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So what ARE you supposed to do if your tow vehicle dies while towing horses?

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  • So what ARE you supposed to do if your tow vehicle dies while towing horses?

    My (NEW! GRR!) fuel pump went out on my yesterday while I was pulling my empty trailer to go get my horse. I was on the freeway. For those of you that have never had a fuel pump go out, basically you're going along just fine and your car just dies, along with all the power brakes and steering, air, etc. Fun stuff. NOT.

    So I coasted over to the side of the road and waited for a tow. They had to unhook the trailer to get it on the tow truck, so I figured if I had a horse, I"d have had to unload there by the side of the freeway in order to disconnect and reconnect, is that right? Yikes.

    Also disconnected once we got to the repair store, so I guess she would have gotten out and been tied to the trailer or something. If I'd have been stuck overnight, does US rider call someone to come get your horse or what? I was close enough to home I could have called someone for resuce, but if I was not... what do you do?

    I have to give props to US rider, of course this happened on the top of some mountain. I had no reference to where I was and hadn't passed an off ramp that I could remember. I got the GPS to tell me where I was. After some initial confusion, I was actually out of the tow guy's range, but they covered all the extra expense and just kept insisting to the guy that he go pick me up. Which he did.

    I originally got the fuel pump changed cause it was making noise, and this had actually happened to me once before while diriving down the street! And I thought, oh good, it's changed and I won't have to worry about it going out on me while towing or on the fwy. HA! HA! HA!

  • #2
    I feel your pain. LOL While on my way to pick up a horse my fuel pump went on my horse van. Nice. Fortunately I didn't have the horse already so I just had the van towed but I couldn't imagine what I would have done if I had a loaded van.

    I did run out of gas once on the way to a show, yup, horses loaded and all. Kids down the street apparently siphoned my gas. (My area is noted for kids doing that kind of crap) My farrier saved my butt on that one. I don't think a million bucks could have made me feel better than seeing him pull up with a gas can. I can laugh about it now but man was I sweating bullets then. And yes, I have invested in locking gas caps since then.
    '10 Dolce Latte G - Thoroughbred Mare


    • #3
      I have had this happen several times. I tow with a full sized van and a bumper pull, not a gooseneck.

      They just towed the van, pulling the trailer. Didn't need to unload or disconnect. It was reasonably close to home, so they towed the whole lot to my house, where they disconnected the trailer and I unloaded the horse, and they towed the van to the shop.

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


      • #4
        We had a warning light come on while towing my horse from NJ to GA -- a 16 hour drive with a trailer. We were near Clemson when it came on, so about 2 hours from home. We'd been driving allllllll day and it was about 9pm.

        Dad kept driving while I scurried through the owner's manual to find out what it meant. Turned out it was the Throttle Body Indicator light, meaning our throttle body was clogged up with goo [on a truck that had JUST been serviced before starting the trip.. grr] and we were subject to losing power steering, brakes, etc at any given moment.

        Dad, being car guy, says "Eh we'll make it home". Me, being horse girl, says "I better not have to unload this 17.2 hand energy ball of a horse, who's been standing patiently on the trailer for the past 14 hours, on the side of the freaking highway in the dark".

        He drove for about 30 more minutes and we felt the truck shudder. I got nervous. Then, we came across a nasty car accident involving a horse trailer and about 5 other cars. One car had gone over the edge of the bridge. I said "That's it. That's our sign, we're pulling over at the next exit and getting help".

        So, we called friends in Atlanta who had a capable truck, and waited for them to come to our rescue, at a closed gas station. They showed up at midnight and it was time for the switcharoo. We backed up the truck & trailer along the side of the building but left a gap between the trailer and some bushes behind it. Then backed up our rescue vehicle behind, but parallel to the trailer, creating a boxed in area with the bushes and the building:

        ........... R

        I put two chains over his nose, one coming off each side and my friend who had come with her dad held one side of my horse, while I held the other. The two dads quickly unhooked our truck from the trailer, and then switched the truck's places, so that our truck was blocking in my horse and their truck was getting hitched up.

        Meanwhile, a tow truck was bringing up the cars from the accident, so I went over and asked if, when he was done with that, he could tow our car to the nearest Dodge dealer, and gave him the keys, since we'd be back in GA. He was very nice and helpful and didn't have a problem doing that for us.

        We finaaaaally got back to the barn at 3am, we had been "on the road" for almost 24 hours.

        And we now have US Rider, because Emergency Trailering and/or Stabling would have really de-stressed the situation.

        Thank goodness for good friends and a horse who decided to behave at midnight in a deserted gas station!
        CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan
        Serving North GA with high quality clips.
        --> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
        --> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred


        • #5
          This happened to my best friend on the way home from an event in the spring. Two horses on the trailer, pitch black out, and dead truck. She did NOT have US rider at the time, but was fortunately within an hour from home and got someone to come meet her with a new truck. They did have to unload both the horses (including her Advanced eventer) on the side of the off ramp with the new truck was being hooked up. And of course the baby eventer managed to throw a hissy fit and kick the big guy (not bad but enough to send him reeling back out of my friend's hand) and then proceeded to TROT UP THE OFF RAMP ONTO THE HIGHWAY!!!! Fortunately he found some grass on the side and stopped long enough to be caught.

          But back on topic, I believe US rider will arrange for overnight stabling for the horses, as well as emergency vet or farrier services if needed.


          • #6
            Yep! I was gonna say, US Rider. If you tow at all, you need it!
            ****Hasta la vista, Frenchie****
            There's something about the outside of a horse that's good for the inside of a (wo)man.


            • #7
              Had it happen last year on the interstate on the way to a PPE, so one horse in the gooseneck trailer. Broke a belt and could not get it fixed. Called a dear friend. We did not unload the horse. Unhooked dead truck, pushed it out of the way. Hooked up good truck and got him off the highway. We made it to the median at an exit ramp, so I had cars flying by on both sides. It was terrifying for me, but the horse could have cared less.

              Left dead truck for husband to fix and he came a couple hours later to pick me and the trailer up.
              Trinity Hill Farm


              • #8
                US Rider, all the way!

                EMERGENCY LODGING/STABLING ARRANGEMENTS - If, while traveling, your vehicle breaks down or is in an accident that does not involve injury to a horse(s), USRider will contact area hotels, motels and stabling facilities to make lodging arrangements for you and your horse(s). (Member responsible for lodging/stabling costs. USRider cannot guarantee availability.)

                Will you tow a loaded horse trailer?
                Yes, we will tow your trailer with your horse(s) in it, unless it can no longer be used to safely transport your animal(s). In that instance, we will locate alternate transportation for your horse(s). USRider will not leave you or your horse(s) stranded.
                "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."


                • #9
                  Happened to us once YEARS ago with (fortunately) a very sweet and quiet pony. We were passing through the "downtown" section of a small town when the timing belt, I think, went out. Mom pulled over, called the tow truck, we unloaded the pony, he pulled the truck up onto the flatbed of the tow truck, then hitched the trailer to the tow truck, reloaded the pony, and went off home. The whole thing went surprisingly well. One thing to keep in mind, though it's far less of a concern than a horse being crazy on the side of a highway, is that when the trailer is sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow, it can get really hot! I always kept a bucket and towel near the dressing room door; I was able to walk to a nearby fast food restaurant and get some ice water to "sponge" the pony off with and keep her cool.


                  • #10
                    Funny this came up, as my fuel pump went out this past week. I was on my way from NE TN to Lexington KY to take a horse to the vet (while on one of the two weeks of vacation I take per year), and I lost power about 1 1/2 hours south of Lexington, out in the boonies. I was able to get the truck to the next exit (think "Deliverance", I swear I heard banjos on the way into town), and find a repair shop. I was also very lucky that the people I was going to stay with while in the Lexington area (horse people) were nice enough to come get me and my trailer, and to put me up until I could arrange to get home. It took me 5 days and 4 nights to get home and my truck is still in the shop in KY, and trailer and horse are still with friends in KY (who I owe, BIG TIME). Long story, but the Reader's Digest version is that the repairs became progressively more involved as time went on, the fuel pump that was to be overnighted took 5 days to arrive, and my parents, who were coming to TN to visit my family and were to pick me up along the way, were delayed a day due to a dead starter motor in their car.

                    No advice to add, but I am glad I saw this thread, as I will look into US Rider...


                    • #11
                      hahaha... this happened to me this summer! I was driving and about 40 minutes away from home when I pulled into a gas station. After filling up, the truck wouldn't start. I opened up the hood to find the auxillary battery that runs the plow and lights had fallen off the mount and was lying on the main engine belt. The belt wasn't broken, but there was now a major short in the electrical system. I was able to get the truck started for about 10 seconds at a time and used that time to get the trailer moved and backed up to the shade. I called home and tried to arrange for another truck to come hook to the trailer. I have plenty of friends with tow packages, but of course all of them were otherwise occupied that afternoon. After 5 hours of entertaining horsey, and feeding him popsicles and push-pops bought at said gas station, my wonderful uncle finally came to my rescue. He towed said horsey home and there was an awesome home owner that allowed me to graze the my horse in his back yard and leave the truck in his garage. For a little bit, I sat in the front of the trailer with one fan on me and the other on my horse. He announced his displeasure with the whole scenario by flipping his whole bucket of water right over my head. Lovely, just lovely. I really should look into a US rider policy.


                      • #12
                        I had the fuel pump go out while pulling an empty trailer. I called US rider, but the police came right away, and my son came with his truck. I always carry a tow rope rated to tow 15,000 lbs, so my son pulled us off the road, switched vehicles, and I cancelled the US rider call. It turned out my truck (2000 Chev. Suburban) has two fuel pumps, one had failed a long time ago (who knew?) and the other just failed. With all the bells and whistles on this truck, never a warning about the fuel pumps.
                        There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                        • #13
                          What IS it with all these fuel pumps??? Are the refineries selling us substandard gasoline with the prices and shortages we've been having?


                          • #14
                            2DR !! gr8 story.

                            I had a friend hauling her two kids to the state fair and she had a truck breakdown on the way there. She CALLED ME. I had to unload all of our crap (for my kids trip on their day at the fair) so I could get all of her crap into our rig - then I had to go gas up, then find her on the side of the road out on the highway and load up her horses in the total dark with flashlights, using the ditch for access, while all the big truck traffic was whoosing by. We pulled in after midnight and slept on the truck seats that night. I did it for the kids. The younger daughter won Grand Champion English Pony Halter! We ALL stood in that photo!!

                            And hey, I had a fan belt break and I cooked a truck engine once. The kid who hauled me in to the nearest station could tell I was getting an earful on the phone when I had to call my husband. He took the phone and said 'hey mister, you should be glad that no one got hurt and that your wife (and horse) are fine. (he said) You should see it when I have to go to the scene of a REAL accident."

                            MY husband showed up with two vehicles, and a friend driving the second one, to tow the truck and the trailer back home. He never said another word to me about it and I silently signed over my paychecks for the new truck engine. I learned a very valuable lesson -- if only money can fix our mistakes, then we are lucky.
                            Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.