USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion-Spring 2020

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Equestrian Traveler’s


Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource Spring 2020

Must-Have Equine-Travel Documents Equine Nutrition: From Fat to Fit How to Prevent a Tire Blowout An AIM Equine Network Publication

Used-TrailerShopping Checklist Ride the Adirondack Foothills

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANION Spring 2020

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

FEATURES 10 Safe Travels Equine Travel Papers

14 Hauling Hints Blowout!

18 Your Healthy Horse From Fat to Fit

22 USRider Member Story Hurricane Emergency

DEPARTMENTS 4 Trip Tips Expert Travel Help

6 Skill Set Prepare for the Worst

8 Handy Checklist Used-Trailer Shopping Tips

24 Road Gear Travel Essentials

26 Winner’s Circle Advantage USRider® Member Benefit Spotlight - Rental Cars


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

AIM Equine Network is a division of Active Interest Media. Its stable of award-winning magazines includes EQUUS, Horse&Rider, Practical Horseman, and The Team Roping Journal. 2

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

Tie a Mud-Knot This spring, avoid a muddy tail at home and on the road with a simple mud knot. California hunter/jumper trainer Andrea Scott Klug shows you how.


Step 1. Holding the tail in your left hand, put your right arm underneath the tail.




Step 2. Loop your right hand back over the outside of the tail in a clockwise direction, and bring your hand underneath the tail so that the tail is looped around your lower arm.


Step 3. Hook the end of the tail between the first two fingers of your right hand, and pull the end through the opening you’ve created with your arm in slipknot fashion.


Step 4. Give a jerk on the end that’s still in your right hand to tighten the knot, which at this point should be about four inches below the end of the tailbone.

Step 5. Fold the knot that you’ve created up to the end of the tailbone, wrapping the end of the tail around the tailbone and tucking it in.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Step 6. Finish the job by putting a rubber band or tape around the tailbone at the top of the knot. Spring 2020



Infection Protection Colorado State University veterinarians remind traveling equestrians to take steps that will help prevent the spread of equine infectious disease. Thwart infection by understanding and watching for symptoms of illness. Paul Morley, DVM, PhD, director of infection control at CSU’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, recommends that equestrian travelers take the following steps. • Prepare for a trip. Before your trip, thoroughly clean and disinfect your trailer, and talk to your veterinarian about your horse’s health, vaccinations, diseases of concern, and any other relevant issues. Pack all the cleaning equipment and health supplies you’ll need on the road. • Don’t share. Contagious diseases are transmitted through contact—meaning direct nose-to-nose contact among horses, as well as your horse’s contact with surfaces that an infected animal might have contaminated with saliva, respiratory secretions, or manure. Don’t borrow or share any tack, grooming supplies, or feeding or watering equipment. • Create a clean environment. During a ride or event, separate your horse from other horses. Set up portable panels to confine your horse. If there’s a stall well away from other horses, fully clean and disinfect the site before housing your horse. • Monitor your horse for signs of illness. During a ride or event, keep tabs on your horse’s temperature, monitor feed and water intake, and watch for other signs of illness. • Segregate the traveling horse. A traveling horse may be incubating illness. Upon returning home, keep him apart from PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO others for five to seven Prepare for a trip by thordays. Monitor him for any oughly cleaning your trailer illness that might arise and consulting with your before returning him to veterinarian about your the home herd. horse’s health, vaccinations, — Courtesy of Colorado diseases of concern, and any State University other relevant issues. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Use these eight smart ways from USRider to save fuel when you trailer your horse.

Save Fuel Use these eight smart ways to save fuel when you trailer your horse, courtesy of USRider. 1. Maintain your tow vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel than one maintained haphazardly. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve fuel mileage by as much as 10 percent. Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve fuel mileage by as much as 40 percent. 2. Check tires. Check tire pressure regularly to maintain optimum air pressure, and have the wheels aligned regularly to prevent tires from dragging. 3. Use the right motor oil. A grade of motor oil that’s lower or higher than the manufacturer’s recommendation can lower your fuel mileage. Also, look for “energy conserving” motor oil that contains friction-reducing additives. 4. Drive gently. Avoid aggressive driving, and observe the speed limit. Fuel mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Stop slowly, and avoid jackrabbit starts. 5. Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. 6. Use overdrive gears. Overdrive typically causes the engine speed to decrease. This saves fuel and reduces engine wear. 7. Use high gears. High gears achieve the lowest engine rotations per minute (RPMs). This will generate adequate power to maintain road speed while hauling a load. 8. Keep the A/C on. The aerodynamic drag caused by keeping the windows open uses fuel. Unless you’re driving at slow speeds, rolling down the windows costs as much as, if not more than, turning on the air conditioning. Spring 2020

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Prepare for the Worst


Trailering emergencies, such as a traffic accident, can happen to anybody at any time. Whatever the emergency, you can greatly influence the outcome by being prepared. When it comes to trailering your horse, keep in mind Zig Ziglar’s sage advice: “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst.” Trailering emergencies can happen to anybody at any time. Whatever the emergency, you can greatly influence the outcome by being prepared every time you load your horse in your trailer, whether for a trip across town or across the country.

Here, I’ll give you seven types of emergency situations you might encounter while trailering your horse. For each situation, I’ll tell you how to prepare so you can be ready when it happens. By taking the precautions recommended here, you’ll be much more confident in your ability to handle each type of situation until help arrives.

Emergency#1: You’re involved in a traffic accident. How to prepare: An accident can happen at any time. Lessen this risk by being the best and most responsible driver you can be. Enroll in a driving course. Enhance your control by properly setting up your rig, making sure your tow vehicle is rated to tow the weight of your loaded trailer, and using the proper hitch. Carry spare halters and lead ropes in your vehicle or trailer so you’ll be prepared if— heaven forbid—your horse gets loose on the highway.

Emergency #2: You and/or your passengers become injured.


How to prepare: Store a human first-aid kit in your tow vehicle to treat minor injuries. Take first-aid and >>

An accident can happen at any time. Lessen this risk by being the best and most responsible driver you can be. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2020

cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) courses so, if you’re uninjured, you’ll be able to administer first-aid until help arrives.

Emergency #3: You become incapacitated. How to prepare: In extreme situations, you may become incapacitated. Help first responders handle your horse by posting a visible notice in your trailer listing names and numbers to call for help. Also, enter emergency numbers into your cellphone’s conIn case you become incapacitated, tacts under the enter emergency numbers into initials “ICE horse.” your cellphone’s contacts under the (“ICE” stands for initials “ICE horse.” “In Case of Emergency.”)


Lessen the chance of a roadside vehicle breakdown with a pre-trip check of fluid levels and tire condition, and by following a prescribed maintenance schedule.

Emergency #6: Your tow vehicle breaks down. How to prepare: Lessen the chance of a roadside vehicle breakdown with a pre-trip check of fluid levels and tire condition, and by following a prescribed maintenance schedule.

Emergency #4: Your horse becomes injured.

How to prepare: Even if your horse is a seasoned traveler, he can still hurt himself in the trailer or while you’re away from home. Wrap your horse’s legs, and consider other protective equine gear during travel to reduce the possibility of injury. Make sure your trailer is safe. Check for any sharp edges or protrusions inside that could cause injury. Use only removable interior dividers, bars, and center posts, in case you need to get your horse out of a trapped situation. Carry a well-stocked equine first-aid kit so you can tend to his injuries. Ask your veterinarian to teach you emergency-treatment techniques.


If you get stuck in a long traffic jam, especially in hot weather, your horse could become stressed and agitated, and is even at risk for a heat stroke.

Emergency #7: You’re stuck in a long traffic jam.

Emergency #5: You get a flat tire.

How to prepare: If you get stuck in a long traffic jam, especially in hot weather, your horse could become stressed and agitated, and is even at risk for a heat stroke. Check reliable map apps to keep track of problem spots along your route and for suggested alternate routes. Keep 10 to 20 gallons of water on board at all times to help keep your horse cool. Offer him water to drink and, when it’s safe, rinse him off. If you need to, turn around, and head back home. —Neva Kittrell Scheve (

How to prepare: Have a spare tire that’s in good condition so you’ll be able to get back on the road quickly in the event you get a flat tire. In fact, carry at least one spare tire for both your tow vehicle and trailer. Then know how to change flats on both. (For more information on how to prevent a trailer-tire blowout and what to do in the event of a flat tire, see “Blowout!” this issue. For how to change a trailer tire, click here.) USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2020


Used-Trailer Shopping Tips If your budget doesn’t allow for a new horse trailer this year, consider a well-cared-for, well-designed used trailer. Here’s a shopping checklist.


When buying a used trailer, look for a roomy, well-ventilated, well-lit model with a safe, sturdy design.

■ Avoid impulse buys. Don’t buy the first trailer you see. Shop around. The wrong trailer is no deal at any price. ■ Consider your horse. Put your horse’s safety and comfort first. Look at the trailer from his point

of view. Avoid dark, stuffy trailers. Look for a roomy, well-ventilated, well-lit trailer with a safe, sturdy design. ■ Determine the 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 with horses and cargo and be safe to haul. Older, smaller used trailers can have lower GVWRs than larger, newer models. It’s easy to exceed this limit. >>

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2020


Determine the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Older, smaller used trailers can have lower GVWRs than larger, newer models.

Make sure the gooseneck is high enough to clear your truck’s side rails and tailgate.

■ Avoid sharp edges. Inspect the trailer for sharp edges, sharp tie rings, and other things that could injure your horse. ■ Check the ramp. Avoid steep, slippery ramps. Look for ramps that are easy to lift. Ideally, the design should allow you to access each horse individually and be unloaded without unloading the others. Look for quick-release dividers, bars, and center posts. ■ Check for rust and corrosion. Some surface rust on steel trailers is acceptable if it isn’t in a structural area; it’s usually an easy fix. Lift the mats, and check the floor. Avoid wood floors with rotting or soft spots. Avoid aluminum trailers with any hint of corrosion. ■ Check underneath. Look for problems with the under-floor frame. Stay away from aluminum trailers that have corrosion or stress fractures in the frame or welds, or steel trailers with frame rust. Check the axles and the bolts that attach the axles to the trailer frame.

when attached to your tow-vehicle’s ball. Safety chains should be in good condition. Look for an emergency breakaway brake with a rechargeable, replaceable battery. ■ Check gooseneck clearance. Make sure the gooseneck is high enough to clear your truck’s side rails and tailgate. An adjustable coupler helps, but older goosenecks may not be tall enough to clear the newer four-wheel-drive trucks. ■ Consider repairs. If the trailer is a really good deal, consider repairing minor problems. Note that it’s cheaper to repair a steel or hybrid trailer than an all-aluminum one. And some aluminum damage can never be restored to its original strength. It’s also cheaper to replace a wood floor than an aluminum one. Never spend more to fix up the trailer than the trailer will be worth if you re-sell it. If you have any doubts regarding the trailer’s condition, consult a professional. —Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve (


■ Check the tires. Tires should be in excellent condition, and all should be the same size and brand. The tires should be marked ST (for “standard trailer”) and rated to carry the trailer’s GVWR. Uneven tire wear can point to an axle-placement problem. Ask the owner how often the bearings were packed and the trailer was maintained.


Check the coupler for excessive wear; it shouldn’t be loose when attached to the tow-vehicle ball. ■ Check the hitch. Check the coupler for excessive wear; the coupler shouldn’t be loose

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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Equine Traveling Papers Here’s a rundown of the basic documents you should carry when you travel with your horse. By Rebecca Gimenez, PhD


Here’s a rundown of the basic equine travel documents you should carry, whether you’re going to a competition or a recreational destination. Keep the originals of these papers with you and the copies at home in a safe place.

Be sure to obtain the right equine travel documents, especially if you’re crossing state lines. PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

When you travel with your horse, whether for a competition or recreation, you need to carry a number of documents, especially if you’re crossing state lines. Some documents show your horse is healthy. Some will help you if you’re find yourself in an emergency situation. Others are proof of ownership and registration of your horse, your tow vehicle, and your trailer. Some states also require an entry permit and brand-inspection certificate. Do your research well ahead of traveling. Here’s a rundown of five basic documents you should carry when you travel with your horse. Keep the originals of these papers with you and the copies at home, in a safe place, where someone there can locate them. (In addition to these documents, always carry your driver’s license, and proof of insurance and registration papers for your tow vehicle and trailer.) >>


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required; this is a wise option for you to consider. The CVI can include your horse’s microchip identification number.

Coggins Test


See your veterinarian to obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) and to get a Coggins test for your horse.

Certificate of Veterinary Inspection What it is: Also called a health certificate, the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is legal document that certifies your horse’s health status, the address where he’s stabled, and ownership. Why you need it: A CVI is required for entry to any state border crossing in the United States. Although many states are lax in enforcement, others have a random checking program. You’ll need a current CVI within 10 to 30 days of travel, depending on the requirements of the state or states you’ll be traveling through and to. Equine-oriented destinations—such as showgrounds, fairgrounds, campgrounds, rodeo and team-roping venues, overnight-stabling facilities, private equine facilities, trail-riding destinations, endurance rides, competitive trail rides, and organized trail rides—may also require a CVI. How to obtain it: Make an appointment with your veterinarian to examine your horse. This examination should include a general health exam, temperature check, vaccination- and deworming-program review, verification of a Coggins test, and a full description of your horse. Expert tip: How can you prove the CVI is for your particular horse? In some states, a permanent method of identification (such as a microchip or brand) is USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

What it is: The Coggins test, developed in 1970 by Leroy Coggins, DVM, PhD, shows your horse didn’t carry equine infectious anemia antibodies at the time of testing. Also known as swamp fever, EIA is a highly contagious, potentially fatal blood-borne disease for which there’s no effective vaccination and no cure. Biting flies most commonly spread the disease from horse to horse. Needles can also spread the disease. Proof of a negative Coggins test, a legal document, also certifies the address where your horse is stabled and ownership. Why you need it: This test is required to cross any state border in the United States. Although many states are lax in enforcement, others have a random-checking program. You’ll need proof of a negative Coggins test within a time frame of 30 days to 12 months, depending on the requirements of the state or states you’ll be traveling through and to. Showgrounds, fairgrounds, overnight stabling facilities,


Horse-camping destinations (shown), bed & barns, overnight-stabling facilities, organized trail rides, and trail-riding destinations may require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, as well as a negative Coggins test. private equine facilities, trail-riding destinations, competitive trail rides, and organized trail rides may also require a current Coggins test. How to obtain it: Make an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she will pull a vial of blood from your horse, then send it to a laboratory to verify that your horse is negative for EIA. Expert tip: Take photos of your horse, and get a microchip implant, so you can prove his Coggins test


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person to make decisions as to the care, treatment, and disposition of your animals. Why you need it: If you’re injured, incapacitated, or die while traveling with your horse, someone else will need to be able to make the decisions outlined above. How to complete it: Click here to download a Limited Power of Attorney for Animal Health Care form from the USRider website. Modify the form as needed. Print out your completed form, and take it to a notary public to be witnessed and signed. Ensure that the persons you appoint to act as your agents are aware of your intentions. You’re asking them to make difficult decisions concerning the care, medical treatment, possible hospitalization, or euthanasia of your horse. They should know your wishes concerning necropsy and directing the disposition of your horse’s remains. PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO

The veterinary exam for the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection will include a review of your horse’s vaccination and deworming programs.

paperwork is for the actual animal you’re hauling. This paperwork can include your horse’s microchip identification number.

Brand-Inspection Certificate What it is: Certain Western states require all horses to be branded. A brand-inspection certificate registers your brand to prove ownership. For instance, in Colorado, the definition of a brand is “a permanent mark on the hide of an animal registered with any State as a livestock brand. Freeze brands are considered permanent marks. Tattoos aren’t considered as brands. The most effective and permanent method of identification is the mark produced with a hot iron.” Why you need it: A certificate of brand inspection is required to cross some state lines, particularly if you’re traveling in the West. How to obtain it: Check with a state’s brand-inspection agency as to brand requirements, registration, and certificates. Expert tip: Easterners are often surprised by these common requirements in Western states. It’s far more common to be stopped for inspection in the West than in the East.

Limited Power of Attorney Form What it is: This legal document allows an appointed USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Emergency Responders Form What it is: This legal document allows a licensed veterinarian to assess, treat, and even possibly euthanize your horse. It provides crucial information to firefighters and law enforcement about who to notify regarding assistance for your horse. Why you need it: If you’re injured, incapacitated, or die in a transportation wreck while traveling with your horse, emergency responders may need to be able to make the decisions outlined above. How to complete: Click here to download an Emergency Responders form from the USRider website. Modify Rebecca Gimenez, PhD the form as needed. Print (animal physiology), is out the completed form, and president and a primary take it to a notary public to instructor for Technical be witnessed and signed. Large Animal Emergency Expert tip: Emergency Rescue. A Major in the United responders often don’t know States Army Reserve, she’s a what to do with a horse after decorated Iraq War veteran and a wreck. Emergency contact a past Logistics Officer for the information for the horse’s American Veterinary Medical home veterinarian, a providAssociation’s Veterinary er that has horse knowledge, Medical Assistance Team. She’s and insurance information an invited lecturer on animalare crucial to allow emerrescue topics around the world gency responders to make and a noted equine journalist. informed decisions. USR


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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?


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Blowout! Learn how to prevent a trailer-tire blowout—and what to do if you experience a blowout despite your best efforts. Courtesy of USRider Photos by Heidi Melocco

Be aware of hitching weight. With a gooseneck, much of the weight is on the hitch and your tow vehicle’s rear axle. The amount of weight on the hitch can change significantly as the animals shift or after a tire blows out. Trailer-tire blowouts are risky and stressful for both human and horse. And they can happen without warning. One minute, you’re sailing down the interstate, and the next, you hear a horrific “bam!” and your trailer pulls to one side. You grab the steering wheel to control your rig and look for a place to pull over. You glance in the rear-view mirror. A trailer tire has blown. How well prepared you are for a blowout can lessen the severity of a blown tire’s impact. And steps you take today can prevent a blowout from happening in the first place. Here, we’ll first give you 11 ways to USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


prevent a blowout. Then we’ll give you a preventive-maintenance to-do list. Finally, we’ll tell you the steps to take should you experience a blowout despite your best efforts. (For how to change a trailer tire, click here.)

Blowout Prevention Here are 11 ways to help prevent trailer-tire blowouts. Invest in high-quality tires. Use high-quality trailer tires that are correctly rated for the weight you are hauling. Check your vehicle’s tow rating. The biggest contributor to turning a simple blown tire into a trailer accident is a >> Spring 2020

With a tag-along trailer, there’s less weight on the hitch than there is with a gooseneck, so the horses’ shifting weight can make the trailer sway. mismatch between the size of the vehicle and the size and weight of the trailer. The weight, engine power, and torque of an appropriately sized vehicle will allow you to control and counteract trailer sway or vibration during blowout. Weigh your trailer. At a truck stop, weigh your loaded tow vehicle and trailer, then weigh just your tow vehicle, and subtract to get the weight of your trailer. It may surprise you how heavy your trailer is with all your stuff in it. Use the appropriate vehicle for the trailer to be towed. It’s better to oversize than undersize. Be aware of hitching weight. Gooseneck and tag-along (bumperpull) trailers differ in their hitching mechanisms. With a gooseneck, much of the weight is on the hitch and your tow vehicle’s rear axle. With a tag-along, there’s less weight on the hitch, so the horses’ shifting weight can make the trailer sway. The amount of weight on the hitch can change significantly as the animals shift or after a tire blows out. Check the trailer axles. Your trailer should have at least two

axles. That way, if a tire fails, you’ll have the other to temporarily support the weight of the load. Check the safety chains. Safety chains should be as recommended by the manufacturer and strong enough to keep your trailer attached to your tow vehicle in case of a hitch uncoupling. Check the braking system. Your trailer’s emergency breakaway braking system should have a battery located on the nose of the hitch in a tag-along trailer or behind the nose of a gooseneck. Make sure there’s a cable from the switch to your tow vehicle, again attached to the frame. This cable is designed to lock the brakes on your trailer and stop it if the hitch and safety chains fail. Hitch up right. Cross the safety chains, and attach them to your tow vehicle’s frame or a manufactured receiver. Both gooseneck and tag-along trailers should have these chains in place so that your rig can survive the sudden weight shift of a blowout. Load up right. With a straightload trailer configuration, load a

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


single horse into the left-hand stall to balance the weight on the crown of the road. Drive carefully. Drive the speed limit, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and be a defensive driver. Be aware of the position of other drivers. When possible, stay in the right lane so you’ll be able to quickly shift into the emergency lane. Turn with care. When you turn, take as much room as possible to prevent dragging a locked tire on pavement (especially with a gooseneck trailer) and scraping the sides of the tire along the curb.

Preventive Maintenance Truck-and-trailer maintenance can help prevent blowouts. Here’s a to-do list.

Keep a pressure gauge in your tow vehicle, and use it to check the air pressure in the tires whenever you stop. Check tire condition. Regularly check the tires for appropriate tread depth and bubbles or misshapen areas on the surface and walls. Look for any evidence of the tire being cut or pierced by road debris. This is especially important if you use your trailer infrequently (less than once per month). Check tire pressure. Keep a pressure gauge in your tow vehicle, >> Spring 2020

and use it to check the air pressure in the tires whenever you stop. Tires should be inflated to the level of pressure recommended by the tire manufacturer. Some people put less than the recommended amount of air in the tires for a smoother ride, but this is never a good idea for trailers. Rotate the tires. Regularly rotate tires on your trailer and tow vehicle (every 5,000 miles of trailer usage, similar to recommendations for your vehicle). Consider an odometer. Consider putting a tire odometer on your trailer to keep track of the mileage between scheduled maintenance. Check wheel bearings. Make sure the wheel bearings are greased and packed. Maintain the braking system. Make sure the emergency breakaway braking system is in good working condition.

Regularly check the tires for appropriate tread depth and bubbles or misshapen areas on the surface and walls. Maintain springs/axles. Make sure there are no broken springs or bent axles that would compromise your trailer’s integrity. Increase visibility. To increase your rig’s visibility in the event of a blowout, place reflective tape on

Check your vehicle’s tow rating. Your tow vehicle’s weight, engine power, and torque will allow you to control and counteract trailer sway or vibration during a blowout. the back of your trailer, and make sure all lights are in good working condition.

Plan of Action If you do experience a blowout, you can maximize the safety of humans and horses—and minimize the damage to your trailer—with the following plan of action. (For how to change a trailer tire, click here.) Stop when you hear a noise. Don’t drive along and listen to strange sounds while trying to determine their cause. Stop expediently on the roadside whenever you hear or feel anything unusual (such as trailer rocking, excessive vibration, loud noises, and screeching or metallic sounds). Causes of a strange noise or unusual vibrations include a tire ready to blow, a fallen horse, a locked-up axle or wheel, or trapped road debris. Find a safe place to pull over. If you experience a blowout, find a place to pull over with plenty of room to change the tire. You’ll need a minimum of 12 feet from traffic lanes. Consider slowly limping your

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


trailer to the next off ramp or a parking lot, particularly if it’s dark. While that may destroy the wheel rim, you’ll be able to safely deal with the situation without getting hit by other drivers. If the left-side tires are blown, pull your trailer as far off to the side of the road as possible. No one wants to get killed changing a tire so close to traffic lanes, which is a very real risk. Stop smoothly. Try to decelerate and brake smoothly until you come to a stop. While you’ll want to stop as soon as is safely possible and in as safe a position on the side of the roadway as you can, you don’t want to cause an accident by whipping over to the side or by losing control. Apply the parking brake. Apply the parking brake to make sure your rig doesn’t roll or accidentally move when you’re trying to asses the situation or change the tire. Turn on lights. Turn on the emergency flashers and working lights to warn oncoming drivers that your rig is stopped. The reflective tape will also enhance your visibility. Cut the engine. Turn off your tow >> Spring 2020

vehicle, and take the keys emergency vet. with you so no one moves Leave the trailer door your trailer while you’re closed. Any stimulation waiting for help or working may cause the horses with the tire or jack. People to get excited and try to have been seriously injured back out or scramble. If by vehicles rolling or falling the horses seem okay, on them while they were consider giving them trying to help. hay through a window Don a reflective vest. or opening to help them Don a reflective or brightly relax while you’re fixing colored vest or jacket so the tire or waiting for help you’ll be visible to oncoming to arrive. traffic. Stop expediently whenever you hear or feel anything Call USRider. USRider Call 911. If there was an ac- unusual. Causes of a strange noise or unusual vibration Equestrian Motor Plan cident, call 911, and give the include a tire ready to blow, a fallen horse, a locked-up can arrange tire-changing particulars. axle or wheel, or trapped road debris. and towing services for Chock the wheels. Secure both your tow vehicle and the wheels with chocks so there’s ly when the emergency brake is on. trailer. no chance for your rig to roll. It’s Be aware that you need to stabilize Keep horses inside. Don’t unbest to use wheel chocks, but in a your trailer with the weight of poload the horses unless absolutely pinch, grab rocks or logs—whatevtentially upset horses on board. necessary and certainly not until er is available. Check on the horses. Check on help arrives. Unloading a horse Stay hitched. Don’t separate your the horses through a window or on the side of the road is a very trailer from your tow vehicle. Your opening. If a horse appears injured, dangerous scenario. They may get tow vehicle is the best way to make call a local veterinarian immediloose and cause a secondary accisure your trailer stays put, especial- ately. USRider can help you find an dent. USR

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From Fat to Fit Ready to get your horse fit for the busy travel and riding season? Here’s a 10-step weight-loss plan to get you started. By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

A fit horse is a happy horse, and one with the energy and motivation to frolic. Read on for ways to get your horse ready for the busy travel and riding season.

Horses become overweight for the same reason we do—they eat more calories than they burn. It isn’t any healthier for them than it is for us. Your overweight horse is stressing his joints, heart, and lungs, and has a difficult time regulating his body temperature during exercise, which can lead to dangerous overheating and heat stroke, especially as we head into spring and summer. Following is a 10-step weight-loss plan to help you get your horse moving from fat to fit. Plus, I’ll explain what to look for in a feed supplement, and give you a hay-equivalent chart and a lean menu (page 20). >> USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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Not too fat, not too thin, this young mare is just right. Ask your veterinarian to estimate what your horse’s normal healthy weight should be.

10-Step Plan Step 1. Get a healthy weight. Ask your veterinarian to estimate what your horse’s normal healthy weight should be. Involve your vet in your horse’s weight-loss program, and follow his or her advice and recommendations. Step 2. Monitor his weight. Use a weight tape to keep track of your horse’s weight loss. Weight losses of between 40 and 75 pounds per month can be expected with the program here. Don’t be in any rush to get the weight off. Your horse didn’t put it on overnight, and he won’t lose it overnight either. It’s better to go for steady weight loss with your horse getting enough to eat to feel satisfied. Step 3. Provide regular exercise. Exercise is an important part of your horse’s weight-loss program. Turnout is better than stall confinement, but it’s not the same thing as formal exercise, where you keep him moving for at least 20 minutes. Regular exercise does more than just burn some calories;

it changes the way your horse’s end to prevent grazing completely. body handles those calories. For up Never underestimate the amount to 24 hours after exercise, caloof grass a horse can pack away in ries are diverted to his muscles to just an hour. In fact, in some cases replace energy stores there, repair of moderately overweight horses, any minor damage, and build mus- preventing grass intake may be all cle bulk. On days you can’t ride, you need to do to get the desired longe your horse, or work him in weight loss. the round pen. If you can’t be there Step 5. Evaluate your horse’s at all, ask a friend to work your current diet. Figure out how horse for you. much grain and hay you’re feedStep 4. Consider a grazing ing your horse. If you feed more muzzle. If you turn your horse out than hay, use the hay-equivalent on pasture, consider investing in a grazing muzzle. I recommend The Best Friend Muzzle, which is sturdy, stays in place well, has breakaway features in case of accidental snagging, and restricts grazing, but not drinkRound-the-clock foraging is the most natural way for ing. It also has horses to eat, but “easy-keepers,” left to satisfy their own a plug for the appetites, may consume more calories than they need.

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chart to figure how many calories you’re feeding in hay equivalents. For example, most horses weighing about 1,000 pounds will hold a normal weight eating 20 to 25 pounds of hay per day. If you’re feeding your mildly overweight horse 20 pounds of hay plus 5 pounds of a commercial grain mix, you’re giving him the equivalent of 32.5 to 35 pounds of hay because of the grain’s higher calorie level. Cut out concentrated calorie sources first, that is, grain and fat. Step 6. Feed him the right amount. Feed your horse about two percent of his ideal body weight every day. Step 7. Feed a variety of hay types. The more varieties of hay you feed your horse, the better chance his mineral intake will be fairly well-balanced. Step 8. Feed a balanced supplement. If you know your horse’s mineral intake is balanced, you can give him a balanced pelleted supplement instead of grain at mealtime. These are usually fed at a rate of about 1 pound per day. (For selection guidelines, see “The Right Supplement,” on the next page.) Step 9. Choose a lean menu. Choose from the lean menu if it makes you feel better to give your horse a more substantial amount in his feed tub. Check the hay equivalents, so you know how much to subtract from the amount of hay you’re feeding. Note that if you choose to give your horse a feed formulated to be low calorie, you won’t also need to feed him a protein/mineral supplement if the feed is highly supplemented. As a guide, use the label guaranteed copper content. If the feed contains more than 110 parts per million (ppm) copper, don’t feed any additional supplement. If the feed contains less than 110 ppm, feed half the recommended dose of the protein/mineral supplement. Step 10. Stick to the diet. Once you get your horse on a healthy weight-loss program, don’t disrupt it by feeding him high-sugar, high-starch “cookies,” donuts, >> USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


High-quality alfalfa hay tends to provide slightly more energy and protein than an equal amount of grass hay, so you may need to feed less of it. Hay Equivalents Food

Approximate Hay Equivalent


1 lb. hay = 1 lb. hay

Plain Grains

1 lb. plain grain = 2 lbs. hay

Commercial Grain Mixes

1 lb. grain mix = 2.5 to 3 lbs. hay

Fats and Oils

1 lb. fat/oil = 3.6 to 4 lbs. hay

Lean Menu Calorie Reduction (compared to 25 lbs. of commercial grain mix)



1/2 lb. dry beet pulp, 2 oz. flax seed or 2 tbsp. wheat germ, plus supplement. Soak beet pulp before feeding.

1 lb. hay

84% reduction

2 lbs. alfalfa or grass hay pellets or cubes, plus supplement.

2.5 lbs. hay

60% reduction

1/2 lb. carrots, 1/2 lb. celery, 1/2 lb. summer squash, all cut in chunks, plus supplement.

1 lb. hay

84% reduction

1 lb. high-fiber, lowfat, or “lite” feed.

2 lbs. hay

68% reduction


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candy, or any human food. Instead, substitute small amounts of fresh green vegetables, apple peel (no sweet fruits), sugar-free peppermints, a few mint-flavored antacids, and/or alfalfa pellets/cubes.

The Right Supplement Look for a feed supplement that’s high fiber, low carbohydrate, and low fat. Note that horse feeds aren’t required to list the main ingredient first and other ingredients in descending order like human food labels do. A feed may list alfalfa or “forage products” first and corn last, but still have just as much corn in it as hay, or even more. You can find clues, though. First, check the fat content. A horse that needs to lose weight should never be eating something higher than 3% to 4% fat. Also, unless the feed specifically states it’s low calorie, avoid feeds with molasses in the ingredients list. Some have very small amounts, while others have quite a lot. It’s not necessarily easy to tell how much is in there, especially with a pelleted feed.


Good, leafy grass hay is a great “diet food” for most horses, but even grass hay needs to be weighed and fed at 1.5% to 2% of your horse’s “ideal” body weight to get him to start shedding extra pounds.


This mare is undeniably heavier than is healthy for her. Obesity puts her at greater risk for laminitis, lameness, and colic. Crude fiber doesn’t necessarily correlate directly with calories, because high-soluble fiber ingredients, such as beet pulp, are actually more calorie dense than hays. But it’s a fairly good indication of how much grain/grain products are in a feed. Look for a feed with at least 20% fiber. Some complete feeds fit the bill, too, and make good substitutes for straight grains. In addition to the fat and fiber content, check the feeding directions. If the feed calls for giving the horse about 1.5% of his body weight/day when used as a complete feed (i.e., 15 lbs. per day for a 1,000-pound horse not in work), it has a calorie content similar to a high-quality hay. USR Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD, the owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions in Robesonia, Pennsylvania, is one of a handful of experts in the field of applications of nutraceuticals for horses. She’s an authority in the field of equine nutrition, as well as conditions affecting performance horses. Dr. Kellon’s books include Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals (Breakthrough Publications).

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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

Hurricane Emergency

“We’re active competitors and volunteers with the North American Trail Ride Conference, and always look forward to these events,” note USRider Members Carolyn and David Chapman of Gulf Shores, Alabama.


While rushing home to handle a hurricane threat, these competitive trail riders experienced two tire blowouts. USRider quickly came to their aid. By Carolyn And David Chapman

We’re active competitors and volunteers with the North American Trail Ride Conference (the national sponsoring body for timed, judged competitive trail rides), and always look forward to these events. NATRC rides open the door for us to ride and compete in some amazing areas of our country. Our travel to these events is usually long distance, since we live in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve logged many miles traveling to Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky on a regular basis, so having USRider Equestrian Motor Plan in our back pockets offers us a safety net like no other.

Stressed Out One year, we were in north Georgia for a NATRC event. We had to unexpectedly pull out of the competition, because a hurricane in the Gulf changed directions and was headed toward our home. We heard that authorities were closing Interstate 65, which meant our way home would soon be cut off, so travel time was critical. We were stressed out as it was, so when we had two tire blowouts, you can just imagine our dilemma. We called USRider. They first asked us whether we and our horses were okay. Then they found a wrecking service with the tires we needed. As

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“Thank you, USRider, for making traveling to the trails so easy!” write the Chapmans. The couple is shown trail riding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. soon as the tires were changed, we got back on the road toward home. This was just the beginning of the support system that USRider offered us that day. We were amazed that they were able to reach us so quickly through all the evacuation traffic.

Courteous & Caring We’ve needed to use USRider’s services on a number of other occasions—once when we didn’t even have the horses with us—and we’ve always received the same courteous, caring results. We’re 100 percent satisfied with our membership, and the USRider staff has always been 100 percent professional. This means a lot to us, because traveling with animals on an interstate or in an unfamiliar area can be very stressful. Sometimes, just knowing that you have people waiting to help you can really make a difference. Thank you, USRider, for making our equestrian travels so easy! USR USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


The Chapmans travel long distances to compete in NATRC events, and depend on USRider to provide a safety net on the road. Shown is Carolyn Chapman competing in a NATRC event.


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Travel Essentials Top products for the equestrian traveler. Portable Corral Travel N Corrals’ lightweight panels allow you to build a portable stall right next to your trailer in less than 15 minutes. With each panel weighing just 15 pounds, you can load up the corral for travel and assemble it at your destination without assistance. Panels are built from one-inch galvanized round-steel tubing for durability; all joints are welded for strength. Panels are connected every 7 feet with a 4-foot steel pipe rod. Make a gate wherever the panels interlock by removing the pin. Single-horse and double-horse corrals are available, in sizes ranging from 13-by-13 feet to 18-by-18 feet.

Sway-Control Hitch

Truck Fuel Box

The Equal-i-zer hitch uses a unique two-in-one design that combines sway control with weight distribution. The hitch’s 4-Point Sway Control has four positive friction areas that work together to combat trailer sway. The unique design of the sway control brackets allows flexible placement on the trailer frame for great compatibility. The hitch’s weight-distributing design effectively transfers trailer tongue weight to all the axles and helps keep the front of your tow vehicle firmly on the road.

The Fuelbox is an auxiliary fuel tank system perfect for equestrian travelers who are looking for the convenience of more fuel storage without having an unsightly tank in the back of their truck. All models are made from high-quality aluminum; some models feature an integrated, lockable toolbox. Use The Fuelbox as an auxiliary fuel tank for your diesel pickup; the innovative Air Fuel Controller will transfer fuel to your pickup’s factory tank as you drive.

Immune-Boosting Supplement Travel stress can compromise your horse’s immune function. SmartPak Equine’s SmartImmune Pellets provides a comprehensive, innovative approach to supporting healthy immune function. The formula includes adaptogenic herbs—such as astragalus, ginseng, and golden root—and antioxidants to help protect cellular health and fight free radicals. SmartImmune also contains Echinacea, prebiotics, and AgariPlex™ (a proprietary mushroom blend that helps the body manage stress). The pelleted formula is easy to feed and picky-eater approved. Order SmartImmune in prepackaged, daily-dose SmartPaks for traveling ease. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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------------ 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. This brochure features instructions and access codes

for quick shopping access 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 our Rental Car partners. To access rental car discounts, and for more Member discounts, click here.

Avis Rent A Car Avis Rent A Car System and its subsidiaries operate the world’s second-largest general-use car rental business, providing a wide range of services at 4,750 locations worldwide. Avis is recognized as the industry leader in applying new technologies and services, including customer loyalty programs, such as Avis Preferred and Avis First. Avis Cares® is a multifaceted program designed to make drivers feel at home on the road by providing region-specific safety information, vehicle operating guides, daily weather updates, and city guides. USRider members receive up to a 25% discount on Avis’s prices.

Budget Rent-A-Car With nearly 1,800 car rental locations around the world, Budget RentA-Car System is the owner and franchiser of one of the world’s bestknown car-rental brands. Budget can take care of any rental need with its 250-plus airport locations and more than 540 downtown and suburban locations. USRider Members receive up to a 20% discount.

Dollar Rent A Car Dollar Rent A Car offers great deals for every occasion—convertible for a weekend getaway, luxury car for that special occasion, minivan for a large group, or an affordable economy car for a quick rental. Dollar has more than 300 conveniently located sites throughout the United States. Many of Dollar’s airport locations provide free shuttle service. Dollar also offers the StreetPilot® GPS Navigation System to help drivers easily find any destination. USRider Members receive up to a 15% discount on any rental.

Hertz With more than 8,100 locations in more than 147 countries, Hertz is the world’s leading vehicle-renting organization. Product and service initiatives—such as NeverLost® navigational systems, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Hertz Local Edition locations in your neighborhood, and unique cars and SUVs through the Fun, Green, and Prestige Collections—set Hertz apart from the competition. USRider Members receive special yearround discounts on daily, weekly, weekend and monthly rentals for business or pleasure in the United States or worldwide. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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Tractor Supply is dedicated to enriching the lives of rescue horses.

Our Farm Equine Rescue is appreciative of the continued support Tractor Supply Company provides to equine rescues through A Home for Every Horse. Their continued support of rescue and rehabilitating horses allows our rescue to put funds towards other immediate needs such as medical and hoof care. - SHARON KRESS DIRECTOR OF OUR FARM EQUINE RESCUE FIND OUT HOW TO


A Home For Every Horse is brought to you by the Equine Network and sponsored by:

------------ GETAWAYS ------------

Pure Joy This spring, hitch up, and head to central New York’s Pure Country Campground for an unforgettable equestrian adventure. Article and Photos by Shawn Hamilton

Pure Country Campground in New Berlin, New York, is nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Area trails range from flat and easy to steep and rocky. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2020


The well-appointed Pure Country Campground offers 30 campsites with electrical and water hookups, as well as 19 rustic sites with water only. There are also 28 covered, portable horse stalls and a large outdoor arena. Health papers in order and everything checked off the list, I loaded the horses into the trailer. My riding buddies hopped in the truck. We were off on a seven-hour drive from our home in Ontario, Canada, to Pure Country Campground in New Berlin, New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. We were looking forward to a four-day camping trip and exploring new trails. The well-appointed Pure Country Campground offers 30 campsites with electrical and water hookups, as well as 19 rustic sites with water only. There are also 28 covered, portable horse stalls, a 100-foot-by-200-foot outdoor arena, and a five-acre obstacle course. The campground’s events include women’s retreats, organized trails rides, endurance rides, clinics, and fundraiser horse shows.

A quick tour of the facilities revealed firewood, fire rings, and phone and WiFi access, plus contact information for a nearby veterinarian and farrier. I also discovered that we would have full use of the main pavilion, which houses an industrial kitchen and four bathrooms, each

Getting Settled A few raindrops hit the windshield as we turned into the driveway. The camp host, Jim Weidman (known as Jimbo), greeted us warmly and suggested we let the horses stretch their legs in the camp’s central arena.

The beautiful Brookfield Trail System features creeks and ponds to water your horse.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Pure Country Campground’s obstacle course covers five acres. equipped with a hot shower. Never before had I camped with my horse in such luxury. We set up camp as our horses quickly settled into their covered box stalls that Weidman has prepared for us.

Scenic Trails After a rainy night, the horses were dry and appeared well-rested. Ignoring the drizzly, gloomy day, we tacked up and hit the trails. The 130-mile Brookfield Trail System runs through three scenic state forests: Charles Baker; Brookfield Railroad; and Beaver Creek. Off-road trails are open annually from May 31 to October 31. The trails are beautiful, but they aren’t very well-marked. I recommend bringing along a map (in a zip-close plastic bag or map holder to keep it dry) and a GPS. (For Brookfield Trail System trail maps, (click here.) We chose to ride a short loop off the main path. The trail began fairly easy, but got surprisingly challenging, with steep hills and thick mud. Still, it went well, despite a >> Spring 2020

slippery bridge—more nerve-wracking for us than the horses. We headed toward what we thought was the way back to camp, but a quick GPS calculation showed that we’d taken a wrong turn, so we made the necessary adjustments.

Lost Pond Trail The next day was cool, but sunny. We packed our lunch and headed out to the trail early in hopes of reaching Lost Pond. A local Standardbred driver passed us with a horse and buggy. After a nice warmup, we cantered up the hill to the trails. The boggy ground showed signs of the wet spring—loggers had put down rocks to get through the deep mud. Eventually, the trail dried up and wound us through the forest to hitching posts and a picnic table overlooking Lost Pond, where we had lunch. On the way home, the trails were rocky in spots; I was glad I had Bailey shod. At one point, the trail turned into flat-rock steps with a small waterfall flowing down them. Pretty, but slippery. Under a clear sky, we enjoyed spectacular views from the trail’s highest points.

Singular Adventure

Top: Trail riders on the road from Pure Country Campground to the 130-mile Brookfield Trail System that runs through three state forests. Bottom: A rainbow arches over Pure Country Campground’s main pavilion, which houses an industrial kitchen and four bathrooms. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


On our last morning, I tackled the onsite versatility course. Bailey Boy and I headed out with high hopes. We mastered the steps, the car wash, and the canter poles—but then I had to pick up a bucket of water and pour it into a barrel. This didn’t impress Bailey one bit. We galloped to the finish line to stop the clock. Our times weren’t in contention with the big guns, but our fun meters rose for the day. We loaded up the horses and hit the road. On the way home, all we could talk about was, “Where else can you do so much with your horse and have so much fun?” This equestrian getaway is one-of-akind. USR Spring 2020

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