USRider® Equestrian Traveler's Companion-Winter 2024

Page 1

Your Essential Horse-Trailering Resource Winter 2024

Back Your Trailer Like a Pro

Spruce-Up Your Barn for Winter Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows

Spooky Traveler? How to Keep Your Seat An Equine Network, LLC, Publication

Equestrian Traveler’s COMPANION FEATURES 10 Trailering Clinic

Your Essential HorseTrailering Resource

Winter 2024

Back Your Trailer

12 Safety Savvy

Sit a Spook

16 Your Healthy Horse

Complementary Care

20 Getaways

Crown of the Sierras

24 USRider Member Story

Lake Shasta ‘Adventure’


Expert Advice for Equestrian Travelers

6 Skill Set

Towing-Vehicle Readiness

26 Equine Essentials

Last-Minute Gifts

28 USRider Member Benefits

Equestrian-Travel Ease

30 Handy Checklist


USRider General Manager: Bill Riss Editor: René E. Riley Art Director: Abby McDougall Contact USRider: (800) 844-1409 1079 S Hover St Ste 200, Longmont, CO 80501 • 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.


Winter 2024

What Members Are Saying About Recent Services “This is the second time I have utilized my USRider membership and I will always have this membership as long as I am showing horses and pulling trailers. This service is PRICELESS to the horse community! Thank you!” — Melody C. MN (Sep ’23) “We were stuck on the side of the interstate with a broken truck and two horses in the hot trailer. I’ll admit, I was rattled. The customer service representative was incredibly patient with me, reassuring and fulfilled all promises even checking back to be sure we were ok. The tow truck was there sooner than expected and we were quickly back on the road, under tow to our safe destination. I can’t say enough positive things about the experience. Thank you!” — Andrea M. FL (Sep ’23) “The man I spoke with was both professional and friendly and seemed genuinely concerned for me and my horses’ well being. He let me know the estimated time before help arrived and then again to make sure that the road service was there and had taken care of my problem. I was very satisfied with the way the situation was handled.” — Beth R. MI (Oct ’23) “As always you guys come through when I need you most! Could not be happier with USRider! Thank you for going above and beyond on this call! Not having my truck functioning is extremely stressful, it is my most vital piece of farm equipment! Thank you so much for being there when I needed you!” — Jennifer C. NC (Oct ’23) “I was a member of AAA for decades and the service provided in Texas was non-existent. I’m so happy to have USRider. Their service is second to none.” — Lisa A. TX (Oct ’23) “God Bless Rick, he was wonderful! My alternator went on my truck and I was dead on the side of I 95 and terrified. I called US Rider and he answered immediately, understood my problem, asked all the questions and then got to work. The local Chevrolet dealer said they could take my truck but could not look at it till Monday. This was Friday afternoon, so Monday would not be good. Rick called other local mechanics and found one to rescue me. They came quickly and got me to their shop.” — Victoria P. SC (Nov ’23)

Travel with confidence knowing USRider will get you back on the road safely and efficiently, should unexpected vehicle or trailer problems occur. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024


Prevent Carbon-Monoxide Poisoning Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel (such as gasoline, propane, charcoal, or oil) burns. Sources include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space heaters. Carbon monoxide is undetectable — it has no color, no odor, no taste; it causes no respiratory irritation; and it mixes evenly with the air. Victims of CO poisoning usually aren’t aware they’re being exposed to the deadly gas and become impaired in ways that can lead to death. Symptoms include light-headedness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, confusion, and vomiting. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or very short exposure to high concentrations can lead to death. Take precautions to avoid CO poisoning. “We do not recommend any type of heating system to be used in horse trailers, unless the heater was installed by the manufacturer,” says Bill Riss, USRider. “Factory-installed heating systems should be serviced annually by a professional and operPHOTO BY CLIXPHOTO.COM As we head into cooler months, avoid ated strictly under recommendations of the manufacturer.” using a stove to heat your trailer while Avoid using a stove for heat under any circumstances. Install a CO deon the road. Use only factory-installed, tector in any trailer that has gas appliances. Be aware of the risks, ensure well-maintained heating units. sufficient ventilation, and properly install and maintain equipment.


8 Winter-Turnout Tips Considering turning your horse out on pasture for the winter? Here are eight tips to keep in mind. 1. Check your horse’s weight. If your horse is in good flesh, he’ll be more likely to do well foraging for food than if he’s underweight or has been ill. If he’s underweight, follow your veterinarian’s guidelines for upping your horse’s weight now. Consider turning out your horse with a little extra fat to help keep him warm. 2. Supplement his forage. If your horse is underweight, or prone to joint and arthritis problems that may limit his grazing range, supplement his forage with high-quality hay. 3. Check his skin and haircoat. Healthy skin and a good haircoat will help your horse conserve

heat. Ask your veterinarian to check for any problems. 4. Assess the pasture’s physical shape. Walk through the pasture and assess the pasture’s fencing and terrain, checking for any potential hazards. If you see anything amiss, choose another pasture. 5. Give him shelter. Most healthy horses have no problem wintering without a formal shelter if they have access to natural shelter. If blizzard conditions will be a problem, invest in a sturdy run-in shed with at least two walls and a roof. 6. Assess pecking order. Assess the personality of the other horses in the pasture for “pecking order”; timid horses have more trouble doing well than aggressive ones, and need close watching and extra feeding.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



If your horse is underweight, or prone to joint and arthritis problems that may limit his grazing range, supplement his forage with high-quality hay.

7. Orient your horse. When you introduce your horse to his new pasture, lead him around. Show him the fence boundaries and any terrain variables. 8. Check him daily. Don’t ignore your horse. Visit him every day. Halter him, groom him, clean his hooves, and check for weight loss and injuries. Keep up regular farrier and veterinary appointments. — Barney Fleming, DVM Winter 2024


Quench Winter Thirst It’s essential to keep your horse well-hydrated during winter, both at home and on the road. 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. 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-60degree 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. • Provide heated water. At home, heated automatic waterers or stock tanks with heating units 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. • Check tank heaters daily. 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 warning sign that something is amiss. Remove and/or replace the unit before resetting the circuit to avoid a shock. • Drain the hoses. If you’re running hoses from hydrants to stalls, paddocks, or runs, disconnect and drain them after each use so they’ll be ready to go the next time tanks and buckets need refilling and to help prevent plumbing damage during a deep freeze. • Invest in electric buckets. At home and on the road, buckets with built-in electric heaters provide an economical way to raise the water temperature. Be prepared to refill those buckets twice daily or more, since an average horse will drink approximately six to eight gallons each day. — Betsy Lynch


An automatic waterer with a builtin heater is a good way to provide a constant supply of tepid water to pastured horses.


Access Valuable Information Online

Designed for the traveling equestrian, the USRider website is invaluable, unique, and available free of charge to USRider Members and nonmembers alike. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion

If you travel with your horse, visit USRider for safety information. Our website is invaluable, unique, and available free of charge to USRider Members and nonmembers alike. Information includes safety bulletins and news releases, expert trailer-safety tips, recommended contents for an equine trailer first-aid kit, a pre-trip trailer checklist, and more. The website also provides nonmembers with a convenient source of information about USRider and its Equestrian Motor Plan, as well as an easy way to join online. USRider Members may renew their memberships, update their contact information, add associates, view valuable money-saving offers, and much more, 24-7. Plus, our website uses the latest state-of-the-art security measures to ensure that private information is protected.


Winter 2024

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

Towing-Vehicle Readiness

Use these expert guidelines to make sure your towing vehicle is ready to safely haul your horse.

Use these expert guidelines to make sure your towing vehicle is right for your hauling needs.


s your towing vehicle right for your hauling needs? Here, we’ll tell you how to ensure your vehicle has the capacity to tow your fully loaded trailer and give you hitch-safety guidelines.

Towing Capacity Your towing vehicle must have the right pulling power, curb weight, and wheelbase (the distance from the front axle to the rear axle) to haul your trailer safely.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


To determine whether you have enough towing capacity to pull your trailer, match your tow vehicle to your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The GVWR isn’t the actual curb weight; it’s the limit as to what your trailer can weigh and still be safe as stated by the manufacturer. You’ll find this information on the Certificate of Origin, the title, or on an informational sticker on your trailer. >> Winter 2024


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

A typical two-horse tag-along trailer, with or without a dressing room, will have a GVWR of 7,000 pounds. This means it has two 3,500-pound axles. (The GVWR could be a little more if the manufacturer figured in tongue weight.) Most standard two-horse gooseneck trailers will have a GVWR of 7,000 or 10,400 pounds. The larger and heavier your trailer, the stronger the axle will be, increasing the GVWR. In most cases, the actual weight of a fully loaded trailer never exceeds the GVWR (if it does, it’s illegal and unsafe) and often will be quite a bit less. Have your fully loaded trailer weighed so you know the actual weight. Use the actual weight, plus 15 percent, as a guideline when choosing your tow vehicle, so you’ll have a safety margin. Some small SUVs and trucks have a rear axle/engine combination set to fully maximize pulling power. However, they don’t have the weight and wheelbase to handle those weights well.


Your tow vehicle has to have the right pulling power, curb weight, and wheelbase to haul your trailer safely

Horses are “live” weight and will shift around in your trailer. You don’t want the “tail wagging the dog.” Longer wheelbases make your tow vehicle more stable by preventing the front end from floating (the feeling of bouncing from front to back). A weight-distribution system will

Hitch-Safety Guidelines For a tag-along (bumper-pull) trailer, use a frame-mounted hitch, not a ball on the bumper. The frame-mounted hitch is rated for how much it can hold (tongue weight) and how much it can pull (carrying weight). This rating is separate from what the tow vehicle can haul. For example, your tow vehicle may be able to pull 16,000 pounds, but the frame-mounted hitch might only be rated to carry 4,000 pounds. Ratings are usually located on a sticker on the hitch itself. The sticker will list two sets of ratings: weight carrying and weight distribution. The weight-carrying rating is the one you’ll use for a slide-in ball mount. The weight-distribution rating is almost always higher than the weight-carrying rating. You’ll use this set of ratings when you use a large, slide-in weight-distribution ball mount that allows two 30-inch steel bars (often mistakenly called sway bars) to attach from the ball mount to the trailer frame. >>

“Have your fully loaded trailer weighed so you know the actual weight. Use the actual weight, plus 15 percent ... so you’ll have a safety margin.” help stabilize a tow vehicle with a shorter wheelbase. The heavier the vehicle, the better it can handle the weight behind it. But be careful—you can overdo your tow vehicle, causing a severely mismatched rig, such as using a heavy, spring-loaded one-ton dually to pull a light two-horse trailer with one or two small horses. This rig assembly would provide a rough ride.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024


After hooking up with a gooseneck hitch, make sure the coupler is locked or latched. You can check this by raising the gooseneck while your trailer is hitched to make sure it doesn’t come up off the ball.

These bars latch into a snap-up bracket on the trailer frame. The ball and the slide-in mount are also rated and should be equal to or greater than the hitch rating. Now that you’re familiar with the ratings, check the nut that secures the ball onto the ball mount to make sure it’s tight, and check the pin that secures the slide-in ball mount to the frame-mounted hitch. Also, make sure the ball size matches the coupler size on your trailer. A 2 5/16-inch coupler put onto a 2-inch ball will pop off at the first good pothole. Cross your trailer’s two safety chains, and attach them to slots on the frame-mounted hitch on the sides of the tube receiver for the ball mount. After you attach the chains, connect the electrical plug. There are various types of gooseneck hitches from which to choose.

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

BARREL RACING Magazine is the ultimate source for: • Barrel racing tips & training • Industry news • Insightful stories on leading horses & riders From futurities to divisional competition and top professional rodeo action, Barrel Racing Magazine has you covered. From basic barrel racing fundamentals to advanced training concepts, we work hard to bring the best from proven horsemen and horsewomen across the country straight to you. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

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.


Back Your Trailer

Learn how to back your trailer like a pro with these experts. Article and Photos by Tom Scheve & Neva Kittrell Scheve

Position your helper to the side near 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 their signals in your rearview mirror (inset).


he 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 each 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

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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) >> Winter 2024

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 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 directly 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

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.

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. 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

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


your left. This orientation allows you to check your trailer’s location 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. USR Tom Scheve and Neva Kittrell Scheve are the authors of the nationally recognized textbook, The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer. Neva has also written two other horse-trailer books, including Equine Emergencies On The Road with Jim Hamilton, DVM. The Scheves present clinics at equine expos and promote trailer safety through articles in national magazines. They’ve designed and developed the EquiSpirit, EquiBreeze, and ThoroSport lines of trailers. Winter 2024

------------ SAFETYSAVVY------------

Sit the Spook

Learn how to sit the spook for safety and control when traveling with your horse and at home. By Heidi Melocco with Julie Goodnight ~ Photos by Heidi Melocco

If you ride a horse that might spook, be proactive. Ask your horse to move in circles and to go in the direction you choose.


ll horses are capable of spooking. Horses are hardwired to flee in response to fear. They’re naturally programmed to watch for danger and for the herd leader’s cue for when to bolt. This can be especially true when your horse is in an unfamiliar place, whether on the trail or at a show. While you can desensitize your horse to most any stimulus you may encounter (and USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


you should), there’s always a chance he’ll see something new, scary, and spook-inducing. Of course, horses are individuals; some may spook more often than others. Put the word “never” in there, and horses will prove you wrong. You can’t totally remove the spook from the horse (though you should desensitize him as much as you can), but you can program your brain to know what to do in the moment when your horse spooks. >> Winter 2024

Here, top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight will give you her six-step method on how to sit the spook: (1) Envision perfection; (2) relax; (3) sit well; (4) be the herd leader; (5) react quickly; (6) convert his behavior.

Step 1. Envision Perfection Is your horse tense when he’s away from home? Envision him as well-behaved and calm, and ride him in a way that lets him know you’re in charge. Don’t allow your horse to look around and find something to spook at. His job is to look at what’s in front of him and attend to your cues. You’re in charge of where your horse looks. His nose shouldn’t move beyond the width of his shoulders. Ride with two hands. If he turns his head, bump his nose back to center with light rein pressure. Keep the reins loose, so he doesn’t feel your anxiety and think he should be worried. But don’t allow too much rein slack. You’ll need to have enough contact available to turn your horse if he reacts to something scary. (More on that in a minute.) If your horse is tense, calm him by showing him you’re a worthy leader. Get him moving, and give him something to do. Turning in different directions will get him thinking and give you control. Control his space, and remind him that you’re in charge of where you both go.

Step 2. Relax Relaxing can be a tall order—especially if you think your horse might spook. To relax, close your eyes momentarily, and picture a balanced rider. Assume a centered, balanced position, with your ear, shoulder, hip, and heel in alignment. Then systematically relax every joint in your body. Imagine relaxed

toes. Unlock your knees. Relax your hips, and move with your horse’s back. Drop your shoulders. Unclench your fingers, wrists, hands, and shoulders. Responding to a spook by tensing up and locking your joints is like hitting an ejection button. When you stiffen your back, shoulders, and legs, your body becomes one tense, locked object that can’t move with your horse. Instead, you’ll likely to bounce right off.

Step 3. Sit Well On the other hand, you can be too relaxed, riding with your feet out in front of you, as though you’re sitting in a recliner. Even at a show, you might be tempted to overrelax between classes. This isn’t a balanced position. If your horse spooks, you won’t have time to regain your balance to correct him, and you’ll likely be left behind. Maintain an active, athletic stance. Suck in your bellybutton, rock back on your pockets, and sink your heels deep into the stirrups. For a balanced, anchored position, ride with your toes up and heels down. Roll your ankles so that the bottoms of your feet are angled away from your horse. There’s a yoga term that will help you imagine sitting up, back, and in balance: back body. Ride with your back body extended. That is, lengthen all your back’s bones, ligaments, and “energy.” Almost everything in life causes you to cock your chest and abdomen forward and lock your hips, that is, living in the front body. Think hunching over the computer or slouching on the couch. In riding, you want to elongate your back body and be conscious of your back. Relax and round your low->>

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Early one morning, Julie Goodnight rides an Arabian Horse mare, Tika, on the trail adjacent to her ranch in Salida, Colorado. Tika is doing well with her training, but is still known to spook now and then.


A split-second later, Tika hears a noise in the woods to her right and bolts to her left. Goodnight reacts quickly to stop the bolt by pulling on the reins, first with one hand, then the other.

Goodnight begins to turn Tika back toward the scary sound as soon as possible—a horse won’t bolt toward what they fear. She shortens one rein to make a sharp turn to the right. Winter 2024

er back, and extend your torso up; shorten your front-side and lengthen your back-side. Stay in your back body, and don’t allow your energy to move forward. Use this visualization to prepare for riding—and prepare for a spook. Goodnight continues to turn Tika, then asks her to stop and look at what she feared. Tika is looking for any open door—to turn right or left, or to back up to get away from her fear.

Finally, Tika begins to settle, and Goodnight encourages her to move toward what she’s afraid of. Note Goodnight’s giving hands—she’s reaching far forward so that she doesn’t cue Tika to back away.

When Tika settles, Goodnight praises her for being brave and literally facing her fear.

Step 4. Be the Herd Leader Your horse is a herd animal, wired to notice the reactions and tension of the herd members. When you ride your horse, you’re in his herd, so he looks to you to make sure everything is okay. Imagine yourself as a strong, calm leader. If you even think your horse might spook, start deep, abdominal breathing. He’ll detect if you’re holding your breath, which signals to him that he should be afraid. Breathing with purpose will extend your spine and help you think about riding in your back body. Moving your eyes will help keep your whole body relaxed. Your horse will notice your tension if you lock your gaze on something you think may spook him. Focus where you want your horse to go—not at something that’s potentially scary. When you focus on where you are now or where your horse is going, your eyes lend weight and point your body to that point. Your horse usually goes where you look or follows your focus.

When your horse spooks, you won’t have time to stop and think. Spooks happen fast. You’ll only have an instant to stop your horse’s desire to bolt and focus him on the path you want. This is the time that your mental practice comes into play. Here’s a breakdown of what happens during a spook and how you’ll need to respond to keep your horse from bolting—all while keeping yourself relaxed, in your back body, breathing, and looking where you want to go. In a spook, your horse first turns in the opposite direction of the scary object and tries to get away from it. He’s acting on his deep-seated flight instinct to survive. Get in your mind that you’ll always turn your horse back toward the spooky stimulus any time he spooks. Lock in that image. Practice the motions and scenario over and over. Facing fear countermands flight. Your horse will never run toward the spook-inducing stimulus, so a turn is required. Be prepared to turn with one rein. This flexes his neck and encourages the turn. Then ask for the stop. If you pull on both reins at once, your horse will run right through the reins, and you’ll be in a pound-for-pound battle you can’t win. If you shut off your horse’s escape path, he’ll try to turn another way. Be prepared to turn to the right

“When your horse spooks, you won’t have time to stop and think ... You’ll only have an instant to stop your horse’s desire to bolt and focus him on the path you want. “

Step 5. React Quickly

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

then to the left with one rein while avoiding putting any pressure on the opposite rein. Block each escape path, and point him back at the scary stimulus. He won’t bolt toward what he’s afraid of. The further your horse gets into the flight response before you intervene, the harder it is to get him out of the bolting run. Your reaction has to be quick. You might have to take a sudden, hard hold of your horse so that you can stop him before he bolts too far. If he gets four or five strides into the bolt, you may not be able to stop him. As soon as you turn and stop your horse from bolting, he should stop and look at what scared him. Program in this response by approaching scary objects at home. Praise your horse each time he stops and looks at the scary object.

Encourage him to take a breath by taking a deep breath yourself. When you eliminate his flight option, he’ll calm down and listen to your cues. Soften your body, and sigh out the air. Pet him on the neck. Let him know you’re the leader in your herd of two and that all is okay.

Step 6. Convert His Behavior When your horse determines that the scary monster isn’t going to kill and eat him, he’ll “convert” to investigative behavior. Investigative behavior is simply curiosity and will cancel out his flight behavior. If your horse moves forward toward the scary thing, allow him to check it out, and praise him. This will convert him—replace one natural behavior with another without getting into a fight. When your horse is curious about

what spooked him, he’ll suddenly become brave. He’ll want to go closer. Praise him for his courageous actions, and look for a new location to ride toward. USR Julie Goodnight trains horses and coaches horse owners to be ready for any event, on the trail or in the performance arena. After producing the popular RFD-TV series, Horse Master with Julie Goodnight, for 11 years, Goodnight now shares the world of horses through 2Horse Productions, and through appearances at clinics and horse expos throughout the United States. She also hosts her monthly horse training podcast, Ride On with Julie Goodnight. Heidi Melocco is a riding instructor, photographer, and writer based in Mead, Colorado.

Perfect THE



GUARANTEED SATISFACTION “Great site. Very user friendly, very honest about the AQHA verification. I will always use this site. Thank you for having such a great Web page.” Zahl, North Dakota is the fast and secure way to buy and sell horses, trailers and more. As one 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 from the same ad as the testimonial. FOLLOW US: @equine_com

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024


Complementary Care Consider complementary care for your traveling horse to enhance his comfort and well-being. By Jessica Jahiel, PhD


Adjunct therapies, such as equine chiropractic treatment (shown) aren’t meant to replace the work of your horse’s veteri>> narian, but complement them. Regular veterinary care is essential to your horse’s health and well-being. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024


hen you take your performance horse on the road, do you find that he’s not quite his best over jumps or in the cutting pen? Does your normally energetic trail horse drag his feed an hour or two into a ride? He doesn’t seem lame or ill, but he’s not quite at his best, either. Travel can be hard on your horse. He’s at risk for travel-related discomforts, such as muscle and tendon strains, low-level aches, fatigue, low energy, mental and physical trauma, and overall travel stress. Despite your best efforts, he may arrive at your destination tired, tense, stressed, and sore. If you’ve planned an activity for the next day, you might need to take steps to help compensate for these travel effects. Fortunately, there are therapeutic modalities that can help. Your horse may benefit from forms of hands-on care that fall under the general category of “physical medicine.” In the past, some popular and effective forms of “complementary care” were considered to be “alternative care.” Wrong! Complementary care is just that—care that complements (augments or enhances) regular veterinary care. These adjunct therapies aren’t meant to replace the work of your horse’s veterinarian—regular veterinary care is essential to your horse’s health and well-being. See your vet immediately if your horse shows any sign of illness, injury, or lameness.

But it might be worthwhile to ask your veterinarian about complementary care modalities he or she might recommend for your horse and for referrals to reputable providers in your area. Here, we’ll give you a rundown of four popular complementary care modalities: massage; chiropractic adjustments; acupuncture; and acupressure. We’ll also give you three steps to take yourself to help your traveling horse.

Equine Massage What it is: Equine massage involves the application of physical pressure to the horse’s body with hands (palms and fingers); experienced professionals may also use their elbows. There are many different styles of massage, from an extremely light touch to long slow strokes to tapping or vibrating the muscles. How it helps your traveling horse: Massage helps improve circulation, relax tight, sore muscles, and restore the normal function of leg joints and ligaments. When to schedule it: A young, sound, fit horse might need the help of a massage professional just after travel and intermittently during multiday competitions. An older horse could benefit from pre- and post-travel massage, plus regular, routine appointments to help maintain his soundness and enhance his comfort level. A senior horse with arthritis might need all of this plus your own gentle

“These adjunct therapies aren’t meant to replace the work of your horse’s veterinarian—regular veterinary care is essential to your horse’s health and well-being.”

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion



Equine massage involves the application of physical pressure to the horse’s body with hands (palms and fingers); experienced professionals may also use their elbows. Winter 2024



Equine chiropractic manipulations are gentle, controlled thrusts directed at the joints—not just the bones, but all related soft tissues, as well.

version of massage therapy before and after your daily rides. What you need to know: Your vet or a massage professional can teach you the basics of massage to help reduce your horse’s muscle stiffness when a pro isn’t available. Use your hands only; leave the elbows and tools to the pros so you don’t accidentally misapply pressure.

Equine Chiropractic What it is: Equine chiropractic manipulations are gentle, controlled thrusts directed at the joints—not just the bones, but all related soft tissues, as well. A well-trained professional can help correct small deviations from proper alignment, but chiropractic should always be used with care. Before making an appointment with an equine chiropractor, ask your vet to perform a complete evaluation of your horse and his condition. Then ask about chiropractic, and request a personal recommendation. Chiropractic manipulations done


Equine acupuncture is a process by which needles are applied in your horse’s skin in points associated with his nervous system.

inappropriately, especially with force or with force-multiplying instruments, are dangerous and can cause lasting damage. Your vet can recommend someone whose methods are slow and gentle. How it helps your traveling horse: The stresses of balancing in a trailer can cause your horse to use his muscles in unusual ways. Tight, tense, or injured muscles often pull bones slightly out of correct alignment. When to schedule it: Whenever you and your vet feel your horse needs it, and always in combination with massage. Massage before a chiropractic treatment can help relax, soften, and lengthen your horse’s muscles, making the treatment easier and more effective; massage after a chiropractic treatment can help ensure that the now correctly aligned parts retain their alignment. What you need to know: Always protect your horse. If someone attempts to perform manipulations that aren’t gentle and controlled, find another professional.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Equine Acupuncture What it is: Equine acupuncture is a process by which a licensed veterinary practitioner applies needles in your horse’s skin in acupuncture points (called acupoints) associated with your horse’s nervous system, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. This method of stimulating your horse’s blood flow, immune response, and energy meridians (channels) is used for both for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet will be an essential source of information and recommendations. How it helps your traveling horse: Acupuncture can provide pain relief and help counter the travel-induced reduction in your horse’s immune response. When to schedule it: If you’ve tried acupuncture for your horse and found it to be effective, your professional will be able to advise you on treatment timing and frequency. What you need to know: Only a licensed veterinarian can use acupuncture to treat your horse. To find >> Winter 2024

a certified veterinary acupuncturist near you, contact the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Note that a vet doesn’t have to be certified to perform acupuncture on your horse, but he or she does need to be qualified and experienced. Explore all your options.




Equine Acupressure What it is: Equine acupressure involves stimulating the acupoints on your horse’s skin, but it’s completely noninvasive—no needles are involved. Consider acupressure if you appreciate the effects of acupuncture but need to help your horse away from home. How it helps your traveling horse: A professional can help you learn how to apply acupressure to your horse at any time and for many purposes. The overall goal is to help your horse relax and become more comfortable. When to schedule it: You might choose to schedule professional treatments to help your horse to relax just before and just after a trip. While you’re away from home, you can use acupressure yourself after you’ve learned the basic principles and key acupoints. What you need to know: Although acupressure treatment is noninvasive, incorrectly applying pressure can still harm your horse. Learn the precise acupoints, as well as exactly how much pressure to use and how to apply it.

Stream videos on your device or cast to your TV. Download videos and create a personal playlist to watch offline in the app—anywhere.

What You Can Do Here are several steps you can take at your event or ride to enhance your horse’s comfort and well-being. Arrive early. Consider arriving early for your event or ride; your horse will appreciate the chance to relax and adjust to the new surroundings. If you’ll be traveling to a significantly different altitude, give your horse several days to a week to acclimatize. Hand-walk your horse. Hand-walk and hand-graze your horse to help promote relaxation and circulation. Massage your horse. If you’ve had solid instruction in massage techniques, use them gently to improve your horse’s circulation and relaxation. You may choose to use an equine massage oil or a liniment to allow your hands to slide more easily over your horse’s body. USR


Jessica Jahiel, PhD (, is an internationally recognized clinician and lecturer, and an award-winning author of books on horses, riding, and training. Her email newsletter ( is a popular worldwide resource. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

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

Crown of the Sierras

Start planning your adventure amid the lofty peaks of Yosemite National Park’s Tuolumne Meadows. Story and Photos by Kent & Charlene Krone

The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range offers miles of trails, serene meadows, mountains towering to 14,000 feet above sea level, deep canyons, and pristine rivers. The crown of the Sierras, a vast plain of meadows surrounded by lofty peaks, is Tuolumne Meadows.

T Yosemite is considered a horse-friendly park. Essentially, you can ride most of the 800 miles of trails in the park, unless they’re closed due to hazardous conditions.

he Sierra Nevada Mountain Range runs 400 miles along California’s eastern edge. These mountains offer equestrian adventurers miles of trails, serene meadows, peaks towering to 14,000 feet above sea level, deep canyons, and pristine rivers. All this beauty comes with remarkably good weather and plenty of sunshine. John Muir called these mountains “the range of light.” The crown of the Sierras, a vast plain of meadows surrounded by lofty peaks, is Tuolumne Meadows. Tuolumne Meadows, situated at 8,600 feet above sea level, is one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada. This region lies within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park, which is considered a horse-friendly park. >>

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

Essentially, you can ride most of the 800 miles of trails in the park, unless they’re closed due to hazardous conditions. Yosemite maintains four campgrounds for campers with private stock. This contrasts with other national parks, such as Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Canyon, where not a single horse camp is located within park boundaries. Note: The stock campground at Tuolumne Meadows is typically open from July to September (exact dates depend on the conditions), but note that the campground is currently closed for a major renovation; it’ll reopen in 2025. (See below for more details.)

Getting There We hitched up and headed to the region one July. We approached Tuolumne Meadows from its closest access point, Lee Vining, on the park’s eastern side. Just south of Lee Vining is the intersection with Highway 120. Turn right (west) to get into the park. At this intersection, there’s a gas station for last fill-ups and a recreational-vehicle dump. Just past the gas station on the left, keep an eye out for a water sign. The United States Forest Service has provided a drinking-water station with two faucets. It’s a great place to top off your unit. The water is delicious and right out of the Sierras. It’s roughly 17 miles from the intersection to Tuolumne Meadows. The first 10 or so miles climb steeply up to Tioga Pass and the park entrance. This is the highest highway pass in California. We were a day ahead of our reservations, so we decided to spend the night at the base of Tioga Pass. The Forest Service allows horse camping at Cattle Guard Campground.

Between this camp and Tioga Pass is a steady climb to an elevation of 9,943 feet at an 8 percent grade. We had no trouble going up, but coming down, our brakes began smoking! It’s about seven miles from the pass to Tuolumne. Check in at the campground ranger station for a map of horse trails that access the campground and how to get to the stock camp located at the back of the main camp. On the map, you’ll notice that you can ride from camp and travel to trails on all sides of the valley. Parking is scarce! If you drive in for a day ride, and don’t have camping reservations, try the parking lot next to the restroom at the stockcamp entrance. Just across the road is the stock trail, which accesses all trails. Another parking area is across the valley at the Yosemite Stables. Although you can ride there from the stock camp, this is a good spot to park to shorten the ride to Glen Aulin and Young Lake. We were told you can also park at the Dog Lake parking lot, which accesses trails to the Dana Fork, Lyell Fork, and Vogelsang.

There are no corrals at the Tuolumne Meadows stock camp, so plan on highlines or portable corrals. The Krones used electric corrals during the day and HiTies on the trailer at night.

Charlene Krone rides Scout across a bridge on the Tuolumne River Trail.

The Tuolumne River Trail After coffee around a toasty fire, we saddled our horses for our first ride. I had my 7-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter gelding, Buddy; Charlene had her 9-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter gelding, Scout. They’re both veterans of hundreds of wilderness miles. We rode from the stock camp onto the horse access trail, turning left (east) to go to the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River trail. The trail up the Lyell Fork is the John Muir Trail. This section coincides with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Scout takes a drink along Tuolumne River Trail. Winter 2024

Kent Krone’s horse, Buddy, is well-acclimated to river crossings and high altitudes. If your horse is new to these conditions, take time to acclimate him. This trail crosses the longest stretch of roadless wildlands left in the lower 48 states. It leaves the road at Tuolumne and doesn’t cross another road until more than 200 miles to the south, where it reaches the Sherman Pass Hwy. The trail up the Lyell Fork is an easy first ride. Starting at 8,600 feet elevation, it’s a pleasant trail with very little elevation gain for the first eight miles. If you access this trail from the Dog Lake parking lot, note that there are three bridges to cross in the first couple of miles. Your horse should be used to bridges over rushing rivers. After the third bridge crossing, don’t turn left and follow the river, as we did. This is a fisherman’s trail and soon dwindles out. Instead, go straight. After the bridges, the gentle, flat trail generally follows the course of the Lyell Fork as it passes through wide Lyell Canyon. This is marvelous scenery at its best. The river features pools, gravel bars, and cascades to explore and enjoy. As our horses alternated between walking and fox trotting up the valley, we happily gazed around, soaking up the surrounding beauty. Our lunch spot was in a sheltered meadow next to a small waterfall. In Lyell Canyon, you can see how

The wide, flat, Tuolumne River Trail generally follows the course of the Lyell Fork as it passes through wide Lyell Canyon. “This is marvelous scenery at its best,” note the Krones. “The river features pools, gravel bars, and cascades to explore.”

ancient glaciers changed and shaped the landscape. Glacial action eroded steep-walled canyons to create a U-shape. As glaciers receded, they left behind boulders (called erratics) throughout the area. There are still living glaciers in the Tuolumne Meadows region. They were probably formed within the last 2,500 years and are now receding fairly quickly.

‘Anywhere That’s Wild’ Back at camp, while we relaxed around the fire and reflected on the day’s ride, we thought of the John Muir Trail we’d ridden on and of the legendary John Muir. The trail, Yosemite, and the Sierra Club likely wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Muir. When John Muir arrived in San Francisco from Scotland in 1868, he asked for directions to “anywhere that’s wild.” He was pointed to the Sierras. He spent the next summer as a shepherd in the Tuolumne Meadows area. His experiences led him to push for the establishment of Yosemite National Park, a dream he realized in 1890. He also helped to develop—and was the first president of—the Sierra Club.

Upper Cathedral Lake

Our next ride would take us to John

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Muir’s favorite spot, Cathedral Lake and Cathedral Peak. It’s a 5.2-mile ride from the campground to Upper Cathedral Lake, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. We rode out of camp on the same trail as before, but this time turned west, riding about 1.5 miles on a fairly level trail above the campground until it intersected with the Cathedral Lake trail. Most of the 1,000-foot elevation gain occurs in the next couple of miles after this intersection. A fair amount of this portion of the trail has rock stairsteps. Buddy thought he was going upstairs in a building rather than up a mountain! We did this ride in July, and yet came to a point where the entire trail was blocked by a huge snow bank. Working around the snow, we came into an area where the trail leveled out, and we started to glimpse the surrounding mountains between the trees. Finally, we came to a point where we could see Cathedral Peak, 10,823 feet above sea level, on our left. From this angle, the peak appears to be a perfect point. At the lake, the same peak looks like an inverted horseshoe. John Muir used to climb this peak to “seek its good tidings,” as he would say. >> Winter 2024

Tuolumne Meadows Prep Tips Ready to ride and camp in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows? Here are some important preparation tips. Gather information. For general Yosemite National Park information, call (209) 372-0200, or visit To download a digital topographical map of Yosemite, visit www.nps. gov/yose/planyourvisit/maps.htmorder. Cathedral Peak rises 10,823 feet above sea level. John Muir used to climb this peak to “seek its On the ride to Upper Cathedral good tidings,” as he would say. Lake and Cathedral Peak, the Shown is Kent Krone aboard Krones encountered large snow- Buddy on the Cathedral Lake banks blocking the trail. trail. Shortly after the first good view of Cathedral Peak, we came to a point where the trail splits to Upper and Lower Cathedral Lakes. We selected the Upper Lake and arrived there a short time later. What a picturesque spot for a picnic! Nature went all out painting a calendar scene for us at Upper Cathedral Lake; it was a virtual fairyland. Scattered around the lake were peninsulas, small inlets, and tiny islands. Ride a short distance past the lake to Cathedral Pass, and look back for a classic view of Cathedral Lake and Cathedral Peak.

Last Thoughts As we drove out of the campground, we carried happy memories of our time at Tuolumne. Yosemite is more than just another pretty place; it’s a vital part of our heritage. It was one of our earliest national parks and provided the model upon which our park system is based. The environmental movement started here, with John Muir’s efforts to save this magnificent wilderness. While riding at Tuolumne, we realized the importance of John Muir’s words: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 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. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Make advance reservations. Note that Tuolumne’s campgrounds are closed until 2025; a major project to rehabilitate the campgrounds is underway. Reserve your spot at the newly rehabilitated campground as soon as reservations are available, as demand will be heavy. Stock sites are available through phone reservation only; call (877) 444-6777. Keep tabs on the Tuolumne Meadows reopening date and reservation information at Stay a while. Reserve enough days at the camp to acclimate your horse to the elevation, enjoy multiple rides, and enjoy the sights. Near the campground entrance is a small grocery for supplies. You can get fast food at Tuolumne Meadows Grill. For family-style breakfasts and dinners, head for the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, a rustic canopy tent located beside the Tuolumne River. Bring feed. Plan on bringing your own horse feed; grazing at the stock campground is prohibited. Weed-free hay is encouraged. For complete stock information, click here. Contain your horse. There are no corrals at the stock camp, so plan on containing your horse with highlines or portable corrals. We used electric corrals during the day and the HiTie Trailer Tie System at night. HiTies are handy, because a horse can eat from feed bags, have room to move around, and can even lie down. They’re available from EasyCare Inc. Acclimate your horse. Tuolumne Meadows is located at 8,600 feet above sea level; surrounding trails can easily reach the 10,000-foot mark. Acclimate your horse for a few days at this elevation before doing any tough riding. Winter 2024

------------ 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 PHOTO COURTESY OF 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.

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.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


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.

First Call Knowing we were now in for an “adventure,” I got out my membership Winter 2024


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 thank-yous 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

“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.”


Winter 2024

------------EQUESTRIAN ESSENTIALS------------

Last-Minute Gifts All-Weather Saddle Skirt Your horse friends will love this Saddle Skirt from Discovery Trekking. Made from a water- and wind- repellent breathable stretch material, this skirt attaches around your waist, and covers your saddle and legs to help keep you dry and warm when riding in inclement weather, whether you ride in an English, Western, or endurance saddle. The garment anchors to the legs of the rider with adjustable elastic and completely covers the pommel or horn. The soft fabric was chosen in part for to avoid crinkling and rattling. The skirt is available in small (up to 33 inches), medium (34 to 38 inches), large (39 to 43 inches), and extra-large (44 to 48) waist sizes. Available in regular and extended-length sizes. Skirts are black unless special ordered. A reflective strip may be added for an additional cost.

Peace of Mind

Horse Treats

You enjoy all the benefits that come from a USRider Equestrian Motor Plan membership, including emergency roadside assistance, travel benefits, and Winner’s Circle Advantage discounts. Share the gift of peace of mind with your favorite horseperson with a USRider Gift Membership. Just go to the USRider website, log in, and click on Give a Gift Membership. Bonus: Your own USRider membership will be extended by one month for each gift memberships you give.

Pamper your horse this holiday season with Omega Fields’ Nibblers Low Sugar & Starch treat supplement, a nutritious, Omega-3 treat supplement for horses in all life stages. The treats contain less sugar and starch than the original Omega Nibblers treats, and they are low in nonstructural carbohydrates. The heart-shaped treats are made from stabilized ground flaxseed and other natural, nutritious ingredients. Choose apple, peppermint, or now molasses flavoring. USRider Exclusive Discount Partner! As a USRider Member, you’ll enjoy a 15% discount on all Omega Fields products.

Indispensable Reference Show your fellow equestrian travelers how much you care by gifting them The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer by Neva Kittrell Scheve with Thomas G. Scheve. This book is considered required reading for the traveling horseperson. Each lucky recipient will acquire valuable insights and helpful advice from the Scheves, undisputed experts on equine travel.

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

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

USRider Member-Benefit Spotlilght 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 items to enhance safety and ease of equestrian travel. For more information on each of these companies, and for more Member discounts, click here.

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.

BriteAngle BriteAngle Flashing LED Triangles protect vehicles and horse trailers in roadside emergencies. The company’s highest priority is preventing the agony of people or equipment of any kind resulting from being hit because of a roadside emergency. BriteAngles warn oncoming traffic to SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER. USRider Members receive an 11% savings when ordering a two-pack, plus two free cone mounting brackets.

CAUTION HORSES® Safety Products When traveling with horses, you can never be too careful. It’s critical that other drivers see you both day and night. CAUTION HORSES® Safety Products will make your rig more visible with signs, decals, and strips made of engineer-grade reflective vinyl—the same type used on law enforcement and emergency vehicles. USRider Members receive a 20% discount.

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. USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

Coverage should not be a grey area. USRider is dedicated to the welfare and safety of our members and their horses. Protecting your investment is both easy and affordable with USRider Insurance Services.

Because Horses are Everything.

Sign up Today and make sure you’re covered. Call for a quote: 800-50-HORSE (504-6773) Or visit: for an online quote Products available: Horse Mortality | Liability | Farm & Ranch


Spruce Up Your Barn

Use this checklist to spruce up your barn before winter sets in. Photos By Betsy Lynch Late fall is a great time to evaluate your barn’s condition. Following is a checklist to follow to get your barn in tip-top shape. Tackle one task at a time, and before you know it, your horse’s indoor environment will be clean, comfortable, and well-organized. ■ Eliminate clutter. Barn clutter is unsightly and dangerous, and provides cozy locations for unwanted critters to nest in during cold weather. Hang large items, such as tarps and blankets, or store them in boxes or on shelves. Arrange small, everyday items for convenience and orderliness. Hang halters and lead ropes. Mount hooks to organize frequently used barn tools. Barn clutter is unsightly and Store wheeldangerous. Mount hooks to organize barrows out frequently used barn tools. of the way to maintain clear aisles. Drain hoses and roll them up daily, especially during freezing weather. ■ Clean water troughs. Provide fresh, clean water year-round. Mud and muck on the bottom of a dirty trough will freeze into any ice that accumulates around the trough. By cleaning troughs before they freeze, you can make sure your horse’s water remains fresh. Hang heat lamps from the barn ceiling to keep the water from freezing. ■ Streamline the feed room. Organize shelves and containers to reduce the time it takes for your feeding regimen. Keep grain in moisture-resistant, USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


By evaluating these 11 aspects of your barn, you’ll be well on your way to having happy horses, happy humans, and a clean, organized barn all year long. rodent-proof containers to maintain freshness. Store feed in plastic tubs or metal trash cans. Move older hay toward the front of your stack, so you’ll use it first. Toss any moldy hay immediately so new hay doesn’t become contaminated. Stack the hay on pallets to keep moisture at bay. ■ Compartmentalize the tack room. Make or purchase bridle hooks, shelves, and saddle racks to store tack. Invest in durable, clear-plastic containers for other items. Organize brushes on a wheeled cart or labeled grooming totes. Add shelving units for additional storage space. Take inventory of your grooming and fly-control products; safely dispose of any empty containers. Safely store those items you’ll need next season. ■ Evaluate your equine medicine chest. Safely toss expired or empty medications, and restock your cabinet with fresh supplies. Don’t allow medications to freeze; temperature extremes compromise their potency. If you don’t have a climate-controlled place in the barn, move them to the house. Winter 2024


It’s a Long Road Ahead.

ARE YOU COVERED? Use tack trunks, racks, and containers to organize your tack and supplies in a centralized location. ■ Condition equipment. Give your tack a good cleaning and conditioning. Tack benefits from regular cleaning with saddle soap, and it also needs to be oiled once or twice annually to maintain leather suppleness. Be sure to clean your saddle pads, too, and occasionally clean and disinfect your grooming supplies. ■ Declutter barn aisles. Keep aisles clear of items that may inhibit horses’ movements or compromise safety. Find a place for anything will hinder movement of you and your horse through the aisle. Sweep barn aisles daily for a clean look and to help prevent a barn fire. ■ Organize horse clothing. While you’re using your winter blankets and hoods, take time to clean, repair and store your summer horse items. ■ Clean out cobwebs and dust. Cobwebs and dust are fire hazards, so now is the time for a clean sweep. Dislodge and remove cobwebs with a broom, mop, and/or industrial vacuum. Wear a hat, gloves, and a jacket to keep the cobwebs and creep-crawlies out of your hair and off your clothes. Use a hose with a spray nozzle to dislodge those hard-to-reach cobwebs. Clean windows, and dust lighting fixtures. ■ Eradicate barn pests. Take steps to eliminate rodents and birds. Acquire a barn cat or two. Remove nests by hand. Keep feed and supplements in rodent-proof containers. Clean up spilled grain immediately. Place netting around barn rafters and hang owl mannequins to discourage birds from nesting. ■ Check wiring, hinges, and mats. Make sure you have extra extension cords and electric water heaters. Check the hinges and running tracks of your barn and stall doors, and gates for rust and debris. Clean and oil them, if necessary. Pull out aisle and stall mats for an occasional cleaning with water and soap. Use lime or commercial stall deodorizers on urine spots. — Jessica Hein

Offering 24/7 Nationwide Roadside Assistance for You and Your Horse Enjoy peace of mind with every membership.

JOIN TODAY...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 • Discounts on tack, travel, accessories, and more!

(800) 844-1409 WWW.USRIDER.ORG Find Us On Facebook Administered by Nation Motor Club Inc., DBA Nation Safe Drivers

USRider® Equestrian Traveler’s Companion


Winter 2024

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.