You can haul your horse all year long, even in the dead of winter, as long as you do so safely. Here, I'll first tell you how to ready your rig for winter hauling. Then I'll go over how to help keep your equine friend comfortable when you haul him in winter conditions. Finally, I'll give you six ways to ease trailer-loading in snow and ice.
Before you leave, check all lights on your towing vehicle and trailer. Replace any non-functioning lights. Photo by Clixphoto.CA
Invest in quality tires for your entire rig. Check tire pressure before every trip; comply with the manufacturer. Photo by Clixphoto.CA
Here are six ways to ease trailer-loading in snow and ice.
- Train your horse. Prior preparation and good training are important to make sure your horse is a good loader; if he rushes in or out, he can easily slip.
- Wear good boots. Slipping, falling or breaking a limb is really a downer on your planned trip. Find good-quality boots that will keep your feet warm, protect your feet, and provide good traction.
- Lay in supplies. Keep sand/shavings/salt and a broom/shovel in the trailer so that if you must load in icy conditions, you can minimize the chance of injury.
- Find traction. Park so that the trailer’s ramp is positioned on the best traction you can find. Dirt is preferred, but snow is better than ice or asphalt.
- Check the trailer stalls. Check the inside of the trailer. Frozen urine and manure are slippery. A fall inside the trailer can lead to serious injury and even death.
- Create an inviting environment. Put fresh hay in the bags and a little grain in the manger. Open the doors and windows, so there’s plenty of light. The more inviting you make the trailer’s interior, the more likely your horse will feel confident enough to step in.
Rebecca Gimenez, PhD (animal physiology), is 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 VMAT-2. She’s an invited lecturer on animal-rescue topics around the world and is a noted equine journalist.