What is a summer without a little roadside trouble…? Recently on a trip back from Red Deer, Alberta, with horses in tow, we had a friend call us reporting that she had experienced a freak flat tire while headed south on the QE2. Luckily, no one was hurt as a result but with so much traffic on the road that day and scorching temperatures, it was imperative to find help in a timely fashion. So, our friend Kerri, called us and as we hadn’t yet left Red Deer, we were in a position to stop and transfer her horse into our trailer and bring her home safely while she dealt with her flat tire.
Problem was, the highway was incredibly dangerous that day and there was no way the horse could be unloaded and reloaded again safely. The RCMP were called but several hours later, they still hadn’t shown up to assist. And meanwhile, the cars kept zipping past.
To make matters even scarier for all of us, between Kerri and ourselves – we had four vehicles traveling in tandem together, four horses and three babies with us – all pulled over on the side of the road.
Luckily Kerri had a membership with Equi-Pass, which she called immediately. In turn, Equi-Pass got someone on the line almost instantly and a mechanic met us on the road within an hour and half of the blow-out. And it may sound cliche, but Chad from Chad’s Off-Road Recovery & Roadside Assistance absolutely saved the day! (His business card actually says he is an automotive superhero and he really is!!)
As the cars continued whipping past us – with very few pulling over to the far lane or slowing down – Chad set to work changing the tire and banging the wheel wells back to a normal shape with a sledge hammer. Interestingly enough, Chad also had a baby with him – which brought the child-under-the-age-of-two count on the side of the highway to four.
Throughout this time, Kerri did what she could to keep her horse cool inside the trailer by placing wet blankets on the mare’s back and offering her water from a bucket. Thankfully, her horse Candy never seemed too bothered by the whole ordeal.
Finally, when Chad had Kerri’s trailers fixed up as best as possible we decided to move off to a road-side turn out and offload Candy into our trailer, as opposed to doing it on the side of the busy highway. Seeing as the RCMP were too busy with other accidents on that day (some, we learned later were fatalities), we figured this was the safest option for reloading the horse. Kerri’s trailer tire was fixed, but it was still “iffy” for a trip over 200 kms long.
We all breathed a big sigh of relief when our caravan was able to move off the side of the busy highway. And I’m happy to report, Candy, nor the babies, were too upset by it all. (In fact, most of the babies slept the entire time the tire was changed).
As there are still a fair amount of summer shows to take place this month, please be careful driving out there. And for goodness sake – if you see someone pulled over to the side of the road with a flat – MOVE OVER! Of course, this is only if it is safe to do so. All of us poor folk in the shoulder will thank you!!
And if you’re looking for a great emergency preparedness checklist for hauling horses, here ya go! Happy hauling!
Trailer Safety Kit
Keep the following items in an emergency kit in the trailer or tow vehicle:
1. Complete equine emergency kit
2. Extra halters and lead shanks
3. Sharp knife
4. Wire cutters
5. 100 ft of 1/2″ rope
6. small tool kit or ‘leatherman’ tool, including wire cutter, knife, tweezers, etc.
7. jumper cables
8. two flashlights with extra batteries
9. roll duct tape
11. cell phone
12. phone number directory with numbers for your veterinarian and border crossing veterinarian (Or Equi-Pass!)
13. trailer jack
14. spare tire
15. spare wheel bearing