Roadside Assistance

Now that the actual hauling of the trailer seems imminent, I’ve started to look into “extras”. I’m getting new tires for the trailer on Saturday, have gotten several quotes for trailer painting, and just have a little bit of finishing work left on the inside before she’s truly road ready.

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What, your trailer doesn’t live with a tarp over it’s butt?

Being that this is an older trailer, I’m a little bit extra paranoid about the possibility of things going wrong while hauling. I know several friends that have USRider, so when an email popped into my inbox the other day with a “New Year Offer” to waive the activation fee, I started looking into a bit more.

From what I’ve researched online, the reviews seem to be a bit of a mixed bag. Some have used them several times with no problems, others have been left stranded on the side of the road all day waiting for help. Of course, USRider really has the market cornered. Even AAA will not tow your trailer with your horses in it, so good luck to you if you get stuck somewhere while actually hauling a horse.

USRider

While USRider isn’t really expensive ($139 annually, plus the $29 activation fee which is waived until 1/19), it isn’t super cheap for someone that’s on a tight budget right now either. I will say, I like that you get discounts to tack shops, car rental places, hotels, etc. That could potentially “pay me back” a little bit for the membership.

The real question is… is it worth it?

48 thoughts on “Roadside Assistance

  1. am interested in hearing thoughts on this as well so kudos for bringing it up. I haul maybe once a month locally (If that in the winter) a bit more in summer and have no plan. I have a friend who does love US Rider but i have another one who doesnt so would love more feedback:)

    PS Black Betty looks like she has a blue diaper on πŸ™‚

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  2. New reader here, first time commentor. I’m an endurance rider, so there’s a lot of hauling and road miles involved. I’ve has a USRider membership for years, and will say that the only time I’ve had to use it has been for passenger vehicles, and not while hauling, but I’ve been happy with the service I’ve gotten. I’ve heard more recently though that more people are having issues with the service and coverage — maybe it depends on the location?

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  3. This isn’t in the subject of hauling, but as far as getting Black Betty roadworthy. Make sure you get the bairings packed and regressed. Also, get the brakes checked at the same time. There is nothing worse than getting stranded because your axle (or brakes) locked up!

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    1. That should have said “this isn’t on the subject of roadside assistance”, not hauling… Lol Clearly, everything I stated concerns hauling.

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  4. I only haul locally, so people who haul farther might have better advice, but I feel like as long as you have a friend with a truck and trailer that is willing to rescue you, the USRider is probably unnecessary.

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    1. My real concern is that I drive 4-6 hours away for some events, and while most of the time I’d be hauling with Bobby, sometimes I won’t be. I’d hate to get stuck in Louisiana or something. :/

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          1. You better find out if US Rider will come get you and Henny off the side of the highway cause that’s where you’re gonna find your ‘useless’ ass! πŸ™‚

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  5. I would never haul without it. Ever. I kept it faithfully renewed while I owned a trailer. I never used it personally but know people who did and who had good experiences.

    They state up front that their priority is rigs with horses, so if you use it as a regular driver with no horses you may be in for a wait. I always kept AAA as well for my regular driving.

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  6. Yes, get it. It has saved a friend of mine twice, and they were quick and efficient. It’s not US Rider’s fault when people are left for hours. That’s the fault of the tow company that they contacted.. and in some places, like where we event, there aren’t many options for tow companies, so I imagine they can get backed up or busy… Also, they will tow your truck WITH your trailer. That in itself is worth it to me… I have an older trailer too, and feel SO much safer now that I have it…Just my opinion πŸ™‚

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  7. i’ve waffled on us rider ever since i bought my trailer and have yet to actually sign up… we only ever haul fairly locally so the odds of getting completely stranded aren’t super high. but still, better safe than sorry, maybe, right? idk…

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    1. Yeah I’m kinda not sure if it’ll be worth it or not. Wish they had an option to pay for the year’s membership on a monthly basis, then I wouldn’t really notice the expense like I would with one big chunk.

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      1. This I agree. not that it is that much to spend but I prefer paying monthly for things like this rather than one big chunk. Hurts less!

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  8. Long time reader, first time commenter. I also have an older trailer and got US Rider before hauling from Louisiana to Maryland; I’ve used them twice.

    The first time was on that trip for a damaged tire (I’d forgotten the tire lowering tool); the response was fairly prompt, but the fact that I was missing the tool got lost somewhere along the line and the responder would not have been able to help me as a result. Luckily, I figured out how to lower the tire with a wrench and redneck passing through took it from there.
    The second time was when I had some fuel problem towing a cargo trailer Louisiana to Virginia. In this case, the first tower backed out and USR quickly found a substitute; they also told me where the nearest dealership was and found me a pet friendly hotel right across the street.

    The operators were friendly, there were text updates of estimated arrival times, and they followed up. It was a life saver in the second case. I would certainly recommend getting them. If something goes wrong while towing, it should pay for itself in one use.

    Plus, you get an awesome 15% discount at Riding Warehouse (among others)!

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  9. Never had it and never used it. Touch would. It comes down to the reliability of your vehicle. I hauled with Anna Beeson for years. We could have used it once. It comes down to resourcefulness though. If you are doing a long haul keep a list of places to stay for the horse that are on the way. Just in case. Keep up with maintenance on tow vehicle and trailer. New tires every 4 to 5 years. No matter how unworn they are. Check tire pressure every trip.
    I don’t jail further tha PH or MCP for the most part and don’t go on I35. Ever. I think I would get it if I was frequently making longer trips like O think you are planning to. As peace of mind.

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  10. Hmmm, while I can understand your fears and uncertainty, it may be worthwhile to look a bit more into the whole program. It sounds tempting, especially for what you’d need it for. For myself, I don’t trailer too far away from home so calling a friend or being able to fix the problem isn’t a huge deal to me.

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  11. I’ve never used US Rider (but I plan to because like you, I will be hauling long distances to shows), but I have an anecdote:

    About 15 years ago (god now I feel old), my dad and I were hauling home from an event in Alabama with our 3-horse steel gooseneck with one horse and a 10 year old reasonably-mileaged truck. At some remote place on the Alabama-Tennessee border, the truck suddenly blew a head gasket and we were stranded on the side of the road. We called a towing company and explained what was going on; the tow truck driver HAPPENED to have a nearby friend with an appropriate truck to haul the trailer home. We all got home safely, but it was awful to feel so helpless! That’s the only time something like that has happened to me, but it was enough that when I bought the trailer, I was like “yes, need to buy this for next year”.

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  12. I’ve heard it’s basically a good thing, and has been pretty responsive in this area for blown tires, etc. I would imagine that it is like AAA or in my case, USAA, in that it depends on who they have a partnership with in the area. AAA once left me and my friends stranded on the side of the road for 4 hours, so it happens to them all.

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  13. Another endurance rider chiming in: USRider seems very hit and miss, but my understanding is that it’s very location-specific. Do others in your area like USRider? You’re probably fine to get it. I’m trailer-less still, but have used it for my car once and was pleased with the service I received. I keep the coverage both for peace of mind with the car.. and for peace of mind knowing that when hauling the pony in others’ trailers, we’re still covered, since it’s not tied to a particular vehicle.

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  14. It depends on how much anxiety you have about trailering.

    I’ve (knock wood) never had a trailer breakdown leaving me on the side of the road with horses, but almost all of my riding friends have. My trailer was new when I bought it and has been meticulously maintained.

    It seems like your eventing trajectory (successfully moving up the levels) will have you traveling more and further. I’d say peace of mind is worth $139 even if you never have to use their services. (Maybe cut back in the sun shirt / colored breeches department a tad? Just saying… ;D)

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  15. I’ve had it for a couple of years and I love it. I’ve only had to use it once, but they did such a fantastic job. One of my trailer tires disintegrated when I was hauling home from an x-c schooling, I pulled into a gas station with a big field next to it, and called US Rider. They had a repairman to me in about 45 minutes (which was nice, because it was HOT out), he put on the spare and we were on our way home. Bonus: they answered the phone with “Thank you for calling US Rider, are you and your horses safe?” They also checked in with me a couple hours later to make sure me and my horse had gotten home safe.

    10/10, would recommend.

    (Sidenote: the big field next to the gas station where my horse grumpily grazed was dug up two weeks later and turned into a Dollar Store. Do I have perversely good luck or what?)

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  16. I have only been in one horse-trailering need help incident. Our truck blew an oil seal. on the side of I-95, on the way to a horse show. You are absolutely right that no matter what level of service you have, AAA will do nothing for the trailer w/ horses.

    We ended up getting the truck towed by AAA, and having my father drive the two hours to us with a friend’s truck. We hooked that up to the horse trailer, and went home. Of course, the electricity plug for the friends truck wouldn’t reach the trailer, so we were driving home in the dark at this point with no trailer lights.. My poor horse was in the trailer for hours, but really wasn’t more we could do on the side of an Interstate.

    If you see yourself traveling long distances frequently, worth it. If you’re going to be staying fairly local, I’d say not worth it.

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  17. I had US Rider last year, and didn’t renew, but once I’m not broken anymore, I’ll sign back up with them. In the year I had the service, I only used it once and didn’t have a stellar experience. My truck, which is a f-350 dually and HUGE, wouldn’t start and my husband’s little SUV didn’t have enough juice to jump it, so I called US Rider to send someone out. It took 4 hours (luckily I was at home with the truck in the driveway) and when he showed up, the towering vehicle he had was so tiny he couldn’t fit the truck on it. So I waited another hour for the next person to show and HIS tow vehicle was too small. I ended up calling a friend with a similar vehicle to jump mine and drove it to the repair shop myself. So not a great experience.

    BUT…they are the only service that deals with horse trailers and once I get the cast off, P and I will be traveling to Aiken quite a bit so it’s better than nothing.

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  18. ABSOLUTELY worth it. Yes, the service can sometimes be spotty and the waits long, but considering it will actually assist you with trailers and horses, it’s a must have.
    Last September I had the worst case scenario on the way home from a lesson. I had been hauling an older steel Trail-Et for about 2 years, and while it was regularly maintained, I haul around a heavy draft cross several times a week, so it puts a lot of wear on it. The *day before* it was supposed to go in for its yearly maintenance (because of course right?), it broke the weld on an axel while I was hauling. Thank god I was still going slowly on a back road, but we ended up stranded on the side of the road with a horse and a broken trailer. My trainer came and got my horse, but the trailer had to be put on another trailer to move it, which was super expensive. It took US Rider about 4 hours to coordinate and find someone to get out to us, but considering I didn’t have to pay anything, nor would I have even begun to know who to call, I would have waited twice that.

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