Horse Trailer – Break Down
For the first time in June this year I joined the, hopefully minority, group of people who have had their car break down while towing a trailer with their horse in it. I had no idea how horrible it was until I experienced it. If you haven’t had it happen to you, I hope you never have to experience it.
It was a nice sunny June morning when we set off for a training clinic in North Yorkshire. I had everything carefully packed, including, something that I never packed before…..bricks; in case I needed to use them for the trailer wheels. I had never felt the need to pack bricks before but that morning, after I was in the car ready to leave I took my seat belt off got back out lifted the bricks and put them in the back of the car.
We were pootling down the M74, sun shining, sunglasses on, sat nav programmed to take us to Alexandra’s clinic, CCTV showing me that Classic was happy with his hay net and BAM !! Just 20 miles in to the journey the car engine gave up the ghost with quite a bit of drama !! The revs hit the ceiling, power went out the engine and there was black smoke pouring out my car.
Yikes ! The worst was happening. I’m on the motorway with a horse in the trailer and my car engine just blew up !! Thankfully I got pulled over to the hard shoulder where my brain kicked in to a whole new gear of ‘checklists’. First, with all that black smoke I immediately had to check; are there flames ?? Do I need to get this trailer unhitched in a big hurry ?? Thankfully there were no flames. I heaved a sigh of relief; no need to get the bricks out.
Don’t Panic !
From the day I bought the trailer I made sure I had both car break down and trailer assist. So it was not time to panic, it was time to get on the phone to the break down services. And things start to go from bad to worse !
Targets and Pilates
The first phone call I made was to my car break down service. I did the usual, told them what happened and where I was and stressed that I had a horse with me and so this was urgent. I also stressed that the car was very definitely not going to be able to move under its own steam (you don’t have that amount of black smoke come out of a car that suddenly and expect to be able to drive it let alone tow a trailer with a horse in it). “Don’t worry, we will get someone to you as quickly as possible and we see that you have horse trailer cover as well.”
Phone call 2 was to the trailer break down services. And the oddest thing happened, my call got diverted back to the lady I had just been speaking to at the car break down company. Huh, how does that work !? She asked what was wrong, had something else happened. I replied, “No, I just want to arrange the rescue for my horse as I know my car is going to be leaving here on a flat-bed truck.”. “Oh, that is not how it works”, she says. And this is where it all started to go horribly wrong. I was told that they had to check my car first to make sure it was actually broken (not sure it was going to take a genius to work that one out) and only then would they alert the horse recovery people. Sounded odd to me so I reminded her that I was on a motorway and as such in a very dangerous place. “We understand”. As I hung up I was muttering “I don’t really think you do !”.
All this time I was still able to see Classic in my CCTV and he appeared to be none the wiser that anything had happened. As soon as I was off the phone, I got digging around in the car to get my treat pouches and I got in to the trailer with Classic to make sure it was going to stay that way and keep him calm for the, hopefully, short time we would be here.
As I waited patiently for the break down man all I could think was “if they think this horse is coming off the trailer to go in to another lorry/trailer on this motorway…….”.
Check back next week or sign up to the blog mailing list to receive part 2 of ‘horse trailer assist’ next week.