Tips on how to move a horse safely

Time to hit the trails and the competition grounds! Even though it’s a joyful time of year, travelling with your horse may be very stressful. Therefore, whether your horse is an experienced or novice traveller, it is crucial to take safety measures and be ready before packing up and setting out on the road.

Use these eight pieces of advice to transport your horse safely.

white horse running

Make Sure Your Horse Is Healthy

Have your horse’s health evaluated by a veterinarian before a lengthy trip to ensure he is fit for the voyage and to supply all the documents needed to cross state lines. According to the Kentucky Horse Council, you will need confirmation that your horse has received the appropriate examinations and immunisations and satisfies the state’s health requirements. 

All states require a current negative Coggins test and a health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection within 30 days of the date of travel, at the very least.

 

Make Sure Your Hitch And Trailer Are Secure

Please don’t ignore it, even though it might seem obvious. We owe it to our horses to check that the floor won’t collapse, the axles aren’t about to break, and the hitches aren’t developing cracks that might jeopardise their integrity and cause them to fail while you’re hauling other things.

Have your trailer, tyres, wiring, wheel bearings, brakes, and hitch fully inspected by a trailer repair expert at least once yearly; if you transport frequently, have this done twice yearly.

Connecting your truck to your trailer has to be the worst part of taking your horses out on the trail or to the arena. However, the electric trailer tongue jack can ease the hassle of attaching your vehicle to your trailer. Check out our picks for the best electric horse trailer jack here.

 

Use Shavings Or Some Sort Of Bedding

It’s difficult for a horse to balance on a moving trailer for hours, regardless of how experienced the driver is. Bedding the trailer can assist in lessening leg strain. Dusty bedding should be avoided since it might irritate your horse’s eyes and/or cause respiratory issues, primarily when used in an open stock trailer. If dust is an issue, think about using a fly mask.

 

Continue To Hydrate Your Horse

During travel, horses are liable to become dehydrated. By providing water regularly while being transported, dehydration can be reduced. Giving your horse an electrolyte can help rehydrate them and provide them with the energy they require to finish the journey. Increased electrolyte supplementation is advised three to four days before shipping.

 

Ensure Adequate Knowledge And Ventilation

You can watch your horse while travelling if you know how to take their vital signs. You can tell the veterinarian your horse’s current vital signs over the phone if they are injured or ill while you are travelling.

horse standing

A respiratory system compromised by trailer stress may be overwhelmed by pathogens from dried manure. Every trip should start with a thorough cleaning of the trailer. Open windows to let air flow; this will also aid in maintaining a pleasant temperature for your horse.

 

Make Regular Rest Stops

Road trips always include crucial rest stops. Every four hours, parking breaks should last at least 20 minutes and ideally take place in a shaded area with the windows open to improve airflow within the trailer. It is not advised to unload the horses from the trailer since many will be frightened by the sounds of the road in a strange environment.

horse being brushed by a girl

To rehydrate and clear their respiratory tracts, horses should be unloaded from the vehicle after 12 hours of travel and stabled for at least eight hours.

 

Plan Your Route And Take Standing Wraps Into Account

Before your move, think about the route and the best time of day to travel. Long pauses in traffic may be difficult for your pet because a trailer in the sun can be up to 20 degrees warmer inside than outdoors. Travelling at night may be more favourable when it’s scorching outside because it will be more relaxed, and there will probably be less traffic.

Your animal’s legs and the coronary band can be protected during shipping with standing wraps and bell boots. However, they can be “a burden instead of an asset” for horses who are not used to wearing them. If you choose to wrap, get the horse used to the bandages before shipment, and keep an eye out for any rubs or rashes while it’s being transported.

 

Allow Your Horse Some Time To Heal

Regardless of how well you think your pet has travelled, he will need some downtime before returning to work after a long journey. Studies and industry professionals agree that a horse should rest for a full day after a six to twelve-hour excursion. 

two young horses racing on a track

The recovery phase may take two to three days for more extended journeys. Call a veterinarian if the horse refuses to feed, displays nasal discharge, or has a raised rectal temperature when he arrives at his destination.

 

Bottom line

These are some safety advice you should consider before loading up and leaving. However, these are the most crucial and simple measures to help your animal reach the destination safely and return home after that.

Additionally, as any parent of an enthusiastic young rider knows, there comes a time when your child starts to ask for their horse. To help you find the best fit, check out our list of the best 3 Pony Horse Breeds Perfect For Children; you’ll discover a breed that is ideal for your situation.

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