USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion-Winter 2019

Page 1

Equestrian Traveler’s


Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource Winter 2019

Safe Winter Trailering

Teach the Backup

Winter Getaway: Lajitas, Texas

Quench Seasonal Thirst Top Road Gear

An AIM Equine Network Publication

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANION Winter 2019

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

FEATURES 10 Safe Travels

Winter Trailering

14 Your Healthy Horse

Quench Seasonal Thirst

16 Top Training

Teach the Backup

18 USRider Member Story

Shasta Lake ‘Adventure’

DEPARTMENTS 4 Trip Tips Expert Travel Help 6 Skill Set

Back Your Trailer

8 Handy Checklist

Winter-Driving Tips

20 Road Gear

Trailering Essentials

22 Winner’s Circle Advantage

USRider® Member Benefit Spotlight

24 Getaways


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, Dressage Today, Horse&Rider, Practical Horseman, and The Team Roping Journal. AIM Equine Network also offers a proprietary line of books, DVDs, trailering products, and equestrian gifts through its online store, 2

Winter 2019

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

Premier Plan UPGRADE TODAY Premier Plan

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

• • • • • •

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

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

WWW.USRIDER.ORG • (800) 844-1409

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

Avoid a Lockout


Being locked out of your vehicle is not only an inconvenience, but also can put you and your horse at risk for an injury.

Being locked out of your tow vehicle is not only an inconvenience, but also can put you and your horse at risk for an injury. And today’s sophisticated vehicles can pose challenges to locksmiths and service providers, which can leave you stranded for an uncomfortable length of time. If your keys are locked in your vehicle, USRider can usually find a locksmith to assist you. However, a lost ignition key presents a challenge. Most modern ignitions systems have an integrated two-part security system that requires a key with a transponder that communicates to the vehicle a matching key is in use. To start your ignition, you might have to get a key from the dealer, which is expensive. To avoid a lockout, hide a spare key outside your tow vehicle. Tip: Keep your key fob and your cellphone at least one inch apart; otherwise, your fob’s electronics can be scrambled or erased. And if your fob is erased, there’s usually no way to repair it.


Check Tire Pressure Studies show that the leading factor in roadside breakdowns is tires. And as temperatures cool, tire pressure decreases. USRider advises you to check the air pressure on both your tow vehicle and trailer at least once a month and prior to each trip. A general rule of thumb: For every 10 degree change in temperature, tire pressure changes by one pound per square inch (PSI). Pressure goes up when temperatures are higher and down when temperatures are lower. The correct tire pressure for your vehicle will be on a placard located in an interior doorjamb; you can also find it in your owner’s manual. You can find the correct tire pressure for your trailer stamped on the tire sidewall. Tire-pressure recommendations are as listed as “Maximum Cold Air Pressure.” Unlike vehicle tires, trailer tires should be inflated to the maximum pressure indicated on the tire. Check tire pressure prior to traveling, while the tires are cold. Avoid checking tire pressure in direct sunlight, which will increase pressure readings. Use a high-quality air-pressure gauge, and know how to use it. In addition to preventing blowouts, properly inflated tires will last longer, handle safer, and get better gas mileage by reducing rolling resistance. Consider investing in a tire-pressure monitoring system to alert you to any sudden drops in air pressure. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



As temperatures cool, tire pressure decreases. USRider advises you to check the air pressure on both your tow vehicle and trailer at least once a month and prior to each trip. Winter 2019


Supplement Wisely Follow these guidelines if you plan to give your horse supplements this winter, at home or on the road. Analyze your hay. Select supplements based on hay analysis; give your horse only what he needs and your hay lacks. Good hay provides adequate protein and high fiber, which produces heat from digestion. Watch the weather. Unusual cold can lead to unexpected weight loss. If extra-cold weather is on the way, increase your horse’s forage. Use a small-hole hay net for extra hay rations not only to keep the hay off the ground, but also to encourage him to eat small amounts safely and continuously as nature designed him to do. Check his weight. Horses can lose weight very quickly. In very cold weather, inadequately fed horses will burn stored fat. If their ration remains inadequate, they’ll next begin to burn protein from their muscles. Check your horse’s weight twice daily to protect him from unseen weight loss, using the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System, available from USRider’s sister publication, PHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM Salt is an essential element of your horse’s diet EQUUS. First, remove your horse’s blanket, if you use one. Then year-round. Offer salt freely all winter long. reach under his winter coat and firmly check his withers, back, hips, and ribs. Learn his normal, healthy contours. Maintain his weight wisely. If your horse loses weight, try increasing his hay ration, or feed him a leafier type of hay that has a higher protein content. Grain adds very little warmth; fat adds calories, but not warmth. Offer salt. Salt is an essential element of your horse’s diet year-round. Offer salt freely all winter long. Consult your vet. If your horse is still losing weight, consult your veterinarian about carefully adding a small amount of grain to your horse’s diet. — Jessica Jahiel, PhD


Blanket Safely If you plan to blanket your horse for winter travel, buckle the blanket in the right order to avoid a spook and possible injury. First, position the blanket on your horse’s back, then fasten the neck closure. This will keep the blanket in place as you finish securing it. If the blanket were to slide off and get caught on his back legs, he might spook and pull back or bolt. Next, work front to back, attaching the chest closure, then moving down to his legs, belly, and tail. To remove the blanket, move in the opposite order: Undo the back buckles first, then work toward PHOTO BY HEIDI MELOCCO your horse’s head. When you blanket your horse, attach the front buckle first to keep — Heidi Melocco the blanket in place while you buckle the rest of the closures. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019

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

Back Your Trailer The ability to back your trailer accurately gives you more flexibility regarding where you can go to enjoy your horse and more confidence in going there. When you back your trailer, you generally have one of two objectives. You want to be able to move it backward in a straight line, so that it ends up directly behind your rig. Or, back it accurately through a turn, maneuvering it into a parking spot or other designated space. You’ll use the same simple technique for objective. To practice this skill, start with an empty trailer. Give yourself plenty of room, such as a field, a large riding arena, or an empty parking lot. Enlist a helper, and agree beforehand on a few simple hand signals as a fail-safe for verbal communication.

• Practice direction. To practice backing to the right or to the left, align your tow vehicle and trailer, and straighten your vehicle’s wheels. Place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. Shift your vehicle into reverse. As you slowly back up, move your hand (still holding the wheel) in the direction you want the rear of your trailer to turn. For instance, if you want your trailer to back around to your right, ease your hand that’s at the bottom of the steering wheel a couple of inches counterclockwise, to your right. • Make small corrections. If you’re backing up in a straight line, don’t wait until your trailer has gotten way out of position before trying to straighten it; use tiny corrections to keep it di-

Position your helper to the side near PHOTOS BY TOM SCHEVE AND NEVA KITTRELL SCHEVE the rear corner of your trailer, as Neva Kittrell Scheve is here. This way, your helper can see your trailer’s movement, and you can see his or her signals in your rear-view mirror (inset). USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


rectly behind your vehicle. When backing around a turn, anticipate before your trailer is even close to the jackknife stage, and correct to make the turn shallower. If you believe your trailer is still turning too sharply, shift into drive, go forward until you’re straight, then try again. • Consider your vehicle’s wheelbase. Your tow vehicle’s wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear axles. Your trailer will turn more quickly when you’re driving a vehicle with a shorter wheelbase, such as a sport utility vehicle. A longer wheelbase, such as on a full-size pickup, will turn your trailer more gradually. A longer trailer, although it occupies more overall space, is actually easier to maneuver than a short one. If you’ve avoided getting a trailer with a dressing room because you fear the extra length will be harder to back, you might be pleasantly surprised when you finally back your longer trailer. • Take it easy. No need to hold the bottom of the steering wheel in a death grip; in fact, you’re more likely to over-steer if you’re holding very tightly. Breathe deeply, and think about making movements similar to the way you strive to ride, supple and relaxed. • Steer first. If you begin moving the steering wheel before you put the tow vehicle’s wheels in motion, the resulting turn will begin much sooner than if you wait until your tow vehicle is rolling backward before turning the steering wheel. >> Winter 2019

If you jackknife your trailer, pull forward and away from the direction of the jackknife. For instance, if you’ve jackknifed while backing your trailer to the left, shift into neutral, then turn your vehicle wheels to the right before shifting into drive.

After you feel comfortable backing your trailer, try setting specific goals. For instance, imagine that you need to back your trailer into a parking spot at a weekend show. Use traffic cones to mark off the area, then try different approaches.

in relation to the “spot” in your side-view mirrors, as well as turning your head for a direct look. • Straighten a jackknife. If you accidentally jackknife your rig, pull forward and away from the direction of the jackknife. For instance, if you’ve jackknifed while backing your trailer to the left, shift into neutral, then turn your vehicle wheels to the right before shifting into drive. This will straighten your rig in the least possible distance. — Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve

• Set goals. After you feel comfortable backing your trailer, try setting specific goals. For instance, imagine that you need to back your trailer into a parking spot at a weekend show. Use traffic cones to mark off the area, then try different approaches to find out what works best for you. For example, you may discover that you’re most comfortable if you can back into the spot so that you’re turning to your left. This orientation allows you to check your trailer’s location

Perfect Perfect THE


WAY TO BUY AND SELL HORSES WAY TO BUY AND SELL HORSES GUARANTEED SATISFACTION GUARANTEED SATISFACTION “Great site. Very user friendly, very honest about “Great site. Very friendly, verysite. honest about the AQHA verification. I will user always use this AQHA verification. I will always use this site. Thank you the for having such a great Web page.” Thank you for having such a great Web page.” Zahl, North Dakota Zahl, North Dakota is the fast and secure way to buy and sell horses, trailers and more. As one is thewe fastsell and wayoftoone buyhorse and sell horses, trailers and more. As one of the largest marketplaces, ansecure average every half hour. of the largest equine marketplaces, we sell an average of one horse every half hour. * The testimonial in this ad is an actual testimonial from The photo may not be a photo Thetestimonial. testimonial in this ad is an actual testimonial from The photo may not be a photo from the same ad as*the from the same ad as the testimonial. FOLLOW US: FOLLOW US: @equine_com @equine_com

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019


Winter-Driving Tips Courtesy of USRider ®

During winter, maintain your trailer, and use the following winter-driving checklist to help keep you and your horse safe. ■ Check the weather. Before setting out on a trip, check weather reports, and plan accordingly. In many states, you can dial 511 for travel conditions and road closures. Allow extra time for inclement weather. Be aware of changing conditions. Look ahead, and keep track of the driving conditions in front of you. Actions by other drivers can alert you to problems and give you time to react. Look out for black ice, which is hard to see. ■ Go slow. Follow this rule of thumb: “Rain, ice, and snow—take it slow.” Slow down even more when approaching curves, ramps, bridges, and interchanges. Avoid abrupt actions, such as quick lane changes, braking, and accelerating.

■ Brake gently. Stopping on snow or ice without skidding and/or jackknifing takes extra distance. Gently brake to avoid skidding. If you begin to skid or jackknife, ease up on the brake, and steer into the skid to regain control. ■ Turn off cruise control. Avoid using cruise control to help maintain control of your vehicle. ■ Invest in snow tires. During winter months, traction tires are recommended. Such tires must have a minimum tread depth of one-eighthinch, and be labeled “Mud and Snow,” “M+S,” or “All-Season,” or have a mountain/snowflake symbol. See your tire dealer to find out which tires are best for your vehicle. ■ Carry chains. Comply with the chain laws in your area, and the area you’ll be driving through. ■ Watch for snowplows. Take extra precaution around snow-removal equipment. In some cases, the operator’s vision may be reduced. Give operators plenty of room, staying at least 200 feet behind them. ■ Top off the tank. Refuel when your fuel gauge drops below the halfway mark, so you aren’t forced to stop for fuel on a dangerous stretch of road.

During inclement weather, double the normal distance between vehicles to allow more stopping room. ■ Don’t become overconfident. Don’t be susceptible to the false security of four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive may help you go, but it won’t help you stop. ■ Use your headlights. Always drive with your headlights on during inclement weather, even if it isn’t dark. ■ Increase your distance. During inclement weather, double the normal distance between vehicles to allow more stopping room.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


In winter, weather and driving conditions can change rapidly. Be aware of your environment, and keep track of the driving conditions ahead.


Winter 2019

We have you covered. 24/7 Nationwide Roadside Assistance for Equestrians


and ride safely with a membership that includes:

• Up to 100 miles free towing • Emergency stabling assistance • Emergency veterinarian referrals

• Emergency farrier referrals • Coverage in any vehicle • Service on dual-wheeled vehicles and horse trailers

Never be stranded AGAIN. (800) 844-1409 WWW.USRIDER.ORG USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019


Winter Trailering You can travel with your horse during winter, but take precautions to stay safe with these expert tips. By Rebecca Gimenez, PhD


Winter travel with your horse can involve anything from an emergency trip to the veterinarian to an indoor show to a riding destination in warmer climes.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

Winter travel with your horse can involve anything from an emergency trip to the veterinarian to an indoor show to a riding destination in warmer climes. But, as you know, winter weather can be unpredictable and extreme, creating hazardous road conditions. Here, I’ll give you safety-oriented trailer-loading and driving tips to follow when hauling your horse in winter weather.


Winter 2019


Trailer-Loading Tips Follow these trailer-loading tips to help keep your horse safe in winter conditions. • Train your horse. Train your horse to willingly load into the trailer and calmly unload. If he rushes in or out during snowy or icy conditions, he could risk a dangerous slip or fall. • Keep your trailer clean. Check the inside of the trailer before loading. Wet conditions, urine, and manure are slippery and could cause your horse to fall inside the trailer, which is dangerous. Keep a broom or shovel in your trailer to keep your trailer clean on the road. • Provide traction. In slick con-

It’s helpful to have a friend along to help you in challenging road conditions so you can concentrate on driving. up for success so your horse isn’t worried about stepping into the trailer. Put fresh hay in the bags and a little grain in the manger. Open the doors and windows to allow plenty of light to come in. • Stay calm. In challenging weather, or if your horse is injured, you might get a little anxious during the trailer-loading process. Your anxiety can be transferred to your horse, which can make him resistant to loading. Before you pick up the lead rope, take a few deep breaths and tell yourself to stay calm. Speak to him in soothing tones.

Safe-Driving Tips


Before you load or unload your horse in winter conditions, provide traction. Dirt is preferable, but snow is better than ice or asphalt (shown). ditions, apply sand or shavings to the ramp for traction. Keep salt or ice melt on hand to eliminate ice. Park your trailer so that the ramp is on the best traction you can find—preferably dirt. • Make it inviting. Set the scene

Follow these safe-driving tips whenever you haul your horse in winter weather. • Watch conditions. To prepare for a planned winter road trip, keep your eyes on the sky, and check the weather forecasts for developing weather conditions. If conditions really deteriorate, reconsider your travel plans. Stay home if you can. If you’re already on the road, find a safe place to wait out the storm. When the storm has passed, check road conditions. • Drive with a friend. It’s helpful to have a friend along to help

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


you in challenging road conditions so you can concentrate on driving. He or she can navigate, watch road and environmental conditions, and check on your horse from the in-cab monitor. He or she can also guide you as you back up and maneuver in tight spots. • Check the trailer brakes. Ensure your trailer brakes complement your tow vehicle’s brakes and are correct for the size of your tow vehicle. Generally, trailer brakes are best set on dry flat ground at a slow speed; they also need to be adjusted for the load. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions. • Turn off the engine brake. In icy and snowy conditions, turn off the compression release engine brake (also called a Jake brake); this is an engine mechanism installed on some diesel engines. Engine brakes are wonderful for tow vehicles; they offer fantastic slowing of the tow vehicle and trailer to minimize brake wear under dry conditions. But since they slow the tow vehicle initially, they can lead to a trailer jackknife if used in slick road conditions. • Position the electronic brake. Position the electronic >> Winter 2019

In hazardous conditions, drive as slowly as you need to. Let the rest of the traffic go around you. Your top priority is your safety, as well as the safety of your horse and passengers. brake where you can manually engage it via the thumb control and not have your knee in the way. • Turn off cruise control. Turn off the cruise control when hauling in all but the best conditions; this function can compromise manual control. • Turn on the lights. In winter conditions, leave your trailer and tow-vehicle lights on at all times, day and night. • Drive slowly. In hazardous conditions, drive as slowly as you need to. Run your hazard lights, if necessary. Let traffic go around you—Your top priority is

your safety, as well as the safety of your horse and passengers. Driving a trailer is no place for frustration to set in—take your time, and breathe. • Turn on your hazard lights. Turn on your hazard lights when you’re moving slower than the traffic around you; move into the right lane except to pass. (This is not only a safety precaution, it’s the law.) • Brake smoothly. If you must brake hard, do so as smoothly as possible while using the trailer brakes to assist your tow vehicle. • Regain control. If you start to skid or slide, ease off the

Turn on your hazard lights when you’re moving slower than the traffic around you; move into the right lane except to pass.

Winter weather can be unpredictable and extreme, creating hazardous road conditions.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


brakes immediately and steer into the direction of the skid to regain control. This reaction isn’t intuitive. Practice this skill in an open parking lot until you react automatically. USR

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

Winter 2019


Quench Winter Thirst

Here’s how to help keep your horse hydrated all winter long both at home and on the road. By Betsy Lynch


Your horse can’t get the water he needs simply from eating snow. What’s more, the forage beneath that snow is primarily dry matter. Without a readily available source of ice-free water, he’s at risk for colic. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


>> Winter 2019



It’s essential to keep your horse well-hydrated during winter. Maintaining his body fluids at optimum levels is his best defense against the cold—and colic. Adequate water in his system allows him to efficiently digest feed and convert food calories into body heat. Your horse’s drive to drink is dictated by his thirst. The problem, of course, is that the colder it gets, the less he’ll feel like drinking, even when his body really needs fluid. The most important thing is to make sure your horse’s water supply is a comfortable drinking temperature. Studies show that horses consume more water when it’s tepid—that is, in the mid-60-degree Fahrenheit range. Here’s how to warm your horse’s water to encourage him to drink enough this winter both at home and on the road.

Tanks & Waterers


From top to bottom: Adequate water in your horse’s system allows him to efficiently digest feed and convert food calories into body heat. An automatic waterer with a built-in heater is a good way to provide a constant supply of tepid water to pastured horses. A heated bucket is a thrifty way to keep water at a drinkable temperature at home and on the road; be sure to keep it filled. This one provides the safety feature of a coil-covered cord.

At home, heated automatic waterers or stock tanks with heating units might be the most practical way to keep enough water at a drinkable temperature for the entire group. Situate tanks and waterers in a sheltered area, out of the wind. Set them up so heater cords and electrical connections are out of harm’s way. Sinking tank heaters, versus floating units, might be less tempting for playful horses to pull from the tanks. If you have a plastic or fiberglass stock tank, use a safety cage around the heating element to protect the tank from melting. Check your tank heaters daily to make sure they’re working and that nothing has gone awry. Check your electrical breakers, too. If your tank heater has blown a fuse, it’s a warn-

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


ing sign that something is amiss. Remove and/or replace the unit before resetting the circuit. You don’t want to risk being shocked. If you’re running hoses from hydrants to stalls, paddocks, or runs, disconnect and drain them after each use. That way, they’ll be ready to go the next time tanks and buckets need refilling. This precaution will also help prevent plumbing damage during a deep freeze.

Electric Buckets At home and on the road, buckets with built-in electric heaters provide an economical way to raise the water temperature. Of course, you’ll have to be prepared to refill those buckets twice daily or more, since an average horse will drink approximately six to eight gallons each day. A standard bucket holds approximately five gallons, although some do come in 16-gallon and larger sizes. If your horse is consistently draining his bucket dry between refills, you’ll need to add a second, or invest in a bigger one. One advantage to using a heated bucket is you’ll have a fairly good idea how much your horse is actually drinking. And you’ll be supplying fresh water with every refill, which may encourage your horse to drink more than he might from a large tank that gets cleaned and refilled less frequently. Troubleshooting tip: If your horse’s manure seems dry, or he’s passing piles less frequently, he’s likely not drinking enough. Impaction could be a concern. If you’re conscientiously supplying plenty of clean, tepid water, consider adding a tablespoon of salt to his daily ration to help stimulate his thirst. USR Winter 2019

------------ TOPTRAINING------------

Teach the Backup Teach your horse how to back up on cue with this tapping exercise from top clinician Clinton Anderson. By Clinton Anderson ~ Downunder Horsemanship

A horse that backs up well is showing you respect. The better you can get your horse to back up, the more respectful and responsive he’ll be in everything else that you ask him to do—including backing out of the trailer. A good backup is also the foundation of the stop, as well as collection. A respectful horse backs up with energy anytime you ask him to. A disrespectful horse ignores your cue and walks toward you with pushy, dominant behavior. If you don’t teach your horse to back up when you ask him to, he’ll get pushier and more disrespectful. Here, I’ll explain how to teach your horse to back up on cue. You’ll teach him to respond with respect and energy when you tap the air in front of him. You’ll need: A rope halter, a 14-foot lead rope, a Handy Stick with string, and an enclosed work area with good footing. (To order a Handy Stick, click here.)

Before You Begin Lead your horse to the work area.


The better you can get your horse to back up, the more respectful and responsive he’ll be in everything else that you ask him to do—including backing out of the trailer. Remove the string from the Handy Stick, and tie it around the base of his neck. Then place a piece of duct tape on the lead rope the length of a Handy Stick from the snap. The duct tape on the lead rope will be a reference point; it’ll remind you where to keep your hand on the lead rope during this exercise. The distance from the snap to

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


the duct tape is exactly four feet. This is a good safe distance to start with when you’re first teaching your horse to back up.

Step-by-Step Technique Step 1. Get your horse’s focus. Hold one hand on the duct tape. With your other hand, hold the Handy Stick as though you’re shaking someone’s hand. Stand directly >> Winter 2019

in front of your horse, and make sure he has two eyes on you. A horse can’t give you his attention or respect if he isn’t looking at you with two eyes. If your horse takes his attention away from you, bump the halter and lead rope until he puts two eyes back on you. Remember, two eyes are always better than two heels.

Step 2. Tap the air. Tap the air in front of your horse’s nose gently with rhythm. Count out loud, “One, two, three, four.” If your horse doesn’t respond, tap the rope lightly: one, two, three, four. If he doesn’t move back from that pressure, whack the rope a lot more firmly: One, Two, Three, Four. If your horse still ignores you, hold the Handy Stick horizontally, and whack the clip: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR. If he still doesn’t respond, whack his nose: ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! Your horse’s sensitivity level and how respectful he is will greatly affect how much pressure you’ll have to apply. Go through the stages of pressure until you get the desired response. Do it as easy as possible, but as firmly as necessary.

Step 3. Retreat. As soon as your horse takes two steps back, retreat and rub his face with the stick between his eyes. At first, your horse will likely drag his feet backwards. You’re just looking for a starting point to teach him that when you apply pressure in front of his nose, he needs to back away from it. Then rub your horse between the eyes with the Handy Stick, so he doesn’t get worried about your tools; the goal is to have respect without fear. Be careful not to ask


After you get your horse’s focus, tap the air in front of his nose gently, with rhythm.

for too many steps in the beginning. Two steps, reward; two steps, reward.

Step 4. Ask for consistency. When your horse can take two steps back consistently, ask for four consistent steps. In the beginning, your horse might throw his head up in the air. When a horse has sticky feet, his head goes up. When a horse’s feet have energy, his head comes down. Don’t worry about his head; worry about making his feet move. When your horse’s feet move, his head will come down by itself.

Step 5. Ask for energy. When your horse understands the concept, continue increasing the pressure until he backs up with more energy. Only release the pressure when his feet are light, and there’s energy in them. Horses don’t learn from pressure; they learn from the release of pressure. Whatever your horse

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


is doing the second you release the pressure is what you’re rewarding. So, release the pressure when your horse’s feet have energy and hustle to them. By the end of one week of consistent practice, your horse may be backing 15 to 20 steps. Every day, look for a little more energy in his feet and a few more steps backward. USR Clinton Anderson grew up in Queensland, Australia, learning to ride as a teenager and training with many of his country’s top horsemen. In 1997, he relocated to the United States to perfect his Downunder Horsemanship program. Under Anderson’s guidance, horses learn to respect and respond to their handlers, developing willing partnerships. To learn more about Downunder Horsemanship, Clinton Anderson Walkabout Tours, and more, visit

Winter 2019

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

Shasta Lake ‘Adventure’

‘Rescued and safe’ is how this father felt when his truck broke down while picking up his daughter’s new horse. By Steve Zener


When Member Steve Zener’s truck broke down in Northern California while hauling his daughter’s new horse home, his first call was to USRider Equestrian Motor Plan.

My daughter and I had driven the 510 miles from Fresno, California, to Oregon to look at a new horse for her. She was on Cloud 9—this horse turned out to be “the one.” As the tearful previous owners bid us goodbye, we loaded Spanky in our trailer. We promised that we’d give him a smooth ride to a fabulous new home. We got on the road around 9:30 a.m., expecting to arrive in Fresno around 6 p.m. Spanky seemed quiet as we headed south. We were making decent time and enjoying Oregon’s smooth highways. We knew we’d leave those smooth highways behind us in central California. As the day aged, the temperature rose. We were just a few miles from Shasta Lake and looking forward to a stop in Redding, California, about 45 minutes ahead, where we’d get fuel, water Spanky, and grab lunch to go. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


No Power That’s when it happened. With a distinct ‘clunk,’ the truck lost all power. It fooled me for a moment because we were on a slight downgrade, but it was running rough. Missing a cylinder, I thought. Quickly trying to analyze the possibilities, I wondered if we could drive another 350-plus miles. So there we were, just the three of us, sitting on an exit ramp in the middle of the mountains high above the freeway. The temperature that day was projected to be in low 100s. It was surely in the mid-90s already. The truck would still idle, so I was able to keep the air conditioning running, but there was no cool air in the horse trailer for Spanky. We checked on him first—he was warm, visibly sweaty, and growing impatient. Winter 2019


First Call Knowing we were now in for an “adventure,” I got out my membership card and made my first call ever to USRider Equestrian Motor Plan. The person who answered was so kind, so helpful, and, most important, so reassuring. She took all our information, including our rig size, how many horses, how many people, and the nature of our problem. I told her what I thought was the problem and asked to be towed to a larger town where my diesel truck could be worked on by a shop specializing in diesel repairs. She took my number and said she would make some contacts and call me back. Meanwhile, she suggested that I call the California Highway Patrol, which would be able to pinpoint our location. I learned that when you’re broken down on the freeway with a horse, the CHP considers that an emergency and is happy to assist in any way.

Help Arrives The next thing I knew, a CHP officer pulled up to offer assistance. He wanted to make sure we had water and that we’d contacted a towing company to get us moving again. The woman at the USRider call center got back to us in five minutes. She’d made contact with a towing company that would be able to provide us service into Red Bluff, which was about 60 miles south (our direction of travel). She asked again if we were okay and if we needed anything. Her concerns for our welfare were a great comfort. Within minutes, I got a call from Steve Hill of Hill Enterprises

Towing in Red Bluff. This man turned out to be such a standup individual that I wanted to mention his name specifically. Steve said that they’d be en route shortly with two trucks: one to tow my broken truck and his own Ford F450 to haul the trailer to Red Bluff. They arrived about 90 minutes later and had us moving within 10 minutes. Rescued and safe—that’s how we felt as we headed to the next chapter of our little “adventure.”

Pleasant Wait Steve hauled my truck to a diesel-repair shop in Red Bluff. Meanwhile, our driver drove us with the horse and trailer to Steve’s home, where he had several empty stalls with small turnouts. We parked our living-quarters trailer out front and hooked up the extension cord. We now had power, air conditioning, and water. Forty feet away, we could see Spanky adjusting to his new surroundings. By that time, it was 4:30 p.m. We were just starting to enjoy the cool of the air conditioner when Steve arrived in the tow truck. He told me my truck would be repaired the next day and gave me the shop’s location and business card. Then Steve generously handed me his truck keys so my daughter and I could go into town. With Spanky all taken care of, we had a great dinner and saw a movie. Finally—something was going our way on this little “adventure”! The truck was fixed at about 4:00 p.m. the next day. It was the wiring harness. We said our goodbyes to Steve with heartfelt thankyous and rolled in at home about 11:30 p.m. What an “adventure”!

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



“On behalf of my daughter and myself—and if Spanky could talk, I know he’d say the same thing—we felt so lucky to have the special services of USRider Equestrian Motor Plan that day,” reports Member Steve Zener.

‘We Felt Lucky’ On behalf of my daughter and myself—and if Spanky could talk, I know he’d say the same thing—we felt so lucky to have the special services of USRider Equestrian Motor Plan that day. I can’t even imagine what I would’ve done, or what the three of us would have endured, if I hadn’t had a USRider membership. The network of resources is so great, this service can literally help anyone with anything. I hope that anyone whoever pulls a horse down the road far from home has a USRider membership. USR Winter 2019


Trailering Essentials Top products for the equestrian traveler. Trailer Monitoring System Journey, a portable monitoring system by Hyndsight Vision Systems Inc., is designed for use on any vehicle and trailer system. The system links up to four cameras with one monitor for a 360-degree view. Charged batteries get four to eight hours of wireless battery life, with an optional hard-wiring kit available. The system includes one sunlight-readable monitor, a camera, two flush mounts, one antenna set, two USB chargers, and a cleaning cloth. All items fit neatly in a rugged carrying case. Optional hard-wiring kit sold separately.

Window Deflectors

Low-Dust Bedding

Enjoy reduced wind noise while driving with the windows cracked or rolled down—even on rainy or snowy days—with WeatherTech’s Wind and Rain Deflectors. These custom-fit, impact-resistant acrylic deflectors are more than twice as thick as most brands, but the micro-thin mounting flange fits inside your tow vehicle’s window frame. The deflectors mount inside the window channel for a secure fit and are easy to install without tools or exterior tape. They’re scratch-resistant and ultraviolet-ray treated to help prevent fading. Available for most vehicles.

Airlite bedding is a cleaner, economical alternative to traditional bedding. Using it in your trailer can eliminate about half of the breathable dust, according to the manufacturer. Airlite uses 100 percent new cardboard, which is four to five times more absorbent than shavings and pulls ammonia out of the atmosphere. Because it’s so absorbent, there’s less waste. The bedding doesn’t break down when trampled and doesn’t aerosolize as shavings, pellets, and straw do. Airlite composts to pH-neutral mulch in four to six weeks.

Emergency Clip This USRider I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) Clip-on will give you peace of mind on the road. Your chances of being reunited are greatly improved if you and your horse become separated while on a ride, at a campground, or anywhere you travel with him. The waterproof label keeps dry your emergency contact information, including your USRider Member number. The scissor snap makes it portable. Attach it to your belt loop in case you and your horse become separated. Available in red or blue. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019

Because she is Everything.

your trusted roadside assistance company.

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

Make sure you’re covered. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019

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

USRider Member-Benefit Spotlight As a USRider Member, you can enjoy money-saving discounts through Winner’s Circle Advantage tailored to the active horse owner. You may access these benefits directly through the Members Area of the USRider website; plus, a brochure you’ll find enclosed in membership kits and renewal mailings provides codes to

give you quick access to all 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 Trailer Accessories. For more information on each of these companies, and for more Member discounts, click here.

DuraSafe DuraSafe’s innovative Coupler Connect plus Protect eliminates the problems associated with hitching up your trailer. The product aligns the coupler directly over the tow ball providing an easy hookup every time. The Coupler Connect also comes with a guard to keep your trailer connected and protected. The product installs in minutes and can be used as a wheel chock. USRider Members receive a 10% discount on all DuraSafe products.

HayRak™ The HayRak, from Spirit Industries Inc., allows you to easily transport everything you need for your equestrian travels. This all-aluminum, modular, top-mounting system features an adjustable design that fits virtually every make of horse trailer. Transport hay, generators, water tanks, or whatever you need for your trip. The system is designed to transfer the weight-bearing load to your trailer’s side walls instead of the trailer roof. Every HayRak comes standard with a tilt-out ladder. USRider Members receive a 5% discount on the HayRak, as well as on the company’s newest product option, the HayRak HayPod™, designed to cover your load.

The Organized Barn & Trailer® Stop stumbling over the tack and buckets on your trailer’s dressing-room floor. The Trailer Dressing Room Kit, created by The Organized Barn & Trailer, helps you get everything off your trailer floor and into a wall-mounted storage system. Hang several panels on the dressing-room walls or door with the wall supports’ mounting brackets, then add baskets, shelves, hooks, and hangers as needed. The large wire bin is excellent for storing bulky items, such as lawn chairs, blankets, table canopies, and tire jacks. A Tack Stall Kit is also available. USRider Members receive a 5% discount.

Swift Hitch Swift Hitch is the original wireless portable back-up camera system designed to assist with hitching up your horse trailer. It can also be used to watch your horse in the trailer. Since 2006, the Swift Hitch’s portability, reverse-imaging, and night-vision capabilities have made this innovative product a valued tool. Swift Hitch’s SH02 wireless system was the 2012 North America Trailer Dealer Association New Product of the Year; the product has now been upgraded to non-interference digital version SH02D. USRider Members receive $20 off all Swift Hitch products, plus free shipping, with a purchase of $50 or more. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019

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

Meet Cactus...

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

Horses in transition, like Cactus, deserve a second chance. FIND OUT HOW TO


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

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

Rustic Luxury

Camp with your horse at Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, and enjoy deluxe amenities at a discount. Story and Photos by Kent & Charlene Krone


Lodging at Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa is designed to look like an Old West town. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2019

This winter, hitch up your trailer, and head to the remote town of Lajitas, Texas, for unlimited trail riding in temperate climate, luxury amenities, and peaceful surroundings. Here’s an overview. Destination: Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa in Lajitas, Texas. Location: The resort is located on FM 170 between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. It’s situated along the Rio Grande River, close to the mountains of the Chihuahua Desert. Overview: At Lajitas, you’ll ride into wild, desolate country. You’ll explore old mining ruins and examine ancient Indian pictographs, then return to deluxe resort amenities, including a premier 18-hole golf course, a spa, ice-cold refreshments, and a gourmet dinner. Surrounding the resort are 1.1 million acres available for year-round riding. Here, you can explore the Comanches’ homeland, ride where PanchoVilla led his raids, and check out rusting remains of old mining camps. Accommodations: Lajitas Resort is a world-class resort that offers excellent dining, a saloon, spa facilities, and a manicured golf course. You can stay at the resort, or you can save money and camp at the resort’s Maverick Ranch RV Park, which offers laundry facilities, a spacious bathhouse, and a swimming pool. Stabling: Your horse can stay at the Lajitas Equestrian Center, which features upscale 12-by-12-foot stalls, an automatic fly spray system, a water-misting system, and ceiling fans. Additional amenities include a 32,000-square-foot covered riding arena, a 60-foot covered round pen, a large hay/equipment barn, irrigated pastures, and turnouts with loafing shades. Top trail: The 25-mile Contrabando Multi-Use Trail System is composed of wagon paths and single-track trails that were created in the late 1800s. The East Main Trail was part of the supply and stage route that connected Lajitas and the Terlingua Mining District. For this ride, you’ll need a permit from the Barton Warnock Visitor Center, located about a mile east of the equestrian center. While you’re there, get a trail map. Begin this ride by heading across the road from the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and getting onto the Dog Cholla Trail. This is a great gaiting trail! You’ll ride on smooth, sandy, rolling hills surrounded by a wide variety of desert vegetation. You’ll then get on the East Main Trail, a rocky wagon trail on which motorized vehicles aren’t allowed. Look for the Crystal Trail sign. Down this trail, you’ll be treated to light exploding across thousands of quartz crystals. Trail tips: Because of the remoteness and harshness of this gorgeous but desolate region, exercise caution and common sense. On trail rides, be self-sufficient. Take plenty of food and water. Take a jacket, even if it’s hot—you might be delayed getting back. You might even have to spend the night in the desert. Sudden storms may arise, your horse may throw a shoe and go lame, or you may get lost. Check weather reports for thunderstorms and flash floods. Watch out for cacti. Before you go: Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a Coggins test (to test for equine infectious anemia), and stock up on certified weed-free hay. Your horse will need shoes or hoof boots to protect his hooves from the sharp volcanic rock. USR USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


From top to bottom: Kent and Charlene Krone en route to Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa in Lajitas, Texas. The Krones’ rig with the Rio Grande River in the background. Your horse can stay at the Lajitas Equestrian Center, which features upscale 12-by-12-foot stalls and spacious turnout areas.

Winter 2019

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

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