. Turn the drums/ rotors at least every 10,000 miles; more often if they stick, make unusual noises, or aren’t properly braking your trailer. ■ Tighten the lug nuts. When replacing the tires, tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s suggested level manually so that you can loosen them in an emergency with a lug wrench roadside. Make sure they aren’t rusted or stripped. ■ Remove the mats. Wrestle the mats out of the trailer. For mat-managing help, use an EZ-Grip Mat Mover. Keep in mind that mats are usually cut to fit and have to go back in the same order as they come out. ■ Clean the mats. Scrape, sweep, and hose out the dust, sweat, and urine from the trailer mats. You can use any standard cleaning product to get down to a cleaned surface, then use a pH stabilizing product to finish the job. Add dry baking soda under the mats to minimize odors and the acidic effect of urine. ■ Check the floorboards. While the mats are out, make sure the floorboards are secured with screws, not just sitting on the metal channel. Use a screwdriver to check for weak places or rot in wood; replace flawed boards. Replace wood floors every 10 to 15 years (depending on use, climate, and storage conditions) with treated wood. Or use Rumber for lifetime replacement. Even metal floors and frames can rust or corrode, so check the frame where the boards are attached to ensure there are no pinholes or weak spots that could fail under travel conditions. ■ Lubricate the metal. With spray lubricant, lubricate every metal part in your trailer, such as latches, hinges, pins, etc. This minimizes rust development and minimizes the noise your horse is exposed to in the trailer. For further

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

noise reduction, tape down anything that hangs, bumps, jiggles, or swings. ■ Replace the mats. Now you can replace the trailer mats. ■ Check the lights. Make sure all the lights work (parking, running, flashers, brake, and turn signals). Check for loose wires that need to be tied up inside and under the trailer, or any exposed or rubbed wires that might need a coat of electric tape or replacement. Brake and light problems are usually traced to a short somewhere under your trailer. ■ Apply reflective tape. Place reflective tape all over your trailer’s back and side panels. That red-and-white stripe is not enough to signal to passers-by that you’re stopped on the road in a rainstorm! Also apply the tape to the inside of the back doors and ramp. That way, if you have to open the doors, you can still be seen. ■ Check the emergency-brake-controller battery. This battery is crucial! If your tow vehicle and trailer separate, it initiates the brakes to stop your trailer. Invest in a system that bleeds power to the battery to charge it at all times. Make sure the plastic switch is in good condition and that the cable is connected to your tow vehicle’s frame. ■ Check the brake controller. Verify that your brake controller is working. Check the manufacturer’s instructions. These instructions will usually ask you to drive at a slow speed towing your empty trailer, then engage only the trailer brakes. That way, you can adjust the brakes to a setting that complements the action of your tow vehicle. When you load your horses, adjust the setting to match the load. ■ Level your trailer. Is the trailer level? If your hitch is set too high or too low, you’ll have difficulty controlling your trailer. Plus, your horse will be standing at an angle, which will stress his joints. ■ Replenish emergency supplies. Does your thermometer work? Can you locate your stethoscope? Is your EpiPen still good? Replenish all your emergency supplies, and add extra tack and tack-repair materials for those unexpected moments when something breaks. USR


Spring 2018

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

Alone No More “By having a USRider membership, I no longer feel like I’m on my own and alone when I run into problems on the road,” says this Morgan Horse owner. Read on for her story. By Sharon Gray

Sharon Gray drives long distances to keep her young Morgan Horse, Yankee, in training. My young, green-broke Morgan (Yankee) and I were on our way to my trainer’s farm for a clinic very early one Saturday morning. I lived just north of Biloxi, Mississippi, and my trainer lived in southern Alabama, on the other side of the Mobile Bay Bridge. Everything went fine until I hit Mobile. Just before I reached the Mobile Bay Bridge, another driver flashed his lights and USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


pulled me over. Something had overheated, and there was a lot of smoke coming from underneath my truck! I pulled off the interstate and started driving around Mobile, Alabama, randomly hoping that I’d come across someplace that would help me on a Saturday morning. I finally found a garage, but had to hang out for a couple of Spring 2018


hours while waiting my turn. Fortunately, it was a cool morning, so I was able to open the trailer doors and let Yankee feel the breeze. But being stuck waiting was a very lonely feeling! And, frankly, no one cared that I was sitting in the parking lot with a horse in my trailer. Finally, the mechanics determined that my transmission was overheating and sent me to another garage, where I had to wait again. Then the attendant said there was nothing they could do on a Saturday. He told me to just drive slowly and cautiously, and I would “probably” be okay. I hopped on the interstate heading south to get back onto the interstate. I seriously thought about just heading home after the five-hour ordeal, but I decided to go on over to my trainer’s farm instead. I finally arrived—about six hours late. Yankee wasn’t happy that he’d had to stand in the trailer for so long. And I was totally frazzled. In fact, I ended up with a broken arm that afternoon.

‘Fabulous Care’ Fast forward about 10 years. I’m now a member of USRider® Equestrian Motor Plan and live near

Macon, Georgia. Yankee and I were on the way home from my trainer’s place near Gainesville, Florida. We stopped at the Florida-Georgia border for gas and food. After I came out of the truck stop, my truck wouldn’t start! I called USRider, and they offered to send a provider that would tow the truck, trailer, Yankee, my friend, and me all the way home— about 65 miles! However, it turned out there was a repair shop nearby that was open on a Sunday afternoon. USRider talked to them, and the service provider towed us into one of their bays ahead of the big rigs they were working on. They even put a huge shop fan on Yankee to keep him cool. The repair personnel also offered to let me unload Yankee so he could graze, but I was too concerned about offloading him right then. They were totally concerned about him and wanted to do whatever they could to make sure we were all comfortable. Then they immediately jumped on the repair work. They took fabulous care of us and got us back on the road in less than two hours. USRider picked up the towing and kept checking back

“The repair personnel took fabulous care of us and got us back on the road in less than two hours,” says happy USRider Member Sharon Gray. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Sharon Gray and her Morgan, Yankee, at Dragon’s Lair Farm in Newberry Florida. “Being a woman who travels alone most of the time, it’s a great feeling not to be helpless,” says Gray of her USRider membership. to make sure we were taken care of. About two years later, I was heading back to the same trainer near Gainesville. I was driving south on I-75, only two exits away from where we’d leave the highway, when I felt the trailer start to fishtail. Sure enough, I had a trailer-tire blowout! I pulled off the interstate and called USRider. They found someone to change the tire, and we were back on the road within the hour!

‘A Great Feeling’ Each time I’ve had to call USRider, the one thing that always impresses me is how they answer the phone. They don’t say, “USRider, how may I help you?” They ask, “Are you and your horses safe?” Then they keep calling back to make sure I’m being well taken care of, that the service providers have shown up, etc. By having a USRider membership, I no longer feel like I’m on my own and alone when I run into problems on the road. I know that help is only as far away as the phone! And being a woman who travels alone most of the time, it’s a great feeling not to be helpless. Thank you, USRider! Keep up the great work. USR Spring 2018

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

Southwestern Jewel

This spring, hitch up, head to Tonto National Forest, and ride the scenic Arizona Trail. Story and Photos by Kent & Charlene Krone

Arizona’s Tonto National Forest embraces three million acres of rugged, scenic landscapes ranging from cactus-studded deserts to pine-clad mountains. Shown is Kent Krone aboard his Missouri Fox Trotter gelding, Cowboy, silhouetted in the setting sun.

While riding the Arizona Trail and exploring Tonto National Forest, plan to stay with your horse overnight at King Stable, a horse camp in nearby Apache Junction. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Arizona’s Tonto National Forest embraces three million acres of rugged, scenic landscapes ranging from cactus-studded deserts to pine-clad mountains. Ranging in elevation from 1,300 feet in the Sonoran Desert to 8,000 feet on the Mogollon Rim, Tonto provides year-round recreational opportunities. The Arizona Trail is 800 miles long, stretching from Mexico to Utah. We enjoy riding on the Arizona Trail North. On >> this ride you’ll enjoy solitude, spectacular Spring 2018

Kent Krone rides Cowboy out of King Stable. The spires of the Superstition Mountains are seen in the distance.

The Arizona Trail is 800 miles long, stretching from Mexico to Utah. We enjoy riding with friends on the Arizona Trail North. Here, Charlene Krone and Nate bring up the rear.

scenery, and the ever-changing trail. Plan to stay overnight at King Stable, a horse camp in nearby Apache Junction (480/204-4833). To find the Arizona Trail North trailhead, drive to Florence Junction, southeast of Phoenix. Then proceed east on U.S. Route 60 to Milepost 222. Look for the sign to Rd. 357. Turn left on this road, and drive a short distance. Pull into the second parking lot to access the Arizona Trail. Our riding day was filled with golden sunshine; the sky was a crystalline blue. From the parking lot,

the Arizona Trail North is right over the railroad tracks. We headed out at a good clip aboard our Missouri Fox Trotter geldings, Cowboy and Nate. The trail gradually climbs to a ridge that offers overviews of Potts Canyon framed by the Superstition Mountains in the distance. After following the ridge for a while, the trail descends into another canyon, where it winds its way through old creek beds and tunnels under a canopy of mesquite trees. Mother Nature had quite a time with the canyon walls! Vivid hues of scarlet and gold were boldly

Day riders at the Arizona Trail North trailhead.

Charlene Krone and riding buddy Jerry Johnson pause at a cool running stream—a rarity in the desert.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


splashed across looming rock palettes. Streaks of gray, black, and brown cascaded randomly down. This masterpiece of color was texturized with clumps of cacti, shrubbery, and golden-green lichen. We paused to soak in the scenery. After seven miles, we reached an old cowboy camp consisting of corrals, a large cistern, and small line shack. We tied our horses, grabbed our lunches, and headed for the shade of a large cottonwood tree. This is a great place to stop for lunch before riding back to the trailhead. USR

Spring 2018

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.