White Knuckles, Why Not? Learning to Drive a Horse Trailer

Driving a car is one thing, but driving a horse trailer, loaded with precious animals, is on a completely different level. It’s terrifying, and feels much, much different than driving a car. You have to be more aware, and prepared, in order to make stops and stay away from annoying drivers. Even though it’s a stressful task, it’s one that many equestrians are bound to have to learn.

After growing up driving trucks and trailers around the farm, I was ready to hit the road with a trailer, and a horse. As we were heading back from one of our many horse adventures, my mom asked if I wanted to give it a go.

“Sure, why not?” I responded, unknowing of the white-knuckled situation I just got myself into.

As I sat down in front of the wheel, I was feeling confident. My mom was right next to me, and my trusty steed, Putt, was happily hanging out in the trailer. I switched into drive and pulled out onto the road. I then realized just how terrifying it was. I didn’t want to mess up!!

Smiling? Or grimacing?

Smiling? Or grimacing?

My first trailer driving experience was sink or swim. Without remembering, my mom put me in charge at the hardest part of the drive. We were on back roads, with many, many curves, driving right on the edge of a cliff where the pavement had started to break away.

... Don't look down...

Don’t look down …

If that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, we came to a one-way underpass bridge where I couldn’t see oncoming traffic. Good way to learn, huh?

OK, Mom.

OK, Mom.

Luckily, I was able to safely maneuver my way through that obstacle course, and the rest of the drive went well. I don’t think I went over 30 mph, but one step at a time, right?

If you’re getting ready to go out on a trailer adventure, make sure to check everything on your trailer and car to make sure you have the safest trip possible. If you’re going on your first trailer adventure, I would recommend driving somewhere easy first, not on a twisty-turny, narrow cliff road!

Safe travels!

About Gillian: I’m a 17-year-old eventer and show jumper. I compete at Training Level and in the High Children’s Jumpers. I am a HB/B USPC member. I have two horses: Erin and Putt. Erin is my dressage mount, a 17-year-old QH mare. Putt is my new eventing partner, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding.