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Traveling the Great American Highways
Traveling the Great American Highways

Preventing Breakdowns while Hauling Horses

Horse Hauling SafetyAs you excitedly gather your horse's class and show entry confirmations, Coggins Tests, stall assignments, and all the other essential paperwork for the big competition, don't forget to take a moment to kick the tires and check the radiator of your trusty truck and trailer.

When did you last change the oil, check the tires, or have normal radiator maintenance? Sure, you'll pack extra halters, girths, and lead ropes in the trailer, but it's equally important to prioritize your vehicle's maintenance before hauling your horses down the open road. 

Where to Start

Let's dive into a comprehensive maintenance checklist to tackle before and after you embark on your favorite rodeo, trail ride, or horse show adventure.

1. Tire Maintenance

A truck or trailer tire failure while hauling your horses is dangerous. Hauling a Tennessee Walker mare and stallion, (Midnight Cavalier,) over Snoqualmie Pass many years ago, we had a blowout and had to pull over on the old, narrow highway! Worn-out tires, overloading the trailer, or hitting pesky potholes can all be culprits. Today's highways require good tires, and a spare tire is essential. Replace truck and trailer tires when needed, and ensure they're inflated to the recommended pressure.  

2. Engine Care  

Engine trouble, be gone! Regular oil changes are your vehicle's best friend. Breakdowns caused by neglected maintenance or overheating need to be a thing of the past. Keep your engine going strong by paying attention to your manufacturer's recommendations. Tackle any issues head-on and avoid more serious problems later.  

3. Electrical System Checks

Regularly check your battery and charging system to keep breakdowns at bay. Don't let electrical issues ruin your horse-hauling experience. A dead battery, faulty alternator, or other component failures can be a real headache. Better battery brands, (AutoZone is my favorite,) come with roadside assistance to help you get home safely!

4. Fuel System Maintenance

Fuel system problems can also put a wrench in your horse-hauling plans. A clogged fuel filter or fuel pump failure can bring your journey to a screeching halt. You can usually change these quickly and inexpensively. Stay on top of your fuel filter replacements and address fuel system issues ASAP.

5. Transmission TLC  

Transmission worries can be a real horse-hauling buzzkill. Skipping transmission fluid changes or dealing with a faulty clutch or torque converter can lead to a breakdown. Find a good local transmission service center and check out your pickup before you head to the National Finals. Regularly service your transmission and address issues promptly to keep your horse-hauling adventures on track. 

6. Brake System Vigilance 

Don't let brake problems put your horse's safety at risk. Worn-out brake pads, damaged rotors, or fluid leaks can lead to brake failure. Keep track of how many thousands of miles you've traveled since your last new brake pads. Regularly inspect your brake system and replace worn components to ensure a smooth and secure ride for your equine friend. 

  • About the Author: Stacey Mayer founded her award-winning coloring book website, AWhiteHorse.com™ in 1996. She continues to share her artwork, articles, and original photos on a wide variety of art, equine, and webmaster subjects.

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