Trailering Freebee for Everyone
Updated: Aug 19, 2022
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I feel it is important.
Distance trailering (over 4hrs).
I’ve been distance trailering for 25+ years. (Yikes, maybe I am getting old). I’ve been hauling horses cross country for 22+ years. Along the way I’ve learned a few things. So here are some tips and tricks.
Never run below 1/4 tank of fuel. I generally stop with 50+ miles left on my tank and I carry extra fuel with me. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road in the heat with horses on board. In rural areas fuel can be a long ways off and sometimes when you get there they are out…no I have never run out and I don’t plan to.
Don’t skimp on maintenance. Breakdowns happen but they happen far less often with good maintenance on your truck AND trailer. Thankfully I have good humans in my life that keep me maintained and repaired (Jaedon, Landon, Teddy, Steven, Dawson, Dad, uncle Doug) and other humans who have saved me when failures happen (Julie, Ryan and others I am sure I have forgotten).
Keep basic tools. Sockets, screw drivers, vice grips, etc. Always have wiring supplies (I’ve rewired the trailer in the snow with no cell service after a blow out), fuses, duct tape, zip ties, bailing twine/wire, bungee cords, ratchet straps, toe strap, flares, fire extinguisher, grease, lock tite, super glue, etc. I keep a spare serpentine belt.
TWO spares minimum. Sometimes a blowout will take out another tire with it. My tires are replaced a minimum of every 4 years regardless of wear. I have a jack, trailer ease, wheel chocks, impact, breaker bar all with me. Sometimes all you have is you to get it done. You can do it. Before leaving put anti seize on all your lug nuts and make sure they are tight. Don’t forget when changing your tire to loosen the lug nuts prior to lifting tire off the ground. Check your tires at every stop. Walk around your truck and trailer at every stop looking for potential problems.
Carrying extra coolant is a good idea.
Use your engine compression to slow you down on a downhill grade. Use your brakes sparingly, those things overheat and catch fire. I have never done it but I’ve seen them on fire going down passes. Exhaust breaks are the BOMB. You can get after market ones.
Air ride, air ride, air ride. The air ride systems for trucks, hitches and trailers improve the stability of the vehicle immensely.
Carry a good old fashioned paper map. Cell signal and gps signal are not always reliable.
Keep a flashlight in your vehicle and trailer. Don’t rely on your cell phone light. It’s probably not bright enough and you may need to talk on it and see what you are looking at simultaneously.
Carry blankets for you in case you are stranded.
Keep your cell charged.
Keep a sharp knife handy.
Check in with someone at home regularly so if you don’t check in, they know to look and have a general idea of where to start.
I do have a CB in my truck now. It’s A) entertaining B) you can hear of any issues around where you are and C) if you don’t have cell service you can probably still get someone to answer and help. You can get small handheld ones that plug into your cigarette lighter port. Don’t skimp on the antenna.
Drive during cool hours if you can. It’s easier on your tires, vehicles and animals.
I carry at least three days worth of feed and water for the horses. If you get stranded it buys you time. You can get camping water containers that hold 5+ gallons if you don’t have a water tank In your truck or trailer. Bringing water from home is important. Some horses won’t drink if the water doesn’t taste “normal”.
Bed your trailer deep. It helps with heat and shock absorption.
Put therapeutic boots on your horses. It helps with heat, support and shock absorption.
Somedays we are on the road 16-18 hours. But the horses always get at least 10 hours off the trailer at night. Remember every hour of riding in the trailer is equivalent to 2hrs of walking. Factor recovery time in if you are expecting your horse to perform. If hauling multiple days in a row, I try to do a long day first and each subsequent day shorter.