Have Horse, Will Travel—Out on the Trail With Your Horse

Road Trip Triage

These troubleshooting tips will help prepare you for on-the-road emergencies and ensure safe travels for you and your Paint Horse.

By Allison Armstrong Rehnborg

Nothing strikes fear into a driver’s heart quite like the ding of the checkengine light or the unmistakable thump of a tire blowout. Add a trailer towing your beloved horse into the mix, and your stress-free trip goes right out the window. But with a little preparation and know-how, you and your Paint can be back on the road in no time. After all, adventure awaits!

Regular maintenance of your truck and trailer can prevent a lot of common roadside mishaps, but even brand-new rigs aren’t immune to mechanical problems. Courtney LeMaster, member satisfaction manager for USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, says the horse-centered emergency roadside assistance company handles about 10,000 incidents annually—equating to about 200 incidents each week.

“The most common call we receive is for horse trailer tire blowouts,” Courtney said. “The second most common call is for truck breakdowns when drivers have a trailer full of horses on the side of the road.”

To prevent your next road trip with your horses from grinding to a disappointing halt, follow these troubleshooting tips for flat tires, truck troubles and other unexpected roadside emergencies.

Fixing Flats

Your trailer’s tires require regular maintenance, just like the ones on your truck. Keep tabs on trailer tires’ age, condition and mileage, including your spare, and replace them as needed.  

“Most people’s trailer tires are typically the same age,” Courtney said. “After one goes out and you have to replace it with your spare, you could have a second tire blowout down the road—then you’re left without a second spare, so what do you do? Two blown tires within 50 miles of each other is actually fairly common.”

This scenario was precisely what APHA member Sharon Ohler hoped to avoid as she drove from her home in Versailles, Kentucky, to a horse show in Tunica, Mississippi. An experienced hauler, Sharon planned to tackle the eight-hour drive alone, hauling two horses in a 34-foot trailer. The day before she left, Sharon decided it would be smart to purchase a USRider membership.

When I haul a lot of miles, the most frequent roadside mishap I’ve experienced is tire blowouts,” Sharon said. “Despite your best efforts, things still happen. I’ve been that person stranded on the interstate with horses, waiting for help.”


This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Winter 2019 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.


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