I do a lot of thinking before I trailer my ponies:
I take a ride in my trailer, to assess the rattles and noises that have happened over the year.
I check the air pressure in my tires.
I check my lights
I make sure, if it's hot out, that I open ALL the vents and the windows.
I make sure there is just enough sawdust to help me keep the floors clean.
There are other things I do when hauling my ponies:
I am mindful of where my trailer tires are behind my tow vehicle. By this I mean, I do not drive with the trailer tires on the rumble strips of the highway. One time, I followed a truck and trailer, full of horses, and he drove on the rumble strips for an hour and a half. I rolled down my windows to hear what the horses were hearing and it was DEAFENING. I don't know how he couldn't hear the cacophony of noise in his truck.
I am mindful of how fast I brake when I need to slow down.
I do not swerve.
I do not speed up quickly.
I corner very slowly and mindfully.
My trailer is 12 feet long x 5 feet high x 5 feet wide. I know when it's hot out my trailer is even hotter than the outside air, if we are not moving. If I have to be stopped, or parked I am aware of the minutes that are ticking by and how hot my ponies are getting. I will pull over and open the back door, sometimes even unload them and tie to them to side, rather than have them stand in the very hot trailer.
(I am looking into having my trailer painted and having the roof insulated in the hopes that a lighter color and insulation will help keep it a bit cooler in the summer time. I want to have it painted light blue and white... like a vintage car! It will be so adorable.)
I know that my trailer travels directly behind my Suburban. It is not wider than my tow vehicle. I followed another truck and trailer a few weeks ago and he came so close to bouncing his stock trailer off the guard rails every single time we had to pass them. I would slow down, and give him LOTS of space, as I didn't need trailer parts in the front of my vehicle. He was often driving with one side of his trailer on the shoulder, bouncing along behind his truck. Clearly he had no idea how wide his trailer was.
When slowing or speeding up, I do so slowly, so I don't bounce or jerk my ponies around in the trailer.
I do not swerve around as I drive down the road. I do all I can to drive slow enough that I can avoid things in the road without needing to slam on my brakes or swerve.
Driving slowly also ensures, if someone pulls out in front of me, a deer jumps out in the road, or someone abruptly changes their mind in front of me, I do not need to slam on my brakes. The last thing I want is to cause my ponies to fall and injure themselves in the trailer, due to my inability to mindfully slow down.
Because I drive slow when I have my trailer hitched I had a note put on the back of my trailer:
I have found this little thank you actually really helps with tailgaters! It's pretty rare that someone rides my bumper any more. Acknowledging to those behind me that I know I am driving slow seems to be the thing they need to also drive more mindfully. When I can, I will pull over and allow other drivers to pass, especially when I am driving on gravel roads.
This leads me to - riding in your trailer once a year. It's actually amazing just how loud some of these trailers are. Especially when driving on a gravel road. Riding in your trailer helps you have a better understanding of what the pony is going through back there. In some cases, you can even use some foam or rubber pieces to shim up the areas that rattle the worst, such as the walls and the doors of the trailer. Sometimes, I will even use cardboard as shims, to help with the noise!
It blows my mind how many people can't easily load their horses or ponies in the trailer and they have no idea why this is. I can say, based on what I've observed on the road, following fellow horse owners and their trailers, it's not rocket science. Their animals won't load because the trailer is a torture chamber full of terror and rough handling.
Being mindful when trailering, can lead to a horse or pony that is happy to hop into the trailer, and go on an adventure with you!