The old Boy Scout motto of “be prepared” is good to remember when it comes to taking a trip with your horse trailer. Whether you are going for a short haul to trail ride with friends or a long haul across the country for a competition, having certain items in your trailer can make a difference between having an easy or difficult trip.
First, think about your vehicle. You’ll want to have a spare tire, tire iron and a jack. A trailer tire “ramp” that you can drive up on to change a tire makes thing easier and safer than the basic car jack. Jumper cables are a wise idea; you never know when you might forget and leave those lights on overnight.
Keep a flashlight and a fire extinguisher in either your truck or trailer and make sure they are easy to find. Always carry an extra halter and lead rope behind the seat of your truck, as it can certainly come in handy.
A shovel or manure fork is an essential tool for regularly cleaning the trailer, be sure to bring one along. There’s a good chance you will find other uses for this tool, as well.
Plan to have a first-aid kit for both you and your horse. The human first-aid kit should contain things like your favorite analgesic (i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.), band aids and tweezers at the minimum. You can buy a pre-made first aid kit or build your own.
The same goes for the equine first-aid kit. They can be purchased already made, or you can build your own using a plastic container. Make sure you have Bute paste, injectable banamine (and needles and a syringe), adhesive wrap, gauze and cotton wraps, a thermometer, scissors and bandage scissors. Go through the medicine in your vet box semi-annually to ensure medicines have not expired. Here is a checklist to keep in mind when building your own first aid kit for human and horse.
Obviously you will pack brushes and combs, as well as a hoof pick. It’s also a good idea to have shoe pullers in case a shoe gets loose and starts to twist.
If you’re on a short trip, carrying water is not so important, but for a long trip, it’s wise to get a tank that can store at least 35 gallons of water in case you find yourself stopping at an area without water, and, of course, you will need a couple of buckets. Having a sack of hay cubes is a smart option, in case plans for hay at one of your stops falls through.
If you’re hauling in the winter have a horse blanket stowed away in case the temperature drops. Of course, whether a blanket is needed will depend on the type of trailer you have (closed or open), if your horse has been clipped, etc.
As for your own comfort, a rain coat/slicker and warm, waterproof boots in the trailer tack room come in handy for those surprise storms. Also, an extra set of riding gloves and a spare pair of warm, winter gloves is a wise idea. Before you roll down the road, toss in a container of disinfectant hand wipes and a big roll of Duct tape.