The Long Drive Home: Trainers Share Advice for Preventing a Trailer Accident
On October 27, 2019, trainers LaRae Powell and her son, Skylar, each hauling six horses, left Tulsa after the U.S. Nationals bound for home in Washington state. The first day was a relatively short haul to Grand Island, Nebraska.
But the next day turned into one of the longest days of their lives when Skylar’s rig flipped on black ice near Wheatland, Wyoming, causing a trailer accident. Among the precious cargo was multi-National Champion Western Pleasure stallion RD Habanero.
Once they were all safe at home, we talked with Skylar and LaRae about the trailer accident, and learned how these capable and pragmatic horse people went about handling the crisis, keeping calm in an unimaginable situation. Yes, there was luck, too, or as LaRae believes, a bit of divine intervention as well.
Related: Surviving Paradise
Listen to Cindy Reich’s conversation with LaRae and Skylar Powell.
Words of advice from Skylar and LaRae on preventing a trailer accident
- Always check your vehicle before leaving the farm; especially tire condition and pressure. You are more likely to have a wreck from a blown tire than from bad weather.
- When traveling in a convoy, make sure each trailer has hay, feed, and buckets for the horses within. For example, don’t have all the hay in one trailer.
- Don’t hook horses up in the trailer with chains. Use rope or rubber or something that can be easily cut through in case of emergency.
- Have a medical kit for horses and humans easily accessible in case of emergency in each rig.
- Have your veterinarian teach you how to sedate a horse, how to put on a pressure wrap, and other basic emergency first aid.
- If you have a trailer accident and the trailer is not functional, have someone who can call ahead and arrange towing, locate a veterinary facility, nearby fairgrounds, hotel, feed store, etc.
- Keep a few extra lead ropes, halters and buckets on each trailer. Blankets, too, if the weather is cold.
- If weather conditions are icy, consider waiting for the sun to rise or wait for better conditions before getting on the road.