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Trailering & Bad Weather

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  • Trailering & Bad Weather

    With tornado/thunderstorm season starting here, I thought this was a good topic to discuss, and I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.

    What do you do if you are trailering your horses and are caught in bad weather? Heavy rain, lightning, high winds, tornadoes, hail, etc?

    I'm scared to death of storms, but unfortunately spring around here always means bad weather. We were coming home from a field trial this weekend and got caught in a nasty storm on the freeway, heavy rain, high winds, lightning, and hail. I guess there was a tornado touch down less than 15 miles from where we were. Of course, being out of state, we don't know the cities or the counties being announced on the radio warnings and I can't google search on the iPhone fast enough to find those maps. Note to self- get an atlas for every state you travel to, even if it's just Wisconsin. We pulled over along with a few other cars and waited out the hail. Everything was fine, but I'm sure the horses were freaking out. It got us thinking, what would we have done if we had a tornado heading our way imminently? Obviously we would ideally plan ahead and not travel during bad weather, but sometimes you don't have a choice.

  • #2
    Drive carefully. Put on your flashers. Pull over when it is safe to.

    Regarding pulling over...
    Obviously getting OFF the interstate is best, ie at an exit. But if you have to pull over on to the shoulder be sure you do not pull off next to a guard rail. You do NOT want to be trapped in case some fool hits you while you are pulled over.


    • #3
      Yesterday we drove in 10 hours of rain to get home (including severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning in Nashville while battling rush hour traffic on I-440). It was not fun.

      If you can delay to allow weather to pass then all well and good. If you can't then stay slow and leave lots of room in front of you. If someone cuts in then slow down and re-establish your separation.

      We did witness a dramatic near miss when a little, white "crossover" lost it (while traveling too fast) and skidded sideways all four lanes of traffic without hitting a soul. I suspect the only casualty was the driver's drawers. At least I hope the stupid putz wet himself (or worse) for being such a bone head and driving WAY too fast for conditions.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        I hope someone on here can decide this, but I was always told that you should let your horses go in a tornado. I guess assuming you have enough time to stop, drop the ramp and get them untied. The safest place for humans is under the girders of an overpass or face down in a ditch. An 18" deep ditch did save a friend of mine during an F3. His back was scratched up, but he was alive. We were at a show one time when sirens toned and mom had us all holding ponies and horses by a drainage ditch so we could drop the shanks and get in the ditch if we had to.

        Be very, very cautious pulling off the shoulder, as there is always some jackass doing 60 with zero visibility. Try and find a weigh station or exit to a gas station if you can
        Originally posted by The Saddle
        Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.


        • #5
          I find an exit and pull off into a parking lot. After sitting through a hail storm, I think I would also take the time to stuff some ear plugs in the horse's ears.
          Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


          • #6
            I agree. I would find an exit and pull off the highway and wait out the storm. I don't even like to pull a trailer in the rain let alone a really nasty storm and just forget snow. I don't go anywhere then.


            • #7
              Speaking as a tornado geek: Underpasses are not safe -- they actually create a wind tunnel effect. People have been blown/sucked out of them and killed.


              • #8
                I am definitely no tornado geek. I hate bad weather. Though I have to admit that 10 yrs in OK has gotten me somewhat de-sensitized.

                But ditto the underpasses are not safe. Ever since that one video on TV some years ago everybody thinks that is THE place to go. Those folks were just plain, dumb lucky.

                Get in a ditch. Or lay flat. Cover your head with your hands, coat, or anything else you can.

                As for the horses, it is a toss up as to where they are safe. Flying debris is what injures and kills most animals. Pick your poison.


                • #9
                  After having been in a relatively minor tornado a few weeks ago, I think I would have die of a heart attack (before being killed by any flying debris) if I had my horses in the trailer and was driving along when one hit.

                  In all seriousness, I can't imagine unloading the horse(s) in the middle of this. Is that really the best course of action? I like the idea of having earplugs in your trailering supplies. Maybe putting them in at the beginning of a trip when you know you are likely to encounter bad weather would be a good proactive step - of course, only with a horse that is already accustomed to them.


                  • #10
                    I don't add this as a 'tried and true' suggestion. Just what 'I' do...and maybe I'm all wrong: but I don't haul my horse, in the summer, during the mid - late afternoon. MOST nasty weather in the summer doesn't hit during the hours of dawn, which is when I haul.
                    MY horse is a BAD hauler, who prances the whole time...so, traffic tie ups, and HEAT are very hard on him. I like to haul to and from in the 5-7 am time frame...no later!
                    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                    --Jimmy Buffett


                    • #11
                      No, you're absolutely right. I do that too, but I only looked at it as a heat issue before. But you are right about the bad weather.


                      • Original Poster

                        yes very true, the bad weather usually does strike later afternoon-evening. Unfortunately we usually can't time out or trailering for morning only. that would mean either missing the last day of our event or taking another day off of work to leave the next day, which isn't very cool either. And in all honesty, there's usually no shelter at field trials so we're probably not much worse off on the road than parked at camp.

                        Prevention is definitely the best method, but I was just wondering if anyone had recommendations for what to do when you're caught off guard on the road.


                        • #13
                          well, except for the rogue tornado creeping up, storms are usually trackable for hours and hours these days.
                          If you can at all avoid being on the road, stay put.

                          Other than that, I suppose go slow and pray.

                          A lose horse on the highway is a huge nightmare.