Have you ever been traveling in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night pulling two horses in your trailer on rain-slicked roads and have a truck tire blow?
That’s exactly what happened to 47-year-old Jacque (pronounced Jackie) Belobraydic and her friend, 21-year-old Tamison Rife.
The two women were on their way home to Tucson, Arizona from a two-week trip that included time at the Sky Hi Stampede Rodeo in Colorado. It was scorching July weather so they decided to do the bulk of their driving at night in order for it to be cooler for the horses, a couple of mares named Mare and Grace.
Jacque was napping while Tamison drove when it happened.
“The tire blew. We heard it, felt it. It bent the fender up. We were doing 70 mph on the freeway” in her Ford F-350 dually truck, pulling a three-horse slant bumper pull trailer.
They pulled over and assessed their situation, which did not look good.
“Not that we couldn’t have changed the tire, Jacque recalled, “but I said, No, we’re staying in the truck. There was hardly any shoulder, and what little there was had overgrown grass taller than my knees. If we’d had to take the horses out, somebody was gonna get hurt. We could hear a train zipping by—couldn’t see it, but we could hear it.
“It was as dark as the inside of a cow, and trucks were whizzing past us. I said, ‘We just need to be safe.’”
The year before, Jacque had bought a membership to USRider, but she had never needed to use it.
“I had AAA forever, since I was 16. One time I went into AAA and said, What if I have an issue with this or this? And they said, Oh no, we don’t do anything with horses or trailers. I did my research and called USRider. You can get the same coverage and they’ll also take care of your horse, and they’ll bring diesel fuel.
“The horses were the first concern. My husband said, Of course you’re gonna switch. He’s not into horses at all, and so he was very happy to know there was somebody there who could save me. He got coverage, my daughter got coverage.”
So, crossing her fingers, Jacque called the number on her USRider member card.
“The lady on the end, whoever I spoke to at 3 a.m., was the nicest person in the world,” she recalled. “She said, ‘Are you alright?’ And the second question was, ‘Are your horses alright?’ And that was so nice to hear—that someone cares about your horses, too, because they’re your best friend.”
The next question, Jacque said, she did not have an answer for.
“ ‘Where are you?’ We had no idea. I had been sleeping. So this lady did everything to track us down. She even called the police to get a reading on the cell phone and find us. As soon as they had our location, the USRider guy was on his way. Once he arrived, it took him 15 minutes. And you’d think, being the middle of the night and in the rain, he’d be grumpy, but he wasn’t at all. He changed the tire and threw the blown tire in the back of my truck. I have a trailer aid, so we were able to drive it up on it so he could fix the tire.
“And the US Rider woman stayed in constant contact with me. ‘Are you ok? Are the horses ok?’”
I heard about this story after Jacque wrote a letter to USRider that said in part,
“USRider, you are amazing!! I will be sure to share my story with ALL my diesel truck driving, horse trailering friends! Two exhausted gals, on the side of a busy, DARK highway at 3 am, on a Monday morning, in the middle of nowhere, with spotty cell service will forever sing your praises!”
Bill at USRider sent the letter to me, so I called Jacque to get the details.
She ended our conversation by saying this:
“Really, I did not expect that kind of service. I was pleasantly surprised and amazed at how incredible everybody was, how kind and understanding.
“People who have horses have to get USRider. You’d be crazy not to.”
So, here’s the scoop on USRider: USRider provides roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its members through the Equestrian Motor Plan. Standard features include flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lockout services, towing up to 100 miles, roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more.
For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit www.usrider.org online or call (800) 844-1409.
You can join USRider@ online, or by mail by using their form. An individual membership costs $119 annually plus a $29 activation fee, and an individual plus associate(s) costs $119 annually + $79 annually per associate, with no activation fee.
Or join by phone: (800) 844-1409, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, EST. Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.
USRider benefits include:
EMERGENCY LODGING/STABLING ARRANGEMENTS - If, while traveling, your vehicle breaks down or is in an accident that does not involve injury to a Horse(s), USRider will contact area hotels, motels and stabling facilities to make lodging arrangements for you and your Horse(s). (Member responsible for lodging/stabling costs. USRider cannot guarantee availability.)
VETERINARIAN REFERRAL SERVICES - In the event that you have an equine health emergency while traveling, USRider will provide the name and contact information of area large animal practitioners from our exclusive DVM directory.
FARRIER REFERRAL SERVICES - In the event that a Horse needs foot care while traveling, USRider will provide the name and contact information of farriers in your area.
EMERGENCY TRIP INTERRUPTION VETERINARY SERVICES - USRider will reimburse you for the unexpected expenses due to a collision which results in the injury of a Horse(s) being transported by you. Covered items include: veterinary care, overnight boarding, lodging and meals, rental vehicle. (Reimbursement limited to the first 72 hours following accident and up to $1,000.)
TOWING – When your vehicle cannot be started or driven, the vehicle and/or Horse trailer will be towed to the destination of your choice up to 100 miles by one of our authorized vehicles.
REPAIRS – USRider handles each disablement involving a tow vehicle and horse trailer as if it were an 18-wheeler. In many cases, it is better not to tow – especially with Horses on board. In the event that your vehicle becomes disabled when you are trailering Horses, if it is possible for us to facilitate a roadside repair and avoid towing, we’ll pay a service benefit of up to $200 per incident – excluding parts and fluids.
For additional horse travel safety tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at www.usrider.org.