It's always amazed me that so many horses happily hop into trailers. Most days, after sharing the road with non-horse people, I'm relieved when we make it to our destination in one piece.
My most valued possession is inside the trailer behind my pickup. He stepped into that rolling steel box because I asked him to and he trusts me. He’s a living, breathing creature, and all 1,200 pounds of him are precariously balanced on four tiny hooves as my truck and trailer wind down the road.
My horse is not a boat or camp trailer, and I cannot stop quickly or turn sharply without risking his safely and even his life.
Know that I will do just about anything to avoid hitting the breaks with a horse in my trailer. However, if your Suburban is hidden in the blind spot behind my two-horse trailer and I do have to stop suddenly, you’re too close to stop without ending up in the trailer with my horse.
When I make those wide turns, I need them to prevent my horse from scrambling. Please give me room and time to turn.
And that large distance between my rig and the car in front of me? It might look like enough room to fit three sedans bumper to bumper, but it’s actually the distance I need to stop softly and safely without my horse falling.
Those times when we’re headed up a mountain pass, my speed is as fast as I can go. My foot has the accelerator pressed to the floor, and no matter how hard you try, your Honda can’t push us up this hill. I promise I’ll move to the right lane when it becomes available or pull over if I find a safe spot on the shoulder, but until then I ask for your patience and some space.
You should know I started driving a truck and horse trailer while still on a learner’s permit. Years of experience means I can back a rig around a tight corner uphill or down a U.S. Forest Service road for miles in a pinch. And, if you need someone to hook up your flatbed in one try or drive the UHaul when you move, I’m your gal. But if you park me in with only feet to spare at a breakfast restaurant during summer I’m stuck until you move, and my horse is really hot inside his metal box.
Lastly, my rig weighs 3 tons, and that much weight prevents me from swerving. When you pass me going 65 mph uphill on a blind corner, you don’t just put my horse at risk: Your driving threatens the lives of the oncoming driver, my passenger, me, you, and everyone in the cars behind us.
So next time you see a horse trailer, assume an animal in there. Please give the rig some space and offer some patience. By driving safely, we’ll all get where we’re going.
Michelle, Marathon, and Jack
What would you like other drivers that share the road with your rig to know about hauling horses? Have you ever had any close calls on the road?