Severe Weather Travel Tips for Horse Owners

The severe weather season is upon us, and as horse owners, we need to be prepared for any meteorological situation when hauling horses. USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians, spoke with large-animal rescue authority Rebecca Gimenez, PhD, about what to do when traveling in bad weather situations.

Gimenez, who is the president and a primary instructor for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, said, "Bad weather should not be a surprise."

She added, "With cell phones, GPS [units], and other conveniences of the modern world, you should ensure that you have access to a reliable weather app. Pick one that works for you - make sure it has moving radar and prediction capabilities. Have your navigator/alternate driver check it regularly on your route. And purchase a weather radio or a CB with a weather channel you can monitor."

Another tip is to drive extra cautiously. Even in light snow or rain, slow down to a safer speed and allow greater following distance in front of your rig. Drive defensively, turn on your hazard lights, and, if the precipitation or wind gets too high that you cannot see, pull way off the road or preferably at a parking lot and wait it out.

Gimenez cautions, "No matter what you may have heard, never attempt to shelter under an overpass from a tornado, nor park your rig under a flimsy gas station overhang. Instead, plan a route that will take you out of harm's way--left or right--of the approaching storm and attempt to find shelter for yourselves in a solid building."

She adds that in a real weather emergency, the horses will have to be left to nature's will inside the trailer: "They are safer there--protected from rain, hail, snow, wind, and flying debris. Never let animals loose on any highway--that actually increases the chances of them being injured, versus being inside their steel or aluminum protective envelope."

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