Traveling with your horses can be an amazing experience. Perhaps you are saddling up to explore the mountain trails, or maybe you are heading to a horse show. Whether it's a short drive or a long trip across the country, you want your horses to be as stress-free as possible when traveling.
The good news is that with a little preparation and the right horse trailer, you can make the trip a pleasant one. Let's take a look at some key tips for keeping your horses happy on the road.
Practice the Basics
When traveling with your horse, especially one unfamiliar with being in a trailer, it is helpful to go through the motions before you get on the road. Take time to lead your horse into the trailer, attach their halter, then detach them from the halter, and let them back out. Pay attention to signs of distress and work to create a positive, calm experience of loading and unloading.
Installing a trailer camera will let you watch them while you walk away to see how they are reacting to the trailer. Repeat this until they aren't showing signs of anxiety and you feel they are ready for their first full travel day.
Plan for the Trip
Knowing the weather ahead will help you make sure your horses are content and not overheating or becoming too cold. Using a sweat or cooler rug on your horse can also be helpful, however, always be cautious of over-rugging your horse, especially if they are field kept.
Map your path to avoid highly congested traffic at the hottest point of the day. This can add stress and heat to your horses. A mister can also be an effective way to cool your horses down if you are traveling through warm weather.
Be sure to stop at least every four hours to offer water to your horses. If humidity and temps are high, you should water your horses closer to every two hours.
Matching your refuelings with waterings will make the experience convenient and easier to remember. If possible, install a water tank on your horse trailer or purchase a horse trailer with a built-in tank. This will ensure that you can fill your horses' troughs with quality water on the road.
Documentation & Supplies
If you are preparing to cross a state line, you will need a current health certificate and a Coggins test. Keep in mind that Coggins tests are good for one year. Planning ahead with a vet will ensure you get your test results back in time.
During your vet visit, you can also stock up on anything extra you will need for your horse, such as specialized food or supplements. Make sure you have more than enough medication on hand in case your travels take longer than expected.
It is also recommended that you carry a first aid kit for your horse along with fly spray, a good brush, and anything else that you use as a part of their daily routine.
During travel, your horses need to have ample airflow. Horses need this to clear their breathing pathway from discharge and allergens and to cool themselves down.
Securing your horses so that their heads are pointing towards the front of the trailer will provide them with plenty of fresh air. Adding a trailer fan for each of your horses can also help increase airflow through the trailer, especially while parked or if you're stuck in traffic.
The intervals at which you should feed your horses are based on the length of time your horses are going to travel in the trailer. If your horses will be in the trailer for more than six hours, you need to provide them with hay. If your trip is under six hours, wait to feed them at your destination.
If you do feed your horses in transit, water down their hay bag so they aren't breathing in dust throughout the trip. Additionally, you will want to increase waterings to reduce the chance of Colic.
Picking the Right Horse Trailer
To provide a stress-free trip for your horses, make sure to carefully consider which horse trailer fits your needs. It is important to choose your trailer based on how many horses you'll be traveling with, as well as the size of your horses.
At Transwest we have 1-2, 3-4, 5-8, and trainer trailers to meet your needs. We also carry fifth-wheel horse trailers, which offer upgraded stability. This can make the trip a smoother ride for your horses. For shorter trips, we offer convenient, cost-efficient bumper pull trailers that will fit almost all SUVs and trucks.
If you have questions about what type of trailer you need, feel free to come by any Transwest location or give us a call. We will work with you to help ensure that your horses have a comfortable and safe ride on the road ahead.
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