Don’t Tailgate the Trailer! How to Safely Share the Road with Horse Trailers


The one thing equestrians really want non-equestrians to know is how to safely share the road with horse trailers. To people who aren’t familiar with horses, they seem big, tough and scary. In actual fact, horses are quite delicate, and transporting them from place-to-place can be one of the most stressful experiences for both horses and their loving owners.

Our friends at Equo have put together a list of suggestions, so you can safely share the road with horse trailers.

Different kinds of horse trailers. Photo courtesy of Equo

Horse transports are big vehicles that don’t maneuver easily. Signal well in advance of lane changes, avoid prolonged time in a lane directly beside the trailer, and give them as much space as possible.

Remember that thing you learned in physics class about mass and inertia? A four-horse rig has 5,000 pounds of animal in it. Not to mention the weight of the equipment and trailer itself. It’s simply not able to stop quickly. So, before you change lanes and get in front of a horse trailer, make sure the trailer has lots of space to safely maintain their speed.

Photo courtesy of Equo

When a horse trailer has to slam on the brakes, the horses inside can lose their balance, causing them injury. A horse standing in a trailer is like a child standing on a school bus – one big lurch or sudden stop and they’re on the ground.

In a small, confined space, trucking down the highway, we want to keep the horses as quiet and calm as possible. We know everyone has that “OMG HORSES” reaction, when they see a trailer, but please refrain from shouting it out the window or honking the horn. Horses can feel the effects of shipping stress, long after the trip is over, so anything we can do to make their journey more pleasant is wonderful.

Photo courtesy of Equo

If you see a horse rig at a gas station or rest stop, please leave the horses alone. We know it’s tempting, when you see those big, sweet faces, grabbing a breath of fresh air at a window, but do not feed or pet them.

In the unfortunate event of an accident involving a horse trailer, don’t be a hero. Clear the area, try to control traffic, and keep yourself safe. Listen to the trailer driver or whoever is with them for instructions what to do (or not do) with the animals. Horses are flight animals and are easily alarmed. Experienced handlers will know better than anyone how to handle a panicked or injured horse.

Photo courtesy of Equo

Everyone wants to arrive at their destination safely, so horse owners ask that you kindly consider the needs of the horses when sharing the road with them. Their owners and drivers will be forever thankful.

To learn more about Equo, please visit their website: To download the app please search “Equo equine transport” on the Apple AppStore or Android PlayStore.