Calm, Cool and Collected- How to Handle Horse Trailer Troubles

No one wants trouble but accidents happen to the best of people and horses. Be sure you have protocols in place and have the necessary safety items before you get on the road and in worst-case scenarios.

Roadside breakdowns and disasters are sometimes unavoidable, yet many subsequent injuries and mistakes can be evaded.

Stand By the Horse

Horses are prey animals and rely on their instincts to survive. Therefore, don’t expect a scared and abandoned animal to stay put if the truck breaks down and you need to seek gas or assistance.

Make sure you tell others of your intended route as well as bring a cellular phone along in case you need to call for roadside assistance.

Think of the Size of the Trailer

Size counts when it comes to a particular horse, the number of horses trailed, along with the intended distance of the journey. For example, don’t jump at the opportunity to buy a 2 horse gooseneck trailer for sale if you need to pull more than a few horses. Horses need comfort and grow weary or fearful when cramped in small spaces.

To avoid potentially harmful situations, buy a trailer large enough for each load.

Get a Roadside Kit

Buy an emergency roadside kit replete with triangles, flares, flashlight, batteries, and more essentials you won’t think about until stuck on the side of the road. A fire extinguisher, shovel, insect spray, tool kit, air compressor, knife, and duct tape are a few other suggestions.

Don’t think any precautionary measure is too silly; you’ll be glad you overcompensated with supplies when an emergency arises.

Have Spare Tires Available

Dealing with a flat or torn tire is a top reason for running into trouble on the road. Aside from extra spares for the truck and trailer, use a halter and trailer tie or lead rope. Never unhitch a trailer with a horse inside, and never tie a horse on the side of the road where they could be hit.

Trailer tires may not be as easy to acquire as those for your truck; so, take any precautionary measures needed to have them available before a long haul.

Give Emergency Horse Directions

In the event of a serious accident involving injuries, understand that most EMTs are not trained to address animals. Keep emergency directions handy as well as a contact number of someone who can help treat the horse remotely if you are incapacitated.

Clearly label numbers as ICE (in case of emergency) so medical personnel can address the needs of horses with immediacy.

Take it Slow

In the event of an accident, with the trailer becoming unhitched and turned over on its side, be careful in approaching potentially fearful or injured animals. Be slow in approaching and peaceful in talking with animals that may be very excited.

Make assessments that facilitate the rescue and maintain the safety of the animal. For example, don’t open windows since injured animals have been known to try to get out of small spaces, further injuring themselves in the process.

Use Leg Wraps

Horses are incredibly resilient and a high number survive the worst of crashes and come out fine…as long as they stay inside the trailer. Subsequent lower-leg injuries are often reason horses are euthanized after a big crash.

Use leg wraps to keep horses safe from squirming and their subsequent panic.

Don’t Assume a Horse is Calm

Horses have a sense that a “downed horse is a dead one.” So, even if they appear calm while you approach, don’t expect they will remain so for long. Horses grow much more fearful and anxious following an accident (much more than humans). They will fight to get up to their feet despite exhaustion and limited space. Continuous fighting could place a horse in shock and eventually kill it.

Try to keep the horse as calm as possible since they will be receptive to sounds and have limited vision within the downed trailer.


Estela Cooper loves being on the rodeo circuit. Since she was a child competing in the youngest horse riding categories, she has seen and experienced the best and most troublesome sides of the work and shares her insights with others on a variety of blogs.

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