Horse Trailering Checklist – Packing & Safety on the Road
Updated December 8, 2022
The old adage “better safe than sorry” applies to countless aspects of horsemanship, but perhaps none more so than trailering. To help your horse stay safe, and yourself stay sane, keep your trailer well- stocked and organized, so that you’ll be ready for anything.
Truck and Horse Trailer Checklist
- Have a complete service performed before the season and regular trailer maintenance checks throughout
- Check all fluid levels before each trip
- Check tires on truck and trailer (including a spare for each) for air pressure, overall condition and tightness of the lugs
- Check trailer floor (under the mats!) for signs of weakness or wear
- Hook up and check interior lights, exterior running lights, brake lights, turn signals, flashers and trailer brakes
- Check hitch, chains, and emergency breakaway system for signs of damage or wear
- Make sure you have proof of current truck and trailer registration and insurance
- Check the entire trailer for bee/wasp nests before each trip
- Tools and equipment to keep in your horse trailer:
- Jack, tire iron, wheel chocks, emergency triangles/flares, flashlight with spare batteries, duct tape, WD‐40, jumper cables, tool kit, spare belts and hoses, tow chain, replacement fuses, and portable air compressor
- If you have a monitoring system, hook it up and test it out before loading your horses
Trailering Checklist for Your Horse
Stay stress-free when traveling by making sure your horse has everything he will need and making sure that you’ll be able to find it all! If you’re traveling to an event and need to pack for yourself, check out our show day packing list.
- Make sure you have proof of current papers for all horses. This can include Coggins, health certificate, ID or brand card, registration, proof of vaccination, etc.
- Bring plenty of water to keep your horse hydrated and enough buckets for each horse. Extra buckets can be used for grain or cooling hot horses with a sponge bath.
- Extra hay to keep your horse happy and busy. Pack a couple of flakes into a durable, easy-to-fill hay net.
- Pack an extra halter, lead rope, and trailer tie for each horse
- Grooming kit – pack all your go-to brushes, hoof pick, and supplies to make your horse look his best once he’s arrived. A grooming tote or backpack that’s customized with your or your horse’s name will help you stay organized with everything in one place.
- Bathing supplies like sponges, sweat scrapers, and shampoo.
- Fly spray, insect repellent, and sunscreen as needed.
- Tack and equipment – don’t forget to pack your bridle or headstall, bits, saddle, and girth or cinch.
- Therapy products for before or after you ride, such as a ceramic sheet, ice boots, liniment, etc.
- Show and extra saddle pads for schooling
- Shipping boots (if your horse is comfortable in them), riding boots or leg wraps
- Equine first aid kit – a necessity no matter how short your trip may be.
- Blankets and sheets for your horse (and yourself) if you’re traveling through different climates or expect temperature changes in the forecast.
- Pro-tip: Consider purchasing an outdoor thermometer to track the temp in the trailer and help you determine when your horses will need blankets put on or taken off. The temperature inside the trailer can be significantly different than what your phone’s weather app says.
Travel Checklist for Your Stall
If you’re traveling for an overnight show or event where you’ll be setting up your horse in a stall, also add these items to your packing list:
- Slow feed hay bag
- Saddle stand or rack
- Leather and tack cleaning supplies
- Stall guard
- Cross ties
- Hardware like screw-eyes, double-ended snaps, and hooks
- Muck bucket or wheelbarrow and pitchfork
- Stall front gear or blanket bag to stay organized
- Your horse’s SmartPaks - pre-measured and easy to pack to guarantee he gets the right supplements in the right amounts throughout your travels.
In Case of Emergency
You never know what’s going to happen on the road, so it’s a smart idea to have a well-stocked emergency kit that has you covered should an emergency arise – whether it has to do with your vehicle, your horse, or yourself (or all three!). Some items you may want to keep in your kit include:
- Fire extinguisher
- Water and snacks
- Cell phone charger
- Extra cash or credit card
- Emergency phone numbers, including contacts of veterinarians along your travel route and in the area you’re traveling to
- Printed maps in case you lose service
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Emergency triangles/flares in case your truck or trailer breaks down
- Fully stocked first aid kit for your horse, and one for yourself, too!
- Spare halter and lead rope for each horse in the trailer – write the horse’s name and a contact phone number in sharpie on its side.
- Knife for cutting ropes, etc.
Stay safe and enjoy taking adventures with your horse off property!
Originally published June 6, 2012