Spring is bound to arrive, and with the summer months comes travel to the events we look forward to all year. Horse shows, rodeos, trail rides, clinics and other equine adventures often require travel – but are you prepared? Annual professional maintenance for both truck and trailer are the first place to start, but there are other things you should be thinking about
Are your vehicles properly licensed for pulling trailers? Do you have the proper Driver’s License? SGI requires a Class 1 or a Heavy Trailer G endorsement on your license to pull more than 4600kg. If you are pulling a four horse gooseneck with four light horses, you may be over the limit. Check https://www.sgi.sk.ca/towingguidelines to ensure you are meeting the requirements.
People are also often surprised to discover that the vehicle they use to tow is not rated for the weight of both their trailer and horses. Rating information can be found in your vehicle’s manual. Remember that when pulling horses, a load that shifts and moves, it is advisable to be well under your vehicle’s limit.
At the recent SHF AGM, Dr. Jennifer Woods gave an excellent presentation on horse safety. She stated that if you are broken down on the side of the road, you should leave your horses in the trailer, if at all possible. She said that many horses once out of the trailer in unfamiliar surroundings manage to break free and run into traffic.
Dr. Woods also highlighted the importance of proper identification for your horses. In recent fire and flood evacuations in Western Canada, horses were often evacuated without the owner being present. When owners arrived, they had no way to prove ownership. Take a picture of your horses if they are not branded, without tack, identifying distinguishing marks such as scars, white hairs or anything else that makes your horse stand out.
Other issues to consider:
You are automatically covered by your SHF membership for Transportation Insurance for Non-Owned Horses, which protects against a lawsuit for the death of someone’s horse while you are transporting that horse up to a maximum amount. Additional insurance through SHF is also available for other travel concerns. Be sure to review your policies and determine whether additional insurance is required given your unique circumstances.
We have made it through another long Saskatchewan winter. With a little forethought and preparation, we will all be ready to enjoy a safe and fun summer of horse adventures!
Article by Norm Kohle, Chairman of SHF Recreation Board