What do I need to pack in my trailer in case there's a malfunction on the road?
Most of us, at some point, need to put our horses on a trailer. For shows, for trips to the horse clinic, for moving barns, for emergencies. Most of us will never have a problem while on the road, knock wood, but stuff can happen.
I was recently at a horse show, and low and behold I found myself knee deep in a tricky situation that required quick thinking, some major muscles, and several back up plans. Luckily, we had all of the tools we needed, and enough brains between all of us to figure out what to do.
The trailer was being unhooked from the truck, the wood blocks adjacent to the wheels were in place, and the block was placed under the trailer tongue. Smooth sailing so far. The trailer was being raised to release it from the truck, which was a piece of cake. But.... and the trailer starts to roll forward and tip the block of wood under the trailer tongue. Things are going to get bad in a hurry!
Make sure the hitch and the tongue are secure on a block or specially made disc for trailer hitches. Soft ground and gravity can sometimes get you in trouble!
The seemingly solid, and relatively level, ground was shifting under us. The trailer wheels popped the wheel blocks forward and the trailer tongue was tipping it’s block down and under as the trailer was aimed forward into the back of the truck.
No worries, just hold the trailer with your body weight. (Lucky for us, it is a light, two horse trailer that's empty, and we do have some grip from the ground). Don’t panic. And get a plan together. And for Pete's sake don't do what we did.
Just about this time (between NOT panicking and getting a plan together)….. Help arrives. Another vehicle and trailer pulls in, and the driver jumps out to offer a hand. And it happens to be Olympian Steffen Peters. #OMGOODNESS
Without even blinking, Steffen wedges himself between the trailer and truck so that we can get more wheel chocks in place.
Now we decide the best thing to do it try and get the truck hitched up again, so we can hopefully save the jack mechanism on the trailer tongue. We did it. (PHEW!)
Here’s Steffen helping out here, too! #STILLOMGOODNESS
In a nutshell, if you can’t have your very own Steffen on call when you trailer, here are some great reminders of things that you need in your trailer in case of emergencies:
- Proper wheel chocks. Use them. Pieces of wood and rocks won’t do.
- An emergency bottle jack. This can lift your trailer tongue if needed.
- Tire changing tools. The lug nuts on your trailer tires may be different than those on your truck. Be sure to have the right size and keep them in your trailer.
- Spare tire. Make sure it’s in proper working order!
- A tire changing block. These are designed for you to drive your trailer’s good wheel onto so the tire that is flat can be changed without the need for a jack. (But you still need a jack!)
A roadside assistance plan! There are plans that you can purchase to help you with emergencies while on the road. You can get a nifty bonus on US Rider if you like!
All in all, a potentially horrible situation with a celebrity helping hand and a great reminder to have the tools to help you get out of a sticky situation. What has saved you from a tricky trailer situation?