Tag Archives: Transportation safety

Returning to Basics – Safety Begins Before the Key is turned

Whether you have hauled animals for years or are new to hauling it pays to keep the basics in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re hauling cattle to the next state, horses to a show, pigs to market or sheep and goats to sales these basics can help save money, time and animals.

This can boil down to 7 check points and 5 considerations which, if done every time you slide into the rig, can reduce the problems and increase the safety.

Check lights: Make sure headlights, tail lights, turn signals, running lights and brake lights are working. This might be as simple as a loose connection or a blown light but checking these things, and repairing if needed as soon as possible, makes for a safer time on the road.

Check brakes: Make sure brakes and emergency brakes are in working order every time. With a load behind you pushing the brakes are critical. Don’t risk your safety or that of the load by neglecting the brakes.

Check hitch, chains: This can take just a moment but it’s not unheard of for a hitch to come loose, with disastrous results. If you have stopped for fuel or a meal or even just for a short break always check before you take off.

Check door: This seems obvious but having seen a livestock trailer with horses inside and the sliding door open perhaps it’s not! Again – any time you stop gives activists or pranksters a chance to release the latch on the door. Make sure it’s secured every time.

Check tires: Check tires regularly for wear and for damage. Sometimes a bad tire with pieces missing or damage to it can be replaced before it leaves you stranded along the highway with a loaded trailer.

Check animals: This is easier with a handful of animals than a semi-trailer, but take a peek at the animals. If there are injuries give the receiving end warning or deal with the situation there, depending on the situation. Make sure the animals are comfortable as much as can be during transport.

Check attitude: We cannot change other drivers but can change how we approach it. We don’t know who or what that other driver is. It may be a tired single mom heading home after working 12 hours but it might also be someone who is reckless and has less regard for you than the animals you’re hauling. Use safety precautions, be rested and alert and remember that your load is alive and shifts much differently than ‘dead weight’ tied down.

Consider weather: Snowy, sunny (especially driving into the sun), hot and cold can all make a difference not only in the road conditions but the comfort and safety of the animals aboard.

Consider temperature: Very hot or very cold temperatures can affect the animals on board. In hot weather don’t rely on moving in order to maintain a safe temperature for the animals you have on. Pigs, for example, cannot tolerate heat and often are hauled at night for this reason.

Consider distance: While there are many safety issues the same whether you’re driving 100 miles or 1000 there are generally longer days with longer trips. Consider whether at any point you will need to unload animals to rest and drink and where that would best be done.

Consider animals: Keeping the animals safe in transport is important for them to arrive in good condition. With horses use extra care in hauling stallions especially if mares are also on board. With fuel and transportation costs there sometimes can be a conflict between getting as many as possible on board with not overcrowding or endangering the animals on board. Animals that are pressed in so tightly they can’t stand normally often mean the possibility of animals falling and getting trampled.

Consider documentation: Have a dashboard camera, a good digital camera and accurate records that are kept up to date. Keep equipment maintained and document it. Keep documentation of how many shipped, how many arrived safely and other factors that establishes a good record as well as pointing out in what areas you need to improve.

These things take but a couple minutes to do but can save you time and money. Be safe!

Keeping Horses Safe Before, During and After Returning Home from a Trip

As the summer months approach, many horse owners will be hitting the road for some type of equine related activity.  There are several things that owners can do to ensure that their horses remain safe during all aspects of the journey.

One of the most important things that horse owners can do to ensure that their horse remains healthy is to keep them current on all vaccinations and keep them on a regular de-worming program.  It is very important to give vaccines early enough so that they will be able to induce the proper immune response before the trip.  Giving a vaccine just a few days before the journey will not give the vaccine enough time to properly work on the immune system and the horse will still be susceptible to the disease that the vaccine is designed to prevent.

During the trip, it is important to make sure that the horse is comfortable inside the trailer.  Most horse owners will bed the trailer with shavings and give their horse a good supply of hay to eat on the journey.  It is also important to offer the horse water frequently during the trip.

Once you have arrived at the final destination, it is important to carefully inspect the stall or pen in which the horse will be kept.  It is important to look for loose metal, nails and other materials that could possibly harm the horse.  If possible, it is a good idea to sweep the stall and remove any feces that may be on the ground or stuck to the stall panels.  This will keep the horse safe and hopefully prevent the horse from contracting any illnesses that the previous horse might have had.  It is also important to use your own buckets and feed so prevent the spreading of illnesses and to make the horse feel more comfortable.

After returning home from the journey, it is important to keep the horse separated from any other horses on the property for a few days, ideally two weeks.  This will prevent the horses that live on the property from contracting any diseases or illnesses that the traveling horse may have carried home.  It is also a good idea to take the traveling horses temperature twice a day to determine if they are becoming ill because fever is often the first sign of an illness.