Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Before we know it, it will be spring and summer and time to get out there and travel with your horse! Being stuck inside is a bit tough for a tried and true horsewoman, but I am using my time to advance my learning, and to give things like travel some serious thought.
I recently watched one of the episodes of "Best of American by Horseback" on RFDTV...and thought I would share some tips about travel from that show...there are some things I had never thought of, so, here we go.
1. Do an early check of your truck, trailer and horse paperwork. You may think your Coggins is still valid, but time does fly, and if you check the date, you will know for sure. Truck and trailer checks should include the standard stuff, tire pressure ( check your spare too ) lights, brakes, etc. MANY people have a checklist of these chores...make one, and keep it in your truck.
2. The day before your trip, fuel your truck, hook up your trailer, pack your trailer, and you will be ready to hit the road early. Giving yourself a "night to sleep on it" may in fact make you realize something you had forgotten...and hooking up in the dark is just plain difficult.
3. Make sure you have plenty of feed and water for your horses. Horses often do not like strange water, and you also never know how long you could be stuck with a breakdown or behind a wreck or traffic issue, so bring water. Make sure you have your Vet Clinic's phone # in case of emergency.
4. Plan on getting to your overnight stopping point in 8 hours...you will drive mostly in the daylight that way, and if you plan to arrive by 3pm, you will have plenty of time to settle your horses in, grab some dinner for yourself and get some rest before the next day. Vets tend to agree that horses should not travel over 12 hours a day, shipping fever odds go way up if the horses travel over 12 hours. Plan out your trip well. DO NOT unload your horses in a strange plan, unless you must do so for an emergency, a loose horse in a strange plan is a recipe for disaster. No matter how nice the place looks to you, your horse has no idea where he is at.
5.Vets also agree, that several days in a row is OK. Just be sure to give your horses adequate rest at night.
6. Carry enough cash to get you home, keep your tank at least 1/2 full. Today's gas stations rely on power to work, so if you limp into a town with no electricity, and 1/8 th of a tank of gas, you may not make it to the next stop. Power outages can happen anytime, anywhere, bad weather and bad drivers can easily cause power outages. If you have cash, you won't be left with no method to pay, if your credit card is denied for any reason. Credit card companies may pull your credit card, if they think there is fraud, and you will be left with no way to pay for your fuel.
7. Use truck stops for fuel, truck stops are a haulers dream. They have ample room, plenty of hot grub for you and a good safe place to rest for a bit. Easy fuel pumps make an easy in and out for you and your trailer. Truck stops also have a few parts, and perhaps you can even get a new tire, plus suggestions for a mechanic if needed. IF you have a flat out on the highway, sacrifice the flat, rather than sacrifice your safety. Drive to the next exit, find that truck stop or tire store and get your repair made. Be sure and replace the spare though...don't figure you won't have 2 flats...( been there done that!) it does happen.
8. Keep a list of Purina dealers or Tractor Supply stores on hand. They are very helpful and direct you to area events and things of interest, or repair shops if needed.
9. NEVER trust the GPS. Call ahead to find the best route give to you by the locals. GPS does not account for small areas, difficult for a trailer to work their way through, road construction with possible closed roads, call ahead and find out....
10. Call your planned destination and find out details...are there stalls with water and electric? Are the stalls shaded/covered? are there trails there? how difficult are the trails? is there adequate parking? what are some points of interest for the humans to see? and if you go off sightseeing, do they care for your horses?
11. Don't forget to stock the "human food" hubby and I recently took a trip to Boise, I packed WAY more food than I thought I needed, and by the time we returned home, every crumb was gone. We hit terrible weather, and arrived in towns when the eateries were all closed up. We could not have bought dinner if we wanted too! Pack a good variety of food and drinks and water too, you won't be sorry!
Get out on the road and just plain enjoy yourself ! Keep safety in mind and be prepared, the rest will fall into place.
Posted by Linda @ Creekside Curlies at 8:51 AM