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5 Essentials for Horse Trailers: Safety, First Aid, & Tools

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If you’ve just bought a new horse trailer, then this article is for you.  From our years of hauling horses, we put together a comprehensive list of necessities and “must-haves” for horse trailers.

When traveling with your horse you should always have an emergency roadside kit, tire changing tools, water, and first aid kits for you and your horses. It’s also advisable to keep a few extra buckets, halters, and lead ropes.

When hauling horses, it’s necessary to prepare for the unexpected. I suggest you comprise a list to check before each trip with your horse trailer and include these essential items.

Roadside emergency kits are a must-have when traveling

Roadside emergency kits ensure you have some safety items on hand, in case your vehicle breaks down or you have a flat tire. When you’re choosing items for your emergency kit, expect that you’ll have to rely on these items to function according to their intended purpose. In other words, buy equipment that works.

Safety is paramount when pulling a horse trailer.

If you have to stop on the side of a busy road with your horse trailer for even a short period, an emergency roadside kit is invaluable. You don’t want to rely on inferior products.

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Roadside emergency kits range from essential to deluxe packages with supplies that are useless. Some are full of cheap gear that doesn’t work, and others don’t have the necessary critical items.

The best kit is one you put together yourself.

The best kit is likely one you put together yourself. Think about what items are important to you. For us the following items are must-haves in any emergency roadside kit when pulling a horse trailer:

  • Roadside Triangles: At least three roadside triangles. If you have to change a tire on the side of the road, these will provide visibility. Get the DOT approved ones. You can click here to check prices on Amazon.
  • Tow Strap: A tow strap can be used to pull you when stuck or used to disconnect your truck from the horse trailer. You can click here to check prices on Amazon.
  • Jumper Cables: Automobile batteries seem to go dead at the most inopportune times. Having a good pair of jumper cables handy can save the day. A good set of jumper cables should be at least ten feet long and have a thick rubber coating.   You can click here to check prices on Amazon.
  • Flashlight: A flashlight is critical when broke down at night but not useful if the batteries are dead, so also include an extra set of batteries. You can click here to check prices on Amazon.
  • Duct Tape: Duct tape is a problem solver. It uses are many, keep a roll in your kit, it’s usefulness will surprise you. You can click here to check prices on Amazon.
  • Knife: A multi-purpose knife or even a single blade pocket knife may come in handy to cut strap or rope.
  • Lighter: A sturdy lighter should be a staple in all emergency kits.

These are the vital items needed in your emergency kit. However, the great thing about putting your package together is you choose the brands and styles you like and can add or subtract items to fit your needs. The downside is the costs.

Some pre-packaged roadside kits are sufficient.

The following are some of the better roadside emergency kits for your horse trailer for people that don’t feel like shopping for each item:

  • STDY Auto Emergency Kit:  This unit comes with 57 pieces, which include the basics plus gloves, ponchos, and blankets. What I don’t like: It only has one emergency roadside triangle, the jumper cables are low quality, and it’s hard to get everything back in the bag. But the kit is reasonably priced at $32.00. Click here to check the most recent prices from Amazon.
  • 110 Piece Roadside Emergency Kit: This is a more comprehensive kit and includes a first aid kit with 64 pieces. The tow strap is more substantial in this kit, but the jumper cable is not good quality. It is also reasonable at $50.00. Click here to check the most recent prices from Amazon.
  • Premium Roadside Emergency Kit: This kit includes all the necessary items plus an air compressor, which is handy. Click here to check the most recent prices from Amazon.

Pre-packaged kits typically lack quality products

Roadside emergency kits are handy, compact, and economically priced. But the quality of the individual items, on the whole, is not as good as the items you buy individually.

I’ve done my research on these kits, but it’s prudent to check out Amazon customer reviews before you buy. Oftentimes customer reviews provide useful information and often address issues you may not have considered. Here are the links so you can read what other customers have to say:

Tire Changing Tools is a must-have when hauling

Be prepared to change a flat tire on your horse trailer. Because it’s not a question of if you’ll get a flat tire, it’s when. So be ready for that day. What you need:

  • Tire Iron or cordless impact wrench: Cordless impact wrenches are expensive, but considering the time and energy saved, they are worth the price. Check here for current rates from Amazon. Always make sure your tire iron fits your lugs, and if you go with the impact wrench, that you have the right sized socket to fit the lugs.
  • Drive-up blocks– With a drive-up block, you can lift the deflated tire off the ground tire without a jack. The block makes changing a tire quicker and safer than using standard jacks. The faster you off the side of a road, the better. Check here for current prices from Amazon.
  • Screwdriver: You may also need a unique tool or screwdriver to remove decorative lug covers. Before you leave your house with your trailer, make sure you have the necessary tools to get your lugs off.

Water is a must-have for all trips.

Horses dehydrate without water so you have to plan for the unexpected. We purchased a yearling at an auction, and on our way home, we had to cross the Atchafalaya basin bridge, which spans more than twenty miles.

About halfway across the bridge, we got stuck in traffic for seven hours with our new horse in tow. It was late August in south Louisiana, a sweltering day. If we hadn’t had water in the horse trailer, our horse could have dehydrated.

When looking for a container to store water, consider the number of horses you haul and available space. You want to carry enough water to fill a couple of buckets. If you need containers in a hurry, Walmart sells some quality water containers.

  • 10 Gallon Tank: This is a heavy-duty tank molded from a plastic material. Check here for current prices from Amazon.
  • 10 Gallon Tote: This is a handy model; it is designed to save space and has wheels that make it easy to move. Check here for current prices from Amazon.
  • 7 Gallon Container This is also made of sturdy plastic and is designed for secure storage. Check here for current rates from Amazon.

Keep an equine first aid kit in your trailer.

In an emergency, there are necessary first aid tools that are critical to have on hand to treat your horse: Click here for an excellent pre-packaged equine first aid kit.

Picture of Farnam wonder dust.,
  • Rectal thermometer– This is a quick reading, handy digital thermometer.
  • Vaseline– Keep a small jar of Vaseline to ease the insertion of the thermometer and as a salve for dry areas.
  • Stethoscope: For a stethoscope to be useful, you need to learn how it’s used and what to listen for. The stethoscope has two primary purposes, listen to a horse’s gut and check its heart rate. A resting pulse is generally between 32 and 40 bpm. The best area to place the stethoscope is in front of the girth area, just behind the elbow. When listening to the gut, you should hear low growling noise. If you don’t hear any noise, or if the sounds are high pitched, significantly slowed, or sound hollow, colic is likely, contact your veterinarian immediately. Practice with your stethoscope, so you are familiar with standard conditions.
  • Wound cleaner– Use this spray to wash out the wound treat superficial wounds.
  • Antibacterial spray: It can be used to clean and assists in killing bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
  • Wonder Dust: Wonder Dust is useful to stop the bleeding of horse wounds quickly. It is a powder and blood coagulant used on particular types of wounds.
  • Cotton or Gauze: Use clean, sterile material to cover the wound. Cotton or gauze is recommended.
  • Vet Wrap/Self stick bandages: After you have treated the wound and covered it appropriately with cotton or gauze, it needs to be secured with self-sticking bandages, vet wrap.
  • Bandage scissor: These scissors have blunted tips to avoid accidentally cutting your horse when removing bandages.
  • Tweezers– Tweezers are useful in pulling ticks and splinters. They have many uses and are a vital tool in a first aid kit.
  • Twitch– A horse twitch is a tool used to restrain a horse. The twitch is useful sometimes when caring for a wounded horse.
  • Cold Pack– Cooling the injured area is sometimes the best treatment. Ice or cold wraps improve tendon, joint, muscle, and other soft tissue injuries. By applying lower temperatures to the injured area, blood flow decreases and slows the metabolism of the surrounding tissue. Cold therapy reduces swelling, alleviates pain, and slows bleeding.
  • Salve–  is a good product for use on superficial wounds and treats proud flesh.

Keep a human first aid kit in your horse trailer

It is essential to keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in your horse trailer, so you’re prepared for emergencies. Having one in your horse trailer when you are traveling is critical. You may be injured riding, or hurt yourself while handling your horse.

You can purchase pre-packaged first aid kits or put one together yourself, with the items you think are essential to meet your specific needs. There are a lot of different first aid kits on the market.

The one we suggest is by Surviveware, it is a comprehensive first aid kit, housed in a durable waterproof bag, and it’s easy to store. Before you load your horse, have a first aid kit packed for the trip.

Most of the items you need you can get from your local pharmacy if you are a person who likes to shop online, I provided the links to Amazon for your convenience.

Essential items for your first aid kit:

  • Band-Aids and gauze pads for covering cuts and cleaning wounds
  • Safety pins and adhesive tape for securing bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment- Application can reduce the risk of infections
  • Antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream for skin inflammation and rashes
  • Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or other pain-relieving medication
  • Aloe Vera to treat mild burns
  • Vaseline
  • A digital thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Curved scissors—the medical kind that doesn’t have a pointy edge, and is used for cutting clothing away from an injury
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Saline solution for eye washing or cleaning wounds
Picture of a horse loading in a horse trailer,

You never know what can happen so be prepared while on the road

This section is the catch-all for separate items you should have when hauling your horse.

  • Reflective Caution Horse Sticker to apply on your trailer
  • Buckets– Extra buckets are always useful, it’s also advisable to keep some a supply of large sponges on hand as well.
  • Tool Set– You need a fundamental tool bag with a hammer, screwdrivers, and utility knife. Amazon sells a set that is easy to store and for a reasonable price. Click this link to check its current price.
  • Extra halters and lead ropes: There are three major categories of halters rope, web, and leather. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, but whichever kind you choose, make sure your halters fit your horse. Remember safety first. Knotty Girlz makes a quality rope style halter that can be purchased for about twenty dollars. You can click their link to check the current price. Don’t skimp and waste your money on a low-quality lead rope, and they don’t last. Weaver sells a lead rope for twelve dollars that have a non-rust snap hook, and it’s made of good material.
  • Tack box– Make sure you have brushes, hoof pick, curry, and sweat scraper. Amazon sells a sufficient all-in-one kit that is easy to store.
  • Broom, shovel, stall fork,- It always good to have these tools with you, because you never know when they’ll be needed.
  • Horsefly spray– You never know where you may encounter insects. It’s a good practice to keep horsefly spray in your horse trailer. Some effective home remedies can be made from easy to get items, such as vinegar, oils, and soap. If you would instead buy a commercial spray, Pyranha is a good choice.
  • Folder: Have a binder in your trailer with a copy of your horses’ papers, including its current negative Coggins test. Some horse shows require a Coggins before horses are allowed on the competition grounds.

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