USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion-Spring 2022

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Equestrian Traveler’s


Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource Spring 2022

Prevent A Trailer Accident

15 Vet-Prep Steps

Mountain-Travel Tricks

Discover Oregon’s Crater Country

Used-Trailer-Buying Checklist

An Equine Network, LLC, Publication

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANIONSpring 2022

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

FEATURES 8 Prep & Go

Mountain-Travel Tricks

12 Your Healthy Horse Vet-Prep Steps

16 Safe Travels

Accident Prevention

20 Getaways

Camp in Crater Country

24 USRider Member Story Alone No More


Expert Advice for Horse Owners

6 Skill Set

Leather Tack Care

26 Equestrian Gear

Essential Travel Solutions

28 USRider Member Benefits Farm and Stable Equipment and Supplies

30 Handy Checklist

Used-Trailer-Buying Guide


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

Equine Network, LLC, is the producer of award-winning magazines, including EQUUS, Horse&Rider, Practical Horseman, and The Team Roping Journal.


Spring 2022

New Service Upgrades for 2022 As fellow horse owners, we understand the importance of feeling safe and secure when traveling with our horses. At USRider, we have been committed to providing safety and security to our members for over 20 years. As part of this ongoing commitment, we have made a significant investment in upgrading the way we provide emergency dispatch services to our members. These upgrades to our dispatch process and systems provide white-glove level service that is second to none in the roadside assistance industry. New Service Upgrades Include: • • • • • •

New in-house 24/7 dispatch team staffed by experienced horse owners and enthusiasts. New dispatch system providing streamlined call handling, service tracking and follow up Gold Star provider certification to prequalify providers and track performance 24/7 concierge service for assistance with equestrian travel needs Mobile app for service requests and tracking, and membership management coming in April 2022 New discount partners with more access to products and services you need

What Our Members are Saying “I HAD been a AAA member all my life. Just this year, I switched to USRider. The lady helping me was AMAZING! She was professional and caring. I really appreciated the personal service with follow up calls to make sure I knew what was happening and to check on my safety and satisfaction. She made an awful situation much more bearable. I never expected this level of personal service. I am already telling friends! " - M. Morgan, Corinth KY, Feb 2022 We are confident these upgrades to our dispatch process and systems will provide a level service that is unmatched in the roadside assistance industry. As you ramp up your travel this spring and summer, enjoy the peace of mind of knowing USRider will be there for you should unexpected vehicle or trailer problems occur on your next trip.


Ventilate for Respiratory Health Your trailer’s ventilation system should be adequate enough to provide your horse with the cleanest environment possible. Vents are designed for this purpose, but they can’t do the job alone. The small, round, slatted vents found in older trailers don’t do the job required to keep the air quality clean. If your trailer has extra windows, roof vents, or the open slats of a stock trailer, these small vents can serve a useful purpose as extra ventilation. Roof vents help to control your trailer’s interior air quality and temperature. They allow the interior air— and your horse’s body heat—to escape out the top of your trailer. An overhead vent for every horse in the trailer is the best option. The most efficient vents are two-directional. That is, when it’s warm, and the trailer


Your trailer’s ventilation system should be adequate enough to provide your horse with the cleanest environment possible. windows are open, the vent can be open to allow air to blow into the trailer. But when you close up your trailer in cold, rainy weather, the vent can be reversed so the interior air can escape up and out without rain getting in or blowing directly—on your horse. — Tom Scheve & Neva Kittrell Scheve,


Consider Heavy-Duty Floor Mats Spring is the season for tracking an abundance of mud, dirt, straw, and other debris into your tow vehicle. Consider upgrading to heavy-duty, all-weather floor mats to protect your vehicle’s flooring from the heavy debris that accompanies life with horses. All-weather mats can also help maintain your vehicle’s value when you get ready to sell your vehicle: You can use your all-weather mats while driving, then, when you’re ready to sell, you can reinstall the vehicle’s original floor mats for a fresh “new” look. Here’s how to safely use all-weather mats. Use dealer-approved mats. Stay with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved floor mats, available from dealers. These mats have been designed and manufactured to the manufacturer’s specifications to work safely with your vehicle. Check fit and stability. When you install your floor mats, make sure they fit securely in the floorboard well and stay in place. If your floor mat moves around, it can cause an unsafe driving situation. Check the accelerator. Make sure the driver’s floor mat does not interfere with accelerator-pedal operation in any way. While you will rarely fully depress the accelerator, the floor mat should not interfere with the accelerator’s movement, even at its full PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO Make sure the driver’s floor mat does not length of travel. interfere with accelerator-pedal operation in Keep the mats clean. Occasionally, clean the dirt and debris any way. from all-weather mats to ensure safe vehicle operation. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2022


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


If your horse is restless in the trailer, his trailer mate could be picking on him. to load quietly and calmly using the kind, natural-horsemanship method of your choosing. • Provide bedding. Offer your restless traveler good footing to help prevent a fall. Tight-fitting rubber mats absorb shock, but can be slick, so cover them with shavings. Shavings also help trap slick urine and manure. Choose high-quality, non-dusty shavings, so your horse doesn’t inhale small particles of dust, which can lead to lung problems. • Provide hay. Let your horse eat hay to keep him busy and calm in transit. Anytime you can keep your horse’s jaws moving, he’ll usually be calmer. Make sure it’s a type of hay he likes, so you know he’ll eat. — Rebecca Gimenez Husted, PhD


Roadside-Assistance Reimbursement

If you pay for emergency roadside assistance outof-pocket, refer to your USRider Service Contract for reimbursement details.

On rare occasions, a USRider Member may encounter a situation where it’s easier and faster to get help on their own. All you need to do is contact a Service Provider of your choice to come to the emergency location and execute the repairs necessary to get you back on the road. According to the USRider Service Contract, “Requests for reimbursement of covered benefits must be submitted in writing along with an original, unaltered, ‘paid’ receipt from a Service Provider in the name of the Member indicating method of payment. “Requests for reimbursement must be postmarked within thirty (30) days of occurrence and include all information and attachments requested.” USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Download and complete the Request for Reimbursement form. Please include a brief statement of the breakdown, an itemized receipt, and your USRider Member identification number. Mail all materials to: USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, P.O. Box 20634, Boulder, CO 80308. Please keep a copy of all materials submitted. Note that processing this request may take 21 to 28 business days.


Spring 2022

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

Leather Tack Care

Proper cleaning and care will allow your tack to breathe easier and live longer. Here’s an easy method. By Teresa Alcorn

Your leather tack can last almost forever if you take care of it properly. Your leather tack can last almost forever if you take care of it properly. As leather ages and is exposed to the elements, it loses the fats and oils used to saturate the hide during the tanning process. Dry, hard leather is likely to crack, split, and warp. The secret is to replenish the essential oils that help keep leather soft and supple, while still allowing the hide to breathe. Keep the leather clean, so the dirt doesn’t erode the fibers and block the pores. Store your tack wisely, away from heat, humidity, sun. Here’s an easy eight-step tack-care method, plus a quick touchup technique for suede. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Suede Touchup Tip Suede is leather that has gone through the process of having the fibers of the flesh side of the hide buffed to give it a nap effect. Because the flesh side is more porous, it’ll absorb moisture quickly and will stain easily. Use caution when cleaning suede. While there are commercial products made especially for suede, one home “dry-cleaning” product is cornmeal. Simply rub the cornmeal into the stain with your fingers in a light, circular motion. Then use a soft suede brush to gently lift up suede’s nap. >>


Spring 2022

Supplies You’ll Need ■ Saddle rack for your saddle ■ 3-4 soft cotton cloths ■ 3-4 hand towels ■ Lint-free rags ■ Soft-bristle brush ■ Sponge ■ Small bucket of water ■ Glycerin or pH-balanced saddle soap ■ Castile soap for heavily soiled leather ■ Leather conditioner ■ Vacuum with brush attachment (optional)

Step 1. Brush away surface dust. Brush away any surface dust or dirt with a soft cotton cloth or a fine-bristled brush, such as a natural fiber shoeshine brush. A vacuum with a brush attachment also works well, as long as the bristles aren’t so stiff that they’ll scratch the finish.

Step 2. Prep the tack.

Open any buckles for easier access to those hard-to-reach spots. Remove cinches and stirrups. When cleaning bridles, reins, tack or harness, remove bits, buckles, hardware, and any silver accessories before applying leather cleaners. If you can’t remove the hardware, carefully clean around it, so you don’t contaminate the leather with the silver polish or tarnish the hardware with leather cleaner.

Step 3. Apply saddle soap.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions precisely for the type of saddle soap or leather cleaner to use. Some recommend working the cleaner into a lather, while others do not. Some products need to be rinsed off with water or a damp cloth, while others do not. Note that many pH-balanced

and glycerin formulas clean and condition without darkening the leather or leaving a greasy residue, while producing a lustrous shine when buffed. Step 4. Work carefully. With a big project, such as a saddle, work on small sections at a time. Wipe or rinse away excess soap as you go. (Don’t get the leather too wet.) Residue left in crevices and folds attracts dirt, which will eat away the leather. In tooled areas, use a soft-bristled brush to make sure no soap is left in crevices. Rinse often, and use a towel to wipe up any excess moisture.


If you’re concerned about darkening the finish, test the product on a hidden spot.

Step 5. Be thorough.

Clean under all flaps and the bottom side of the stirrup leathers. These areas will more likely have the heaviest soil and sweat buildup.

Step 6. Use castile soap.

For areas of a saddle with a heavy accumulation of waxy dirt and dander, use castile soap. A little bit of sudsing is okay here. Step 7. Condition. Check the label; some manufacturers recommend conditioning leather while it’s still damp, while others suggest a drying period. If you’re concerned about whether a product will darken the finish, test a spot where it won’t be seen. Authentic neat’s-foot and other “oils” will almost always darken leather, while some top beeswaxfortified “fine leather” creams will not. Wipe away any excess conditioner or oil so they don’t stain your clothes or collect dirt. Step 8. Buff. When the conditioner has been absorbed, buff the leather with a lint-free rag. As you go, check for any residual soap or dirt, especially in those hard-to-see places.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Remove bits, buckles, hardware, and any silver accessories before applying leather cleaners.


With a big project, such as a saddle, work on small sections at a time. Spring 2022


Mountain-Travel Tricks Take an inside look at top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight’s travel protocol through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. By Julie Goodnight With Heidi Melocco


Julie Goodnight travels regularly to C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado, to conduct horsemanship clinics and lead daily trail rides. These weekends require a 300-mile round-trip drive through the steep Rocky Mountains while hauling three horses. Her horses stay at the back of the main barn (shown). Note that the ranch’s iconic barn burned in the East Troublesome fire in October 2020, but reopened last spring.


regularly travel to C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado, to conduct horsemanship clinics and lead daily trail rides. These action-packed weekends require a 300-mile round-trip drive through the steep Rocky Mountains while hauling three horses. Planning for the trip means preparing the horses and all the gear needed for rid-

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


ing and horse care while away from home, as well as preparing my truck and trailer for the mountainous drive. I’ve trailered horses across the United States ever since I first received my driver’s license as a teenager. Now, living in the middle of Colorado (just to the west of the Continental Divide) means hauling horses over steep passes and narrow highways to >> Spring 2022

get to any trail ride or versatility competition. I must be well-packed and well-prepared for the drive. I’ve learned a few tricks to make my trips smooth, safe, and easy to plan. Here, I’ll detail how I plan my trip, pack my trailer, care for my horses on the road, and settle them in when we arrive at the ranch. I’ll also give you a list of what I pack in my trailer.

Planning the Trip Getting ready to travel with horses requires planning. When crossing state lines, you’ll need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, also called a health certificate. This document usually must be dated within 30 days, but some locations may require as few as seven days. Contrary to common belief, the health certificate isn’t a document that guarantees your horse is disease-free. Although the horse must not display signs of sickness when the certificate is issued, an hour later, he could break out with a fever. The health certificate is an official travel document used by the government as a tracking tool to monitor disease outbreak. I like to have each horse’s Coggins test (showing they didn’t carry antibodies for equine infectious anemia at the time of the test) and brand inspection records. My veterinarian vaccinates and tests my horses, and inspects them for their health certificates, when it’s convenient. Then she e-mails me their health records, as well as color photos identifying each horse. I print a hard copy to keep in my trailer; my horses’ records are in the State Veterinarian Office’s system, as well.

Packing the Trailer My trailer is a three-horse slant-load gooseneck with a walk-in tack room (the latter is a must-have in my book); it also has a rear tack compartment I use USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Julie Goodnight’s Horse-Travel Packing List Here are the items Julie Goodnight packs in her trailer when she travels to conduct horsemanship clinics and trail rides. She stows her travel items in a walk-in front tack room and a rear tack compartment in her three-horse, slant-load, gooseneck trailer.

Front Tack Room/For Horses ■ Equine first-aid kit ■ Tack/extra tack (including saddles, saddle pads, bridles, blankets, and leg boots) ■ Extra halters and leads (rope halters and training leads; a leather shipping halter and lead) ■ Tack-repair kit (including a leather punch, leather strings, Chicago screws, baling wire, needle-nose pliers) ■ Emergency farrier tools ■ Folding knives ■ Fly spray ■ Grooming equipment and supplies ■ Horse-washing equipment and supplies (including scissors, clippers, clean towels, and rags) ■ Small file case (with copies health/registration and brand papers)

Front Tack Room/For Humans

■ Comfort kit (including sunscreen, lip balm, facial tissue, hydrocortisone cream, and ibuprofen) ■ Raingear ■ Picnic kit ■ Folding chairs


Julie Goodnight stows her travel items in a walk-in front tack room and a rear tack compartment in her three-horse, slant-load, gooseneck trailer. Shown is Goodnight’s trailer traveling in a caravan through the mountains to reach C Lazy U Ranch. ■ Collapsible trash bin ■ Pop-up canopy ■ Cooler with wheels

Rear Tack Compartment ■ Feed ■ Feed pans ■ Large hay bags (full, to serve as an emergency hay supply) ■ Large rolling hay bag (to hold a small bale of hay) ■ Water buckets (with straps and hooks) ■ Muck buckets ■ Manure fork ■ Chain-style dog collars and padlocks (to lock gear in a tack stall during a layover or at a show, if required) ■ Training flag (in case needed to load a horse) ■ Floor jack (strong enough to jack up a loaded trailer) ■ All-purpose toolkit (including a pipe wrench, headlamp, powerful flashlight, duct tape, and baling wire) >> >>


Spring 2022

to store feed, mucking tools, and horse blankets. The trailer’s front walk-in tack room is the primary storage unit. Having a place to get out of the weather and secure all my gear while I’m on the road is an added bonus. I keep my walk-in tack room permanently loaded with all the things I might possibly need when on the road, from fly spray and a leather punch to all the horses’ travel papers. I’ve hung a dry-erase white board inside the door to keep an ongoing list of the items I forgot or wish I had with me the last time I traveled. Those items must be replenished before the next trip. I don’t take inventory from the trailer to the barn; I want to make sure that the trailer’s tack room is fully stocked and ready any time we need to get on the road. Nothing is to be removed from the trailer unless it needs to be refreshed and replaced. Right before a road trip, I do add a few more items, including my saddles, saddle pads, leg boots, bridles, and each horse’s blanket. I also load up fresh hay, grain, supplements, and water buckets with lids. I take all of my horse’s various blankets with me, as C Lazy U is high in the mountains and the weather can be changeable. Their regular stalls are on the north side of the barn, so they may be chilly. A few days before a road trip, I up my horses’ prebiotic and probiotic intake to aid digestion and boost immunity. I also calculate the amount of hay I’ll need during the travel and boarding time. Then I pre-mix my horses’ grain, supplements, and medications per meal,


Julie Goodnight’s horses rest at a stop during the trailer ride to C Lazy U Ranch. “Note that all horses are wearing gentle flat halters and that the windows will be closed for traveling,” says Julie Goodnight. and store them in zip-close plastic bags labeled with each horse’s name. I load these into a tub, which I place in my trailer’s rear tack compartment. Finally, I update my horse files with information about any new horses that will travel with me, along with their health certificates, if required.

Travel Day On the day of travel, I decide how to outfit my horses for the trip. I watch the weather report to decide whether I’ll blanket them. In early spring and late fall, temperatures can be quite chilly outside during travel. Still, the trailer often gets warm after the horses are loaded in, due to their close quarters and the heat of the road. Unless it is really cold outside (below freezing), I prefer to leave my horses unblanketed in the trailer. It’s too easy for them to get overheated. My trailer is fully enclosed, so three horses can quickly become warm. Once we’re on the road, I stop

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


and check under each blanket to make sure the horses aren’t sweating. I actually get into the trailer compartment to see what the temperature feels like. Sometimes, I use a lightweight stable sheet on each horse to keep them clean for their appearance when we arrive. Whether I wrap the horses’ legs depends on the horses I’m hauling, the temperature outside, and how far I’ll travel. My horses travel really well and don’t move around a lot once they’re in their slots. They’re experienced travelers and know how to lean on the trailer’s dividers for balance, so I may not need much leg protection for a shorter hop. I don’t wrap legs when I trailer my horses to C Lazy U, because they do trailer well, and extra leg gear can cause them to get too warm. If I’m traveling a really long distance, a horse may need circulatory support. If I know I must ride as soon as I arrive at a destination, I may wrap the legs or apply bell >> Spring 2022

boots so that horse won’t nick his heel. In my experience, one of the most common trailer injuries occurs when a horse loses his balance and steps on the heels of his front feet with his back hooves. If a horse needs leg protection, I put bell boots on the front feet, loosely wrap a quilt around the legs and over the top of the bell boot, then apply a polo wrap all the way down to the bell boot. I finish off the polo wrap with duct tape to make sure that the wraps stay in place. Ventilation in the horse compartment is the most important concern to me for my horses’ respiratory health. At best, there will be a lot of floating dust. Because my horses are often tied, they may have trouble putting down their heads to clear their airways. A well-designed trailer will have at least one overhead vent per horse the trailer is designed to carry. I open the roof vents and crack the windows in the back to try and keep fresh air coming over my horses, even in cold weather. I’m also very careful about putting shavings in the horse compartment. Shavings may blow around and create more dust than I want. However, if I’m traveling far enough that the horses may need to urinate in the trailer, I also have concerns about the mats getting slippery and a horse falling. If the trailer ride is longer than two hours, I’ll put down shavings. I then double-check the hitch and the electrical connections to the trailer. The very last thing I do is load the horses in the trailer. It’s usually best to get moving as soon as the doors are shut. If you leave the horses standing and waiting,

they may become impatient and start pawing, fidgeting, or worse; and I don’t want my horses to develop this habit. As soon as you start moving, your horse will have to focus on balancing and will generally stay quiet. I load my horses in the same compartments each time, primarily according to size. I load the smallest horse in the front, then the midsized horse in the middle, and the largest horse in the back. In a slant load, the longest space is usually in the last compartment. Measure your trailer to make sure there’s enough space for your biggest horse. On occasion, there are other factors that determine who gets loaded where, such as

Measure your trailer to make sure there’s enough space for your biggest horse. how well the horses get along, which one is getting dropped off where, or which one is easier or harder to load. On the way to C Lazy U, I stop halfway to rest and refresh. I open the trailer windows while the truck is stopped. (Never keep a window without bars open while the vehicle is moving to ensure a horse doesn’t stick his head out the window.) I check the temperature in the trailer and look inside to make sure each horse is standing on all four hooves. I want to see that footing is in good condition and whether any of the horses have slipped. Unloading on the road is a last resort. I keep my horses loaded unless I see a health emergency.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Julie Goodnight prepares for a clinic session at C Lazy U. Her horses have to be in top shape as soon as they arrive at the ranch, so Goodnight’s travel protocol is critical.

Settling In When I arrive at C Lazy U, I unload the horses first, and immediately take them to the stalls and runs. The ranch preps the stalls with shavings and water, and I make sure they have hay right away. After the horses are “put to bed,” I go back to evaluate the inside of the trailer. I look at the floor and take note of how much each horse has passed manure, urinated, or moved around in transit. By looking at the trailer, I have an idea of how well the horses have traveled, and whether anyone needs extra love and attention before the first big ride. USR Julie Goodnight’s next event at C Lazy U Ranch is the Women’s Riding and Wholeness Retreat with top clinician Barbra Schulte, April 28-May 2, 2022. Spring 2022


Vet-Prep Steps

Here are important steps to take before the vet arrives. By Jessica Jahiel, PhD ~ Photos by Heidi Melocco

Make separate appointments. Don’t ask your vet to see another horse after your vet arrives at your barn. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


>> Spring 2022

Confirm your appointment. An emergency call can completely throw your veterinarian’s schedule.

Gather your horse’s medical history, so you’ll be able to answer any questions your vet may have.


f you’re like most horse owners, you’re directly involved with your horse’s health care. An important part of that involvement means preparing your horse for your veterinarian before an appointment. Whether it’s a routine visit for an annual exam, a minor issue, or an emergency call for an illness or injury, you can help make the appointment go smoothly and ease stress on your horse by being well prepared. Here are prep steps to take before a nonemergency appointment, and additional steps to take in an emergency situation.

Start saving now for a potential emergency. (Tip: Start saving now for a potential emergency. In the best-case scenario, you won’t ever need to use the money, but having it in the bank will help give you peace of mind.)

Before a Routine/Nonemergency Appointment Confirm your appointment. Confirm your appointment a couple of hours beforehand. An emergency call can completely throw your veterinarian’s schedule. Follow instructions. Follow any instructions your vet has provided you in advance of the appointment. Gather medical history. Gather your horse’s medical history, so you’ll be able to answer any questions your vet may have. If you have information on your comUSRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

puter, print out, or at least keep handy, related files and folders. Provide driving directions. If your vet has never seen your horse before, make sure your vet knows exactly how to get to your barn. Groom your horse. Clean excess dirt off your horse, including his hooves. This will make it easier for your vet to exam him. Halter your horse. Have your horse haltered and ready for the exam as soon as your vet arrives. Clean a stall. Thoroughly clean a stall in case your horse will need further containment during the veterinary visit. Leave on all barn and stall lights for maximum visibility. Lock up your dogs. Lock up your dogs—even the friendly ones. Loose dogs can distract your vet and/or disturb your horse during an exam. Greet your vet. Go out and greet your vet at the driveway, and point out the best place to park. Make separate appointments. If another horse needs nonemergency veterinary care, make a separate appointment for him. Don’t ask your vet to see another horse after your vet arrives at your barn.

Before An Emergency Appointment. (Follow these steps in addition to those above.) Start an emergency fund. Start saving for a potential emergency now. In the best-case scenario, you won’t ever need to use the money, but having it in the bank will help give you peace of mind.


Spring 2022


After you call for help, take your horse’s vital signs so you can report them to your veterinarian.

Take your horse’s vital signs. After you call for help, take your horse’s vital signs so you can report them to your veterinarian. Vital signs include temperature, resting respiration rate, gut sounds, gum color, and capillary-refill time. Tip: Take your horse’s vital signs right now, and over the next several consecutive days, so you’ll have a baseline. That is, you’ll know what’s normal for him, which will help you and your vet determine when something is off. Take your horse’s vital signs at least once per year, as his baseline readings will change with age, weight, and other factors. Arrange for assistance. Have a horse-savvy friend or family

How to Take Your Horse’s Vital Signs Temperature. Take your horse’s temperature rectally, using either a digital or a glass mercury thermometer. Tie your horse, or ask a helper to hold him. For safety, let your horse know you’ll be approaching his hind end. Place a hand on his shoulder. Then, as you move toward his hind end, run your hand along his shoulder, chest wall, and hindquarters. Stand to the side, and move his tail out of the way. Then gently insert the thermometer fully past the anal sphincter to get an accurate reading. Leave a digital thermometer in place until it beeps and a glass thermometer in place for 2 to 3 minutes. Pulse. You’ll feel your horse’s pulse most easily at either his facial artery or his tail artery. His facial artery crosses his lower jawbone about halfway along its curve. His tail artery lies along the groove that runs down the middle of his tail’s underside. To feel his pulse, press one of these arteries with your fingertips. When you find a clear pulse, count the number of beats you feel over a 15-second period. Multiply this number by four to get the pulse rate per minute. Respiratory rate. One breath is the complete cycle of breathing in and out. Watch for the gentle rise and fall of your horse’s side, or rest your hand on his side and

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member on hand in case you need help restraining or loading your horse, or even just for moral support during the crisis. Hitch up. Hitch up your trailer in case your vet recommends taking your horse to the hospital. If you don’t have a trailer, contact a horse friend or equine-ambulance service to arrange for a ride, just in case. 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. USR

feel this movement. Count how many breaths he takes in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to get breaths per minute. You can also use a stethoscope to listen to the air moving through his trachea. Hydration. • Capillary-refill time test: Using your thumb, press against the gum above your horse’s upper incisor teeth to make it blanch out white, then count how many seconds it takes for the pink color to return. If your horse is hydrated, it’ll take less than two seconds. • Skin turgor test: Pick up a fold of skin along your horse’s neck, tenting it up away from his body. Then let go. If your horse is hydrated, the skin will snap right back into place. If he’s dehydrated, the skin fold will return to place slowly or might even remain tented. — Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD Normal Ranges for Equine Vital Signs



99° F to 101.2° F; a digital thermometer may read slightly lower

Pulse Rate

32 to 42 beats per minute; very fit horses may read lower

Respiratory Rate

8 to 12 breath cycles (inhale + exhale) per minute

Spring 2022

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------------ SAFE TRAVELS------------

Accident Prevention


As you trailer your horse, be sure your trailer is in tip-top shape and that you drive carefully, so the experience is a positive one for him.

Here’s how to reduce the risk of an accident as you trailer your horse. By Rebecca Gimenez Husted, PhD USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


tay safe on the road with these trailering-safety recommendations developed from an ongoing survey of horse-trailer accidents. (For more about this survey, see “Contribute Your Story.”) The survey data show the main causes of wrecks are lack of proper maintenance, operator error, and equipment mismatch. Here’s how to reduce the risk of an accident as you trailer your horse to shows, trails, and other destinations this season.


Spring 2022


Before You Go First, follow these guidelines before you leave on your trip. Maintain your vehicle and trailer. Perform regular maintenance on your tow vehicle and trailer. Have your trailer wiring inspected for uninsulated, loose, and/or exposed wires, and poor connections. This applies to old and new trailers alike. New trailers aren’t trouble-free; inspect them closely. Have your trailer axles serviced annually or every 6,000 miles, whichever comes first. Replace your tires. Replace your tow-vehicle and trailer tires every three to five years regardless of mileage. Make sure that tires are rated to support more than the gross weight of the trailer and its contents. Check the air pressure in all tires (tow vehicle, trailer, and spare) at least every 30 days. Purchase a high-quality air pressure gauge, and learn how to operate it. Check the inside dually tires. If you pull your trailer with a dually truck, check the inside tires for wear. Since these tires are “hidden” behind the outside tires, they’re easy to neglect. Also check the inside tires’ air pressure. Even if an inside tire is completely flat, it’ll be supported by the outside tire, making it appear properly inflated.


Drive as though you have a cup of water on the floorboard. Stay slightly under the speed limit to allow for adverse driving conditions. Double the following distance recommended for passenger cars.


Apply reflective material to the back of your trailer. If you lose trailer lighting or experience an electrical failure, this material will help other drivers see you as they approach. Shown is reflective material from Caution Horses Safety Products. Apply reflective material. Apply reflective material to the back of your trailer. If you lose trailer lighting or experience an electrical failure, this material will help other drivers see you as they approach. Enter ICE contacts. ICE stands for “in case of emerUSRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

gency.” This simple program is designed to help emergency responders identify victims and determine who needs to be notified. Make it easy for first responders to know who to contact for information on handling your horse: Program an entry into your cell phone called “ICE – Horse.” Key in the contact information of someone with the authority to make decisions about your horse’s care, should you become incapacitated. Draw up a power-of-attorney document. In conjunction with the ICE program, initiate a power-of-attorney document with a trusted friend or relative. If you become incapacitated, this will provide for your horse’s emergency medical treatment. Also, prepare the corresponding Notice to Emergency Responders document. Keep copies of both documents in glove box of your tow vehicle. Hitch up safely. Improper hitching is a common cause of trailer accidents. Use a hitch that’s the correct type, size, and rating to match the coupler. Make sure the hitch is properly installed onto your towing vehicle. Securely fasten the safety chains and breakaway switch actuating chain. Balance your load. An unbalanced load can cause a trailer to overturn in an accident. When loading your trailer, load the heaviest cargo on the left. If you’re loading only one horse, load him on the left side of the trailer. After loading, secure trailer doors and hatches. Use protective gear. Apply shipping boots and a head bumper to help ensure your horse’s safety. Carry a first-aid kit. Carry a current veterinarian-approved first aid kit. (For first-aid-kit recommendations from USRider, click here.) >>


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If your vehicle becomes disabled, continue driving until you can pull over to a safe area, if at all possible. Do this even if you have a flat tire and it means destroying a wheel.

On the Road

Hang up, and pay attention. Avoid talking and texting on your cellphone while pulling a trailer. Transportation experts have determined that talking on a cellphone while driving proves to be just as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol. Pull over safely. If your vehicle becomes disabled, continue driving until you can pull over to a safe area, if at all possible. Do this even if you have a flat tire and it means destroying a wheel. Wheels can be easily replaced. Stopping on the shoulder is extremely dangerous, particularly on an interstate highway. Doing so can put you, your horse, and emergency responders at great risk. When safe, pull onto the road’s shoulder as much as possible, away from the white line. Leave tire-changing to the pros. If you pull over roadside because of a flat truck or trailer tire, don’t change it by yourself, even if you know how to do so. Call for professional help. Roadside fixes are hazardous. Your life is worth the time waiting for help. USR

Follow these guidelines once you’re underway. Use your headlights. Drive with the headlights on at all times to increase your visibility. Drive carefully. Data show operator error, such as driving too fast, causes the majority of trailer accidents. To overcome this risk, be very careful, and remain attentive. Drive as though you have a cup of water on the floorboard of your vehicle. Stay slightly under the speed limit to allow for adverse driving conditions. Double the following distance recommended for passenger cars. Maintain that distance even when cars cut in front of you.

Rebecca Gimenez Husted, 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.

Contribute Your Story Dr. Tomas Gimenez, professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Clemson University, and Dr. Rebecca Gimenez Husted, an animal physiologist and a primary instructor in technical large-animal emergency rescue, are assisting USRider in an ongoing mission to gather and analyze data about trailer accidents. The team began collecting data through a survey in December 2003. The research team also culls data from incidents reported in newspapers and online. The team is using this data to develop recommendations for preventing accidents and enhancing equine safety on the road. PHOTO BY REBECCA GIMENEZ HUSTED Equestrians around the country are urged to help with the research. USRider asks all horse owners, trainers, emergency responders, veterinarians, and others who have been involved in a trailer accident to participate in the survey. To contribute your story, click here.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2022

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

Camp in Crater Country

Inside the dormant volcanic crater at Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Deschutes National Forest lie two sparkling lakes, a spacious horse camp, and miles of trails. The area was created when a tremendous prehistoric explosion blew the entire top off of Newberry Volcano, leaving a 500-square-mile caldera.

Inside Newberry National Volcanic Monument lie two sparkling lakes, a spacious horse camp, and miles of trails. Story and Photos by Kent & Charlene Krone USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


an’t be “on top of the world”? How about “on top of a volcano”? Inside the dormant volcanic crater at Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Deschutes National Forest lie two sparkling lakes, a spacious horse camp, and miles of trails. This monument is located 45 minutes south of Bend, Oregon, on Highway #97.


The area was created when a tremendous prehistoric explosion blew the entire top off of Newberry Volcano, leaving a 500-square-mile caldera. In 1990, the area was designated a national monument to preserve the volcano’s unique nature. Within the caldera are two large, beautiful lakes: Paulina Lake, one of the deepest lakes >> Spring 2022

in Oregon, and East Lake. Both are clear and nutrient-rich, and contain large populations of trout, kokanee, and Atlantic salmon. Mountains ring the crater. Paulina Peak is the highest at 7,985 feet in elevation. At different points along the trail, you may drink in views of the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson, Mount Bachelor, and Fort Rock.

Crater Rim Loop The Newberry caldera has a good-sized horse camp with access to riding trails. We spent several days at the Chief Paulina Horse Camp, located two miles past the park entrance above Paulina Lake. There are 14 sites with your choice of two or four horse corrals, plus ample parking for two rigs at most campsites. There’s no potable water for you, but stock water is available. From our campsite, we enjoyed morning coffee while gazing at Paulina Peak. Of the several rides from this horse camp, the longest and most ambitious is the Crater Rim Loop. From the horse camp and back, it’s 24 miles if you ride all around the crater’s rim. This trail is popular with endurance riders who enjoy the challenge and tremendous views. To find the Crater Rim Loop, ride west of the horse camp on Trail 5, then turn left and pick up Trail 3. When completing the loop, the trail returns to this point, but on the north side of the road. A word of caution: This trail is long with some difficult portions, and there’s no water.

More Rim Riding You can also access a couple of shorter trails from the horse camp. Some of these involve portions of the rim trail. One very steep, but beautiful trip is to Paulina Peak. Travel as before, west on Trail 3 and south on Trail 5. After this junction, the trail gains 1,300 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles. Your horse will need to be in excellent condition to handle this difficult climb. We gave our equine partners, Buddy and Scout, plenty of breaks. Breathtaking views and an opportunity to look down on screeching hawks below signal your arrival. Soak in scenery that includes the Cascade Range, high-desert basin, the ranges of Eastern Oregon, two caldera lakes, and volcanic and forested landscape. To complete this 11-mile loop, continue riding east on Trail 3 until you cross Rd. 500. Then follow the >> USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Top to bottom: The Chief Paulina Horse Camp in Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Buddy and Scout enjoy the corrals at Chief Paulina Horse Camp. Charlene Krone rides Scout on the crater rim trail looking across the mouth of the caldera. Charlene Krone on the trail from Swamp Wells Horse Camp to Boyd Cave. Spring 2022

crater rim to the junction of Trail 7. Turn left on Trail 7 and left on Trail 6 to ride along the side of the Big Obsidian Flow. At the bottom, take Trail 5 back to camp. We found the Big Obsidian Flow fascinating. On a sunny day, the flow appears as glittering shards of black glass. About 1,300 years ago, 170 million cubic yards of molten lava erupted from a vent and cooled rapidly, thus forming smooth, shiny obsidian. Area tribes once used obsidian glass for trade, which is why it can be found many miles from its original source. The glass was used it to make tools and arrowheads. At Newberry National Monument, obsidian collecting is prohibited. Just before you enter the monument, you’ll find the varied and beautiful Peter Skene Odgen Trail. After you leave Highway 97, travel two miles, and turn left into Ogden Campground. Pull over to the large gravel parking lot near the campground entrance. The Peter Skene Odgen Trail travels to Paulina Falls and then to Paulina Lake. As we rode Buddy and Scout up the trail, we enjoyed the freshness of pinelaced air and the sounds of Paulina Creek. Our horses enjoyed the gentle trail, which at times runs over overgrown logging roads. Our grateful mounts even started to rethink their riders’ diet plan. A special treat near the end of the journey is Paulina Falls. Water hurls over a volcanic ledge and plummets 80 feet into the canyon below. Shortly after the falls, we arrived at our destination and found a safe place to tie the horses away from the lake. It’s roughly 8.5 miles and a 2,000-foot elevation gain to this point. Nearby are restroom facilities, a café, and a small store where we bought cold drinks and sandwiches.

Swamp Wells

Top to bottom: Kent Krone rides Buddy from Swamp Wells Horse Camp to Boyd Cave. Sunset from Newberry Crater. The historic Headquarters House at the 100-year-old Long Hollow Ranch.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


We then trailered north of Newberry Caldera to try out another horse camp known as Swamp Wells. Located outside the monument boundary, this camp is accessed by turning off Highway 97 and onto China Hat Rd. Follow China Hat Rd. about five miles, then turn right on Rd. 1810, and follow it 5.7 miles. Turn left on Rd. 816, and go 2.7 miles to camp. Swamp Wells Horse Camp has five sites with metal, four-horse corrals. There’s no water. As the camp is low in elevation and there’s very little shade, it would be hot in the summer. Therefore, we would recommend this camp for spring and fall use. The roads and trails around Swamp Wells are relatively level with lots of opportunities to engage >> Spring 2022

in faster gaits. We’d read about Boyd Cave, eight miles north of Swamp Wells. That became our destination. Armed with flashlights, we rode out. Boyd Cave is technically a long lava tube. We climbed down a set of stairs leading into the cave’s cool depths. Dim lights of our little flashlights preceded us into the cave until we were enveloped by claustrophobic darkness—a subterranean world. We quickly turned around and climbed back up into the welcoming sunshine.

Cattle Ranch End your experience in crater country with time at an authentic working cattle ranch. Long Hollow Ranch is located in Sisters, about 27 miles north of Bend. This ranch has the distinction of being the last remaining guest ranch in Oregon. Pamper yourself with quiet relaxation and delicious meals, or immerse yourself in trail riding and cattle work. In the spring, guests are invited to ride along on branding and roundups. Cattle are sorted for vaccina-

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

tions and then moved through unspoiled country to summer pastures. In the fall, guests help drive cattle back to the ranch. There are many riding opportunities at the ranch. Short rides, long rides, easy rides, challenging rides, and of course, sunset rides! The dinner and breakfast cookouts are two favorite rides that guests come back to enjoy again and again. In both cases, guests mount their horses and ride to a scenic location for either a sizzling barbecue or a bacon-and-egg breakfast. Come on out to central Oregon to ride the crater and visit a historic guest ranch. Explore unique and unspoiled country. It’s all here, just waiting around the “Bend”! USR Seasoned equestrian travelers Kent and Charlene Krone combine their interest in photojournalism with a passion for horses. They enjoy sharing their horseback adventures and equestrian-travel tips with fellow enthusiasts.


Spring 2022

------------ 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 2022


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 2022


Equestrian Gear Essential Travel Solutions

Engine Evaluation Plug CarMD Vehicle Health System into your tow vehicle’s engine, and within seconds, it’ll detect any hidden problems. It’ll also tell you whether your vehicle is ready to pass an emissions test. CarMD’s Vehicle Health Reports also flag any technical-service bulletins or safety recalls on your vehicle. And when service is required, this product tells you exactly what’s wrong and what it’ll take to fix it.

Head Protection

Shin Guard

Cashel Company’s Horse Helmet is designed to help prevent your horse from suffering a head injury during trailer loading and unloading, and while traveling. Helmets feature large ear holes, hospital-quality felt, and extra foam padding at the poll. The helmet snaps right onto the halter with easily adjustable elastic straps.

If you’ve ever banged your shin on the hard steel edge of your truck’s ball mount, you know how painful it can be. The Fastway® SHIN GUARD™ safety cover can save you some skin. The guard includes an adjustable tether loop to keep your trailer-wiring harness off the ground so it won’t drag and so it’ll be where you need it when you’re ready to hook up. Available in black, yellow, and orange.

Back-up Camera System Swift Hitch is the original wireless portable back-up camera system designed to assist with hitching up your trailer and monitoring your horse while you’re on the road. The camera’s portability, and its reverse-imaging and night-vision capabilities, make it a valuable accessory for frequent horse hauling. USRider Members receive $20 off, plus free shipping on all Swift Hitch products with a purchase of $50 or more. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2022

Sign up r o f y a d to E E R F r yo u t r i al !


Barrel Racing Fundamentals with Shali Lord Rider Fitness with

Kelly Altschwager

PLUS: More Insights with Bud Lyon and Brad Barkemeyer

Benefits of Membership

Being an insider has its benefits. When you sign up for Horse&Rider OnDemand, you’ll receive the following perks. Weekly video releases from Brad Barkemeyer and Bud Lyon. Access to a video library pre-stocked with more than 80 clips to help with all aspects of horsemanship. A year subscription to Horse&Rider magazine. Free access to digital back issues of Horse&Rider magazine. Members-only content and offers. Plus much more!


------------ USRIDERBENEFITS------------

USRider Member Benefits Farm and Stable Equipment and Supplies 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 enclosed in membership kits and renewal mailings. (Look for the access codes to

all Winner’s Circle Advantage Partners.) With so many discounts, you can easily save the cost of your annual membership fee, and more! This issue, we spotlight Farm and Stable Equipment and Supplies. For more information on each of these companies, and for more Member discounts, click here. offers long-lasting, maintenance-free Pet Memorial Markers (shown) to honor the memory of a beloved horse or pet. The company also offers personalized farm signs, an excellent, affordable way to enhance your farm or barn entrance. Use the company’s easy-to-navigate, secure website to “build” your sign online. Farm signs also make great gifts. USRider Members receive a 10% discount on all sign orders, plus free shipping.

QuitKick Stall-wall kicking and door pawing are dangerous habits that can result in serious damage to stalls and severe injuries to horses. QuitKick stops stall kicking and door pawing humanely, effectively, and without the need for any human interaction between horse and caretaker. QuitKick uses controlled water jets activated by the kicking, pawing, or banging action of the horse on the door or walls to stop these habits. Shown is the Quit Kick Total Stall System. USRider Members receive a 10% discount on all QuitKick products.

Spalding Fly Predators® Say goodbye to flies. For easy, safe and effective fly control, use Fly Predators® from Spalding Labs. For 35 years Spalding Labs has supplied Fly Predators® to horse owners nationwide. These tiny beneficial insects are the natural enemy of flies but never bother people or animals. Simply put them out monthly during warm weather. USRider Members receive double the quantity of any one shipment at no extra cost.

Woodstar Products Woodstar Products was founded in 1977 to provide custom horse stalls for the discriminating horse owner. Woodstar has expanded its product line to include an array of products, making “one stop” shopping a reality. Woodstar has always subscribed to the QC (quality and customer) method of doing business. The company’s friendly staff is available to assist you with any questions regarding its products or your planned equine facility. USRider Members receive a 10% discount on horse stalls exceeding $500. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Spring 2022

TRAIN WITH THE PROS Training with the top equine professionals has never been easier. Equine Network’s subscription video platforms are home to top-quality videos on the topics that interest you. From horse care to colt starting, dressage to roping—our video platforms make it easy to learn from the best in the business anytime, anywhere. Download and start streaming from your smart devices for FREE today! Click on the brand to start your FREE trial.


Used-Trailer-Buying Tips If economic circumstances have thwarted your plans for that new horse trailer this year, consider a well-cared-for, well-designed used trailer. Here are 11 expert buying tips. ■ 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. ■ Avoid sharp edges. Inspect the trailer for sharp edges, sharp tie rings, and other things that could injure your horse. Avoid steep, slippery ramps. Look for ramps that are easy to lift. Also look for windows and/or slats that provide light and air flow. ■ Check the ramp. 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.

■ 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 gross vehicle weight rating (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 hitch. Check the coupler for excessive wear; it shouldn’t be loose when attached to the tow-vehicle ball. Any damage is a deal-breaker. Safety chains should be in good condition. Look for an emergency breakaway brake with a rechargeable, replaceable battery. ■ Check the electrical connection. Make sure the electrical connectors match up. Turn on the parking lights, and check the taillights and running lights. ■ 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

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Consider your horse. Put your horse’s safety and comfort first. Look at the trailer from his point of view. Avoid dark, stuffy trailers.

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. ■ Avoid impulse buys. Don’t buy the first trailer you see; shop around. The wrong trailer is no deal at any price. — Tom Scheve & Neva Kittrell

Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve are the Scheve 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. Spring 2022

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