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Please share your long-haul wisdom, preparation, and supplies

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  • Please share your long-haul wisdom, preparation, and supplies

    TL;DR: Please share your necessities/preparation for making a long haul.

    I'm embarking on my first long haul (~18 hrs over two days). I'll be alone in the truck with one horse in tow. I'm a veteran of 3-6 hour hauls, but never done more than that. I have meticulously mapped my route and marked the truck stops along the way. I'll queue up an audio book and podcasts to keep me company. I've also acquired an impact driver for tire changes and a portable battery charger/tire inflator to supplement my handy drive-on jack. I have a hi-viz safety vest for roadside emergencies, flashlight, blanket, and other safety necessities in the truck. My trailer is currently being serviced and my truck will be up-to-date on tire rotation and other regular maintenance. I have US Rider. I am well stocked with ulcergard, emergency first aid, feed, hay, and water for the horse. What am I missing? Please share your wisdom!
    When you have a Thoroughbred and a mare and shes got big ears and big eyes, youre set and thats sealed. Jimmy Wofford

  • #2
    While it's exceedingly unlikely you'd ever need it, knowing a few good vets along your route can be helpful.

    Your emergency kit has banamine in it, yes?

    Something that always hangs me up is how much LONGER hauling take than just driving. So be sure to factor that in. If it's 18 hours without the trailer, call it at least 20 with it...those horse checks take time.

    Good luck!


    • Original Poster

      Thanks, Simkie! It's 15 hrs in normal driving conditions. I've added 3 to accommodate my old reliable but slow truck and its two teeny fuel tanks requiring refueling every ~175 miles. :-(

      My kit has banamine, dormosedan gel, and bute.
      When you have a Thoroughbred and a mare and shes got big ears and big eyes, youre set and thats sealed. Jimmy Wofford


      • #4
        I would have an idea of which truck stops you want to gas up at and look at aerial views of how they are laid out on Google Maps.

        Same thing with your layover point - know how to get into and out of that place as well.

        Then just sit back and enjoy it!


        • #5
          Location, addresses and phone numbers of large animal vets on your driving route. Also, places that may offer temporary board if you break down and are stuck for a day or two.

          Agree with using larger gas stations (truck stops if possible) that are easy to get in and out of. One we stopped at was a pita to get out of because the refuel truck for the gas station parked to refuel the tanks somewhat blocking the exit. Took some fancy maneuvering to get out.


          • #6
            Don’t forget water, drinks, food for yourself. Honestly, you sound well prepared! Congratulations on a well thought out plan and being well prepared!

            Here is to wishing you safe travels!

            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


            • #7
              You sound well prepared.

              Short rests are important to let the horse relax leg muscles. A 15-20 minute rest stop every 2-3 hours is a great idea if workable. While hauling, as you know, the horse is always at work to some extent. A quiet time is a great refresher.

              When my horse was professionally hauled from Minnesota to Texas 5 years ago, the hauler stopped every 2-3 hours and texted me their stop and start times. They offered water every other one of these, but he never drinks while being hauled.


              • #8
                I would consider starting gastro guard 48 hours before the trip - this recommendation came from the head research vet for the product. Two days in advance and both days of shipping is one tube and pretty cheap insurance for stress.

                Also I use a product called Thirst Quencher before shipping long distances, after hard works and when we come in off the marathon phase. It looks like you paid a $27 to buy a glorified teeny tiny bag of sweet feed, but it works! You do need to let it sit for about 30 minutes before it hits maximum tasty, but my guy absolutely loves it, and the bag will last you a good long time (I buy about 2 bags a year, store it in my house to keep it fresh and just bring baggies out to the barn or along with me to CDEs.) Usually I give some to my guy with breakfast (1/2 cup added to a full 8 quart bucket of water) before we ship out and sometimes I put about 1/3 of a normal 5 gallon bucket snapped in place in his hay bag/feeder if we are coming home from an event where he might have worked hard. As an FYI, it doesn't have electrolytes, but you can add them for workouts. I wouldn't for just shipping though.

                Depending on where you are and where you are going, Buc-Ees or Love's are your Fuel Stop Friends!

                Last but not least, using pine pellets on pee areas is the best idea ever. I put in a bag of shavings then keep a bag of pine pellets in the trailer, and just add to the center (gelding) as needed. It makes cleaning so much easier and overall traps the odor better
                Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                • #9
                  We added a camera to the trailer...more of peace of mind. I can link you a cheap, easy, do-it-yourself set up if you're interested. It runs off a battery pack like the one you mentioned you already have. If I did our XC trip all over again, I would have a back-up layover planned in case the first one is too far out due to unforeseen weather/traffic. That was the only major issue we ran into. Had a great layover planned, but the extreme weather conditions slowed our travel time and the last chunk of the drive into our layover was not an experience I would like to repeat...ever again. I guess the only problem is the layover barns typically want a certain amount of notice for cancelling, and in these cases it's harder to do that.


                  • #10
                    Trailer tire aid and a spare lead rope and knife in the truck and in the trailer tack room.

                    Think about if the horse will be wearing and clothes or boots - even in winter they can heat up the trailer and will need some windows cracked for ventilation.

                    Keep an eye on the weather if you are traveling anywhere that might get ice or snow and be ready to leave early or delay the trip if needed. If you can, have a list of layover spots with phone numbers in the truck, but remember if the weather is really bad, a single horse can probably just stay on the trailer in a parking lot while you wait for the weather to improve, especially if you can give them more of a box stall type space.

                    And get yourself some food and drinks packed for the trip too.


                    • #11
                      We always haul water with us in 5gallon bottles. It can be hard to fill water containers at rest stops. In winter I keep a container inside the truck because they have frozen in the trailer during cold weather! Have a pan or small bucket that horse can drink out of easily. Tall bucket in a manger does not work well. Better to refill small bucket a couple times than waste your bottled water in big bucket full he won't drink. Then water has to be tossed out. Practice ahead drinking from hand held bucket if he is only used to water tanks.

                      Do you have a fire extinguisher on board in an easily reached location? Extra hay and grain for if you get held up by bad weather or a breakdown? Fork and muck tub to clean out under him on such a long ride? A blanket if needed? We once left Louisiana in 70F weather with our new horse. We met a freak snowstorm heading north in late MAY! Needed that spare blanket, plus stopped and got cardboard, duct tape to cover the slat sides of the stock trailer to finish the trip into snowy Michigan! That yearling was happy to wear a blanket for the first time ever, quietly watched us cover the slats with weird stuff, walked right back up in his front stall. He turned out to be a heck of a horse, real accepting, wonderful traveler!

                      Have you got planned over night stops to unload him and rest? They get very leg weary being on a trailer for long times of travel. Truck stops are NOT good places to unload to walk him around. Horse Hotel online is supposed to be a good source of places to stop at.

                      You also need to get rested up for the next day of travel. Fatigue causes accidents. I am shocked at folks here admitting how long they drive while hauling horses alone. Many with minimal stops for fuel and rest rooms. Trips like that are hard on your body and the horse too! Stimulants will only work to keep you awake for a while, no guarantee when you might fall asleep behind the wheel!!

                      Hope you have a good trip.


                      • #12
                        If you haven’t used your drive-on jack before, make sure it actually lifts your trailer tire off the ground. Sometimes with a loaded trailer they don’t. Best wishes for a smooth trip!
                        "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                        • #13

                          Before you leave check the date codes on the trailer tires, including the spare.... our trailer tires looked OK, then notice a little thing on one only to see that all four needed replacing.... spare looked wonderful, until I flipped it over it was worse than the ones on the trailer.... so new tires were required, including spare


                          About unknown road conditions, try 511

                          Lots of states have adopted a 511 traffic system program to provide drivers with up-to-the-minute travel and traffic information. Dialing 511 is a free call that allows drivers to access important information when they aren’t in front of a computer or television.

                          and for peace of mind get a laser temperature gun to check tires/trailer hubs... just point and check



                          • #14
                            I too am doing this in a few months, about 17 hours but I am driving through.

                            One thing I plan on doing this spring is practicing changing the tires on the trailer (and truck!) I know how in theory but have never had to do it on the road and it's one of those things that never happens until it happens and then if you aren't able to recall some muscle memory and quickly get to work it can become a nightmare (and dangerous to hang out on the side of the road, depending on where you are).
                            Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.


                            • #15
                              Sounds like you've got it covered but I'll add:

                              Spare leather halter
                              Spare lead ropes (Glad to see someone mentioned a knife. You don't want one hung up on his rope or ties in the event things go tits up)
                              Day before departure, consider having horse tubed with water/ electrolytes/ mineral oil (old school, but some still do this for long hauls)
                              Complete first aid kit with all the supplies you're comfortable using. Duct tape, bandaging materials, blindfold, sterile saline, etc. Sedation in the form you're most comfortable administering.

                              Of course electronics and a pre-printed route because some of the areas you're passing through may not have reception.
                              I personally would not wrap or use anything other than bells all around for that length of journey.

                              Spare blankets and yes, cameras pointed in the back is very comforting to have as well.

                              And great suggestion to check that your trailer lift/ ramp actually gets the trailer off the ground when loaded.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                                and yes, cameras pointed in the back is very comforting to have as well.
                                might surprise you .... daughter hauled her nine month old in from North Dakota the camera set up revealed the lad grabbing some hay, then going to the window to look out to see the world go by

                                on that knife.. make it a lock blade .... when judging hazards on CDEs all judges were required to have lock blade just in case a horse or team fell or got entangled in a hazard .... only once did I have to cut a horse out of its harness, but it was something that had to be done to free it... it was an expensive harness Are Your Sure You Want Me to Cut that Harness... owner said yes


                                • #17
                                  Slight hijack - I never see it mentioned on threads like this, but when I worked for a barn that regularly hauled 8-16 hours for shows, our head-to-head trailers were outfitted with metal rings that we hung (smallish) water buckets from. We refilled buckets as needed at each stop rather than offering water. Horses could drink as they wanted and the hay dunkers were especially pleased. The rings were located slightly in front of their heads so no issues with crowding or getting hung up. I could see how other trailer configurations wouldn’t allow for it, but it worked well in our case.

                                  Separately, I like traveling with those auxiliary battery packs for charging mobile devices.
                                  Last edited by Redlei44; Jan. 23, 2020, 11:16 AM.


                                  • #18
                                    if you're planning to hang hay, I might put a fly mask on to avoid any flying debris getting into an eye. Saw extra leads, but I'd throw on an extra halter as well. I'd also make sure one of the extra leads was a chain shank just in case something happens and you need a little more control - better to have and not need than need and not have. Safe travels


                                    • #19
                                      When we did long hauls (towing a 24' enclosed race car trailer) we always had a "The Next Exit" book available as it high lighted camper/rig friendly fuel stops and parking lots (restaurants etc). It is still a printed book but updated annually and very reliable.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MsB View Post
                                        When we did long hauls (towing a 24' enclosed race car trailer) we always had a "The Next Exit" book available as it high lighted camper/rig friendly fuel stops and parking lots (restaurants etc). It is still a printed book but updated annually and very reliable.
                                        That's AWESOME.