Camping solo is fun, but with your horses it can be a blast. You just need to make sure you've covered everything regarding horse and trailer safety. Whether you're heading to a private spot to rough it in the wilderness or you've discovered the best park to take your equine companions, here are four steps to keeping your horses safe and protecting your trailer at the campground.
Find a Camping Spot
If you're camping in a horse-friendly park, don't assume that just any camping spot will do. You may have to invest a little bit of time, but it will be worth it in the end. After all, choosing an ideal parking spot for your horse trailer is essential for getting off on the right foot. Pick an area that's on level ground, paying particular attention to any potential hazards like trees, limbs, rocks, steep banks, and other things that could trip them up as they come off the trailer.
While shade is nice to have, especially during the summer, be sure to avoid the low-hanging limbs. When leaves get wet, they can leave stains on your trailer.
Unhitch Your Trailer
At some point, you will probably want to unhitch your trailer from the truck so you can go out and about. Even if you don't plan to go anywhere, it's not a bad idea to get it unhitched just in case something comes up last minute.
If you use a gooseneck trailer, you've got some advantages as they are pretty stable due to their weight distribution. Therefore, you can safely unhitch this kind of trailer while the horses are still on board.
If, however, you have a bumper-pull trailer, whether you can safely unload your horses after unhitching will depend on the axles and the empty tongue weight. For example, suppose you have an empty tongue weight of 600 lbs. If your horse weighs 1,000 lbs, the trailer will see-saw as the horse walks off. To be on the safe side, you should unload your horses before removing a bumper-pull trailer from your truck.
Secure Your Horses
You want your horses to be comfortable and safe on your camping trip. So securing them is definitely a top priority once you get them off the trailer. Tying them directly to the trailer is one option, but it's not a good one, and there are several reasons why.
First of all, remember you're in a strange place. And even if your horses are on the calm side, they still have a tendency to pull away when they get spooked. Also, most horses can tell when they're on a short lead and their movements are restricted. This poses risks to them as well as to your trailer. Secondly, some horse owners think that using a bungee cord is a safe option, but if it comes loose, it could spring back and cause serious injury.
A better option would be planning ahead and staying somewhere that can accommodate a portable corral, an electric fence, or a high line where your horse has a little more freedom to wander between trees or poles.
A final option involves connecting them to a tie-arm that's mounted to your trailer. Unlike securing your horse directly to the trailer, this is a safer alternative because it allows the horse to have more room to walk about, lie down, and graze. And if they get spooked and jerk the harness, they're not pulling directly on the trailer, but rather the tie-arm.
Chock the Trailer
Do not rely on pieces of wood or rocks since they're not guaranteed to be stable or strong enough to hold the trailer in place. Instead, use wheel chocks to keep your trailer from rolling once it's unhitched from your truck. Their wedge shape and contoured design functions specifically to prevent the wheels from turning.
To learn more, contact companies that provide horse or dump trailers.