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Trailer Ride Shares: Making Them Work for You
price of diesel continuing to climb, sharing a trailer
ride with friends is a convenient and even fun way to
make attending horse events more affordable. However,
when horses or people get hurt or trucks and trailers
are damaged, not only can it ruin a friendship, it can
also result in a lawsuit.
are sharing your rig or someone else's, there are the
People could be hurt or killed
(2) Horses could be hurt or killed
(3) The trailer and tow vehicle could be damaged
(4) Tack and equipment inside or around the
trailer could be damaged or loss
some tips for mitigating the above risks.
Your Insurance Coverage
typical auto insurance will provide coverage for damage
to your truck and the vehicle(s) you collide with, it
generally won't cover damage to your horse trailer or
its contents. So, if you're involved in an accident and
horses in your trailer are injured, your auto insurance
won't cover the vet bills, pay for trailer repairs, or
reimburse you for the loss of any tack or equipment.
major vet bills, the horse owner can take out equine
major medical insurance. To cover the death of a
valuable horse, the horse owner can take out mortality
insurance policy on the horse. To insure the trailer,
the trailer owner can take out a horse trailer insurance
policy or contact their current auto insurer for a
rider. Finally, for particularly expensive items of tack
or equipment, the owner may want to obtain a rider on
their homeowner's insurance policy to cover these
a Horse Hauling Liability Release
Liability releases serve two
important purposes - they discourage potential
plaintiffs from suing you in the first place, and if you
are sued, they help prevent a judgment from being
entered against you. Contrary to popular belief,
well-drafted liability releases and waivers are
enforceable, even in
plaintiff-friendly states such as California. Look for a
liability release written by an equine attorney and
drafted specifically for trailer ride sharing, such as
Equine Legal Solutions'
Equine Hauling Liability Release.
A thorough horse hauling liability release should hold
the hauler harmless for injury to or death of horses and
people and also specify that if the horse owner's horse
causes damage to the truck or trailer, the horse owner
will pay for it. While asking a friend to sign a legal
document before you share a ride may be awkward, it
won't be nearly as awkward as defending a lawsuit.
Practices for Hauling Safety
setting out, make sure that you and your ride share
partners are in sync on important safety issues, such
tow vehicle safely and comfortably haul the fully
loaded trailer over the planned route? Make sure
that the tow vehicle, its brakes and all components
of its hitch are rated to pull the combined weight
of trailer, gear and horses.
advance of the trip, check to make sure that trailer
light/brake hookup is compatible with the tow
vehicle. You may need to obtain an adapter or
install a different brake controller on the tow
of the horses have trailering issues, such as
scrambling or loading/unloading problems? If so,
develop a plan to make sure that these horses do not
injure themselves or other horses, and once they are
loaded, make sure that you can get to these horses
easily in the event of an en route emergency.
of the horses, people, and gear fit securely and
comfortably into the trailer and tow vehicle?
Coordinate in advance with your ride share partners
to make sure there's room for everything you want to
bring. Some items, such as wheelbarrows, can be
shared, freeing up space for hay and other bulky
items. To help your trip get off to a stress-free
start, allow ample time for loading and organizing
the trailer as well as last-minute bathroom visits.
sure that you have a spare tire for the truck and
trailer, and a tire iron that will fit the lugs on
both. Check the tire pressure in your truck and
trailer tires before setting out. In the event of a
flat tire on your trailer, you may find a drive-on
trailer ramp product such as Jiffy Jack to be
the above tips will spare you some inconvenience and
perhaps even avoid a major disaster. Happy Trails!