Last night we got a call at 1:30 A.M. from a number I did not recognize. These late night calls are never good. I groaned and convinced myself it was a wrong number. After the second ring, I pulled myself together and listened to the voice mail. It was two women driving home from the ABRA World Show stranded on the side of the highway because their truck broke down. They had no one to call, were hundreds of miles from home (they were on their way cross-country to their home in Washington), and had their two show horses in the trailer. It was a horse owner’s worst nightmare. They begged me to come get them. They had found a tow truck to pick up their truck, but they’d have to leave the trailer and horses on the highway. This was simply not an option. Brad was getting ready to hop in the truck to go rescue them when she called back saying she finally found a tow truck that could pull her truck as well as the trailer and horses. We were off the hook, but I couldn’t help thinking about those horses. They’d already sat in the trailer in the heat (it’s still very hot even during the night here in Oklahoma) for over an hour while their owners made phone call after phone call trying to get some help. What if they hadn’t found us on the web? What if I chose not to answer? What if that tow truck driver didn’t hear his phone ring in the middle of the night? I started to think about ways this situation could have been prevented, or if it couldn’t have been prevented how the situation could have been made less stressful for humans and horses alike.
Here are some helpful hints I have found for traveling with horses:
1. Before you even hit the road, load up your trailer with essentials in case of an emergency.
2. If you’re stranded for long periods of time, your horses will need access to water; water tanks can be carried in the bed of the truck or the dressing room of your trailer.
3. Road side fluorescent cones can also come in handy, especially at night.
4. Always travel with a first aid kit for you and your horses.
5. Take a tool kit with you on the road and make sure you know how to change a flat on your truck and your trailer. Check your oil and tire pressure before you ever pull out. Also test your trailer brakes and your trailer lights.
6. If you want extra preparedness, research boarding stables in the area of your destination and keep their numbers in a binder. Have police and emergency numbers handy as well. You never know if you might need them.
7. If you travel frequently with your horse, you might consider purchasing an Equestrian Motor Insurance Plan. Having a policy with an insurance holder could really save you hassle in the event of an emergency and give you peace of mind while on the road. USRider is a highly recommended company I have been previously researching. I am not a huge fan of insurance and I normally see it as a waste of money, but after hearing this woman’s voice on the phone last night the insurance seems like a great idea, espeically for cross-country haulers. Not only does this specific insurance help with towing, they can help with repairs, flat tire assistance, gas/oil/water delivery, and also a lockout service. There are many companies who provide services like these, so it would be wise to to do research on them before making your own decision. USRider has some great horse hauling checklists to use before you load up for a trip. http://www.usrider.org/index2.html
Get a game plan together that suits you and your horses before traveling, so you don’t have to call me in the middle of the night asking for help!
**photo from USRider