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Attaching water buckets and haybags to your horse trailer

Chief on Trailer

Chief on Trailer

For several years now I’ve been attaching my horses hay bags and buckets to the side of the horse trailer.  This works great and makes things a lot neater and easier. Especially at rides where we need to clean up all evidence of us being there.  It’s much easier to clean up if you haven’t made a huge mess to begin with.

Chief does prefer to have some hay put on the ground too – so I usually do that (as seen in the photo).  This allows him to have two kinds of hay and also to lie down and use the hay on the ground like a pillow or bedding (except that he usually eats it all, ha!)

The horses stay on their hi-ties at endurance rides for weeks at a time during multidays (with walking and/or riding each day to move them around a bit more) and have plenty of room to lie down and roll or sleep.  The hay bags are easy to refill.  If the horses knock or pull them off of the hooks they are hanging on, simply wrap the O-ring on the hay bag with duct tape and then poke a hole through it just big enough for the center hook to go through.  These hooks (click on link below to see) have been very safe with my horses.  Be sure before you attach anything to your trailer that your trailer siding is strong enough to support it – and make sure that your screws or bolts do not go through to the other side far enough to cause harm to horses traveling inside the trailer.

I get my mesh manger hay bags from either Horses Dacor or Trail-Rite.  The hooks to hang the hay bags are from Country Supply, as are the 6 gallon water buckets and bucket holders.

Mesh Manger Hanger

Mesh Manger Hanger

By attaching the hay bags the way I do, the horses aren’t able to push them around on the side of the trailer as much, scratching it all up.  Same thing for the buckets.  I mount everything down lower so that the horse can eat or drink in a more comfortable position with his head down.  I have never had a horse put a leg into the haybag though that could be a concern so before doing anything like this with a new horse so be sure to practice at home by letting your horse camp overnight with this configuration.

Weaver and Chief at Color Country

One other tip about using the hi-ties (click here to see a comparison of horse trailer-ties) — I don’t use the bungees that most of these types of products come with.  I’ve seen a lot of wrecks at rides from horses getting caught in the bungees.  The bungees may not break but one end will usually give as the hardware is usually the weak link — if the bungee has been pulled tight by a tangled horse the result is often not pretty and has resulted in broken bones and bad injuries.  I use a shorter nylon tie with a quick release at the top, then a round ring (from my feed store) that I use to do a quick release knot with my cotton rope.  I only attach the horses halters to ropes with bullsnaps.  Don’t ever attach your horses halter with a quick release or a caribeaner — I’ve seen that result in loose horses!

1 comment to Attaching water buckets and haybags to your horse trailer

  • Robert H. Sydnor

    Dear Karen: These are splendid stories of great value to endurance riders. Please keep up the good work; we are all behind you. Eventually, please consider writing a book on endurance rides, with emphasis on the logistics, proper equipment, and conditioning of horses, along with your gracious philosophy of how to ride long distances. I learned so much riding behind you and Granite Chief on the “Square Nail” AERC ride (north of Reno). Thanks for being a gracious mentor for hundreds of endurance riders. All the best for your medical recovery, from Robert H. Sydnor of Fair Oaks, California.

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