Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gooseneck Vs. Bumper Pull Horse Trailer - Which Should You Buy?

Gooseneck vs. Bumper-Pull Horse Trailer – Which Should You Buy?

If you’re on the market for a Horse Trailer, you may be wondering which type would be better to buy, a gooseneck or a bumper-pull Horse Trailer, also known as a tag-along.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Sorting these out may help you make the right buying decision, so you’ll end up with a Horse Trailer that suits your needs.

Here are some advantages to buying/owning a bumper-pull horse trailer.

• Less expensive to purchase than gooseneck trailers.
• Tow vehicle flexibility; not every bumper-pull trailer requires a truck to tow it.
• Because bumper-pull horse trailers are more common, if you need a vehicle to pull it, for example, yours breaks down, it’s easier to find a vehicle to borrow.
• Turning corners is easier with a bumper-pull since the trailer follows the path of the tow vehicle.
• Less storage space is required for bumper-pulls.
• Towing a bumper-pull horse trailer is less intimidating, especially if you’re new to hauling.

And some disadvantages to bumper-pull horse trailers.

• If you’re hauling two or more horses, stability may be a problem, especially if you’re towing with a vehicle not properly rated for pulling the weight.
• Bumper-pulls typically don’t have as much room for living quarters.
• People are more likely to use improper hitches or less than adequate tow vehicles when pulling a bumper-pull horse trailer.

Now, here are some advantages to hauling with a gooseneck horse trailer.

gooseneck horse trailers offer more stability by placing the weight of the trailer over the truck axle.
• Goosenecks offer a tighter turning radius because the trailer turns as the tow vehicle turns. Useful when maneuvering in tight places.
gooseneck horse trailers offer more room for living quarters.
• If you typically haul two horses or more, gooseneck trailers provide better stability.

But, goosenecks have disadvantages, too.

• The tighter turning radius offered makes it easy to cut corners too sharply, thus hitting curbs, mailboxes, etc. Requires practice to get the hang of towing one.
• Hitching up a gooseneck requires that you climb in and out of the truck bed.
• Goosenecks are usually more expensive to purchase because they’re larger.
• Because the combined weight of the trailer and tow vehicle is usually greater than 10,001 pounds, licensing is more complicated since you must declare the trailer as “commercial.”

As you shop for your new or used horse trailer, consider the points just mentioned so you’ll end up with a horse trailer that’s just right for you and your horse.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fire Safety in the Barn, Part II

Fire Safety in the Barn, Part II

When fire ignites in a barn, it spreads rapidly and doubles in intensity every 30 seconds. For this reason, having a pre-determined escape plan can save you precious time and you’ll know what to do and where to go should a blaze break out.

Make your staff and regular boarders aware of the barn’s emergency exit plan. Post it at all entryways into the barn. Hold a fire drill twice a year. Blindfold the horses and practice leading them. Post the address of the farm close to a phone or in a prominent place so there won’t be any confusion when making a 911 call. It’s also a good idea to post a site plan, which diagrams the layout of the facility. Display at all entrances so emergency personnel can use it to find their way around the property.

Your escape plan should be simple:

• Call 911 if you see smoke or fire.
• Evacuate all horses and people from the area.
• Meet in a predetermined location.

Every barn should have two separate entrances which gives two means for escape. This way, you’ll have an alternative in case fire blocks one of the doors.

Once you’ve made it outside, go immediately to the assigned “safe” place. Congregating in one spot allows you to do a quick headcount to confirm everyone escaped. Plus, you can contain the horses so firefighters won’t have to contend with them frantically running about, adding to the chaos.

Contact your local fire department and invite them to your farm. A “non-emergency” visit allows firefighters to view your property and become familiar with the location of water sources, available space for emergency vehicles, etc. Use this visit to show the firemen how to lead the horses. Likewise, the horses get to see rescue personnel in full gear.

Whether you’re a small or large farm owner, never take fire prevention and preparedness lightly.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fire Safety for the Barn, Part I

Fire Safety for the Barn, Part I

Tragically, most barn fires occur because of negligence or careless behavior. Since much of the material stored in barns is highly combustible, it doesn’t take much for a fire to ignite.

To prevent the unthinkable from happening, it makes sense to fire-proof your barn. By implementing the following suggestions, you can drastically decrease the risk of fire.

Never allow smoking in a barn or in buildings close by. Likewise, areas adjacent to these buildings as well as turnout areas should be off limits too. Hay, grain, and dust are quite flammable and easy to ignite. A discarded cigarette could quickly set fire to any of these.

Install early-detection systems such as smoke detectors or fire alarms and wire them directly to your local fire department. Heat detectors are a good choice too, since they can be set to go off at a specific temperature.

Sprinkler systems can detect and put out a fire in its early stages. If you think the price is prohibitive, consider the value of your horses, horse trailer and your farm and what replacement costs might run.

Place 10-pound, multi-purpose, fire extinguishers at each entry way and make sure everyone knows how to use them. Check the extinguishers’ gauges regularly to see if there’s enough pressure. Most gauges are color-coded. If the needle rests in the green area, there’s plenty of pressure. If it falls into yellow or below, the pressure is low and the extinguisher needs servicing.

Keep hoses attached to water sources for quick access. When fire breaks out, seconds count and you don’t want to waste them fumbling with a water hose.

Just as you want to have a water hose handy in case of a fire, you also want to be able to quickly catch the horses and get them out of the barn. Make sure all horses have a halter and lead rope hanging on their stall door. This practice prevents frantic searching at a moment when you can’t afford to lose time.

Always use caution when working with electrical appliances in the barn and unplug them when they’re not in use. All tools and appliances require three-prong plugs that go into three-pronged outlets. Use heavy-duty extension cords designed for indoor/outdoor use. Frequently check their condition, looking for cracks or breaks that expose wires. Get into the habit of having your electrical system checked annually by an electrician.

Finally, a word about hay storage. Always check that hay is dry before you stack it, especially if it’s stored in the barn. Green hay is quite combustible and the drying process actually creates heat, a recipe for fire. Stack green hay on its end to allow it to finish curing.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but there are no guarantees. Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter, which will discuss how to create an escape plan should a fire break out.

Double D Trailers, Inc.