Going on the road with a horse can be a challenge if the animal is not accustomed to trips. To keep your horse happy and healthy from start to finish, take into account these tips for traveling with your horse:
1. Practice loading your horses prior to the departure date so they get used to the entering, exiting process.
2. Give your horses a break about every three hours. It is not necessary to take them out of the trailer, simply allow them to rest their legs.
3. Keep your horses hydrated. Before the trip, you can give them adequate water and Finish Line®’s Electrocharge™, a fast-acting electrolyte that helps promote healthy hydration in your horses.
4. Consult with your veterinarian to compile a comprehensive first-aid kit in case of emergency. Be sure to have your horse’s health records, phone numbers of veterinarians along the way, medications or supplements, and all of the hay and grain necessary.
5. Ensure your trailer is well-ventilated. Ammonia buildup can hurt a horse’s respiratory system. Leave a stall fork nearby to clean manure and dirty shavings. If the trailer windows are positioned at height of horses’ heads, be sure there is a window screen to protect its eyes from debris and bugs.
6. Experts advise limiting daily driving times to less than 12 hours. If your trip is longer, unload and allow eight hours of rest before continuing. Keep in mind that when you’re calculating daily mileage, it takes longer to drive with a horse trailer than it takes to drive alone. When possible, transport horses untied in box stalls so they can face their preferred direction and rest their heads. This may also help clear airways of debris, bacteria and viruses that could lead to respiratory disease.
7. Check if any states you will be traveling to require a brand inspection. Do a search on State Veterinarian or Department of Agriculture for a specific state.
8. Consider installing a video monitor so you can see the horse from the cab of your vehicle.
9. When you arrive, look for any injuries that may have occurred during loading, traveling or unloading.
10. Tailor post-trip training based on the length of the travel. After short trips, give the horse 30 minutes of hand walking or turnout in a paddock, as well as water and hay. For trips longer than six hours, a horse may require a whole day before returning to training. Horses that have traveled more than 12 hours may need two or three days before performance.
Finish Line®’s U-7™ is an easy-to-use, very palatable vitamin/herbal blend that helps promote a healthy equine digestive system