October 17, 2012
USRider offers bad-weather tips for traveling with your horses.
When severe weather season strikes, we’re reminded to DUCK:
- D – Go DOWN to the lowest level.
- U – Get UNDER something.
- C – COVER your head.
- K – KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed.
But how do you DUCK if you’re on the road and threatened by bad weather, including hail, heavy rain, thunderstorms and tornadoes? Getting to safety could be particularly tricky when you’re on the road hauling your horses.
USRider, AQHA’s official provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians, spoke with large-animal rescue expert Rebecca Gimenez, Ph.D., about what to do when traveling in bad-weather situations.
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Rebecca, who is the past president and a primary instructor for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (www.tlaer.org), says, “Bad weather should not be a surprise.”
She adds, “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. 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 so high that you cannot see, pull way off the road or preferably at the next parking lot available and wait it out.
Rebecca 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 says in a real weather emergency, the horses will have to be left to nature’s will inside the trailer.
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“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.”
Through its Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider provides emergency road service to its members in the lower 48 states, as well as Alaska and Canada. Designed for those who travel with horses, USRider provides emergency roadside assistance and towing services, along with other travel-related benefits geared especially toward horse owners, such as towing up to 100 miles plus roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling and veterinary referrals.
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