Hot weather can pose serious health problems for animals both two-legged and four-legged, including dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion. USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians, encourages horse owners to take steps to prevent these ailments when traveling with horses.
During these days of summer, it is important that horse owners take precautions to safeguard their horses against heat-related ailments. USRider – in cooperation with Dr. Tomas Gimenez, noted expert in large-animal emergency rescue – provides these hot-weather safety tips:
- Avoid trailering during the warmest hours of the day.
- Make sure that all trailer vents are open and unobstructed to create good airflow in the trailer. However, do not allow horses to stick their heads out windows during transport – this could lead to serious eye injuries from bugs and debris.
- Always carry a bucket and 2-3 gallons of drinking water per horse. The horses may not drink, but offer them water when stopping for fuel or at a rest area.
- When parking, try to find shaded areas and/or areas with some air movement.
- If stuck in traffic on the interstate, provide as much ventilation in the trailer as possible without unloading the horses.
- Make certain that your vehicle is in top running order. A properly tuned engine runs cooler. To avoid blowouts, check air pressure in all tires – including spares – before you travel while your tires are cool. Be sure to have a good spare that is properly inflated. With a good spare, if you do have a breakdown, you can get back on the road quickly. Having seen a high incidence of two flat tires on horse trailers, USRider recommends carrying two spares for your horse trailer.
Dr. Gimenez also advises horse owners to “expect the unexpected. A traffic accident could cause you to spend many hours trapped on the interstate.” To help avoid getting stuck in traffic, he suggests listening to a CB. This could alert you of possible accidents on the road ahead and allow you to take an alternate route around the accident.
USRider provides roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its members through the Equestrian Motor Plan. It includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lockout services, plus towing up to 100 miles and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit www.usrider.org online or call (800) 844-1409.
View US Rider’s pre-trip safety checklist.