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Gander lock gooseneck lockGanderLock for Goosenecks: Protect your trailer as well as your expensive saddles, bridles, tools and flat screen TV. Goosenecks if you just lock the coupler, the thief's loosen the set bolts, slide out your adjustable coupler Read the Review
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USRider Cautions Horse Owners about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Lexington, Ky., (Oct. 15, 2007) – Two children and their grandparents from Tomah, Wis., were killed by carbon monoxide fumes inside the horse trailer where they were sleeping the night of Oct. 11. The family runs a well-known Clydesdale horse-breeding operation called Clay’s Clydesdales. They were in Madison, Wis., for the World Clydesdale Show.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil, burns. Sources include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges and space heaters. Carbon monoxide is undetectable – it has no color, no odor, no taste; it causes no respiratory irritation; it mixes evenly with the air.

The two adults and two children were camping overnight in the bunk area of a combination camper-horse trailer. Commonly referred to as a “Living Quarter Trailer,” these trailers typically hold two to four horses and have a “living quarters” area. Such live-in quarters are common among exhibitors, but many have built-in heat.

However, the trailer involved in this tragic accident was not equipped with a heater, so the Tomah couple was using a propane heater to warm the sleeping quarters. A roof vent was open in the trailer, but that did not provide sufficient ventilation because carbon monoxide gas hangs low to the ground and doesn't rise like heat. The lethal level of carbon monoxide killed the campers in their sleep.

The horses were in stables and not the trailer overnight.

Victims of CO poisoning are usually not aware they are being exposed to the deadly gas and become impaired in ways that can lead to death. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include light-headedness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, confusion and vomiting. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or very short exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.

Horse owners are advised to take precautions to avoid CO poisoning.

“We do not recommend any type of heating system to be used in horse trailers, unless the heater is one that was installed by the manufacturer,” said Mark Cole, managing member of USRider, a roadside assistance plan designed with horse owners in mind. “Additionally, factory-installed heating systems should be serviced annually by a professional and operated strictly under recommendations of the heater manufacturer.”

While it may be tempting to use a stove – if the trailer is equipped with one – for temporary heat, stoves should not be used for that purpose under any circumstances.

Cole also recommends that a carbon monoxide detector be installed in any trailer that has gas appliances, such as a heater, stove, oven or refrigerator. The carbon monoxide detector should be maintained as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure that it is performing as designed.

To avoid CO poisoning, horse owners should be aware of the risks, ensure sufficient ventilation, properly install and maintain equipment, and utilize carbon monoxide detectors, especially in living and sleeping areas.

With an annual fee comparable to that of other roadside assistance programs, USRider offers the typical flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lock-out services, plus benefits designed with horse owners in mind, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more.

For more information about USRider and additional safety tips, visit the USRider website at www.usrider.org or call 1-800-844-1409.

"On a side note, after reading this article, I didn't use my propane heater in my horse trailer dressing room, trying to lower traveling costs with less motels. I shivered all night but I'm alive. Now I'll get a carbon monoxide detector and test the heaters I have including the ones that say " inside safe". MrTruck