During competition season, horses see an increased amount of time on the road in transit. Some horses are even flown across continents for breeding purposes. For anyone preparing to transport their horse for the first time, it is important to have an idea of the physical and psychological toll that such activity has on your equine friend. From shipping fever to transport stress, there are a number of negative outcomes that you as an owner need to be aware of. That way, you can ensure that your horse remains happy and healthy during its journey.
Travel preparations should start well in advance of the actual departure date. About a month before you plan on shipping out, make sure you take your horse to the vet for a check-up to make sure it is healthy enough for travel. The vet will perform a Coggins test for equine infectious anemia as well as update all of the horse’s shots. The five main vaccinations that every horse needs before traveling are tetanus, Eastern equine encephalomyelitis, Western equine encephalomyelitis, rabies and West Nile. However, keep in mind that your vet likely won’t vaccinate your horse if it is sick, as its immune system is preoccupied with fighting the illness. In addition, a vaccination administered while a horse is ill may not be as effective. If the horse is approved for travel, the vet will issue a certificate of veterinary inspection.
Transportation is inevitably a stressful time for your horse. When under stress, increased levels of cortisol are released into the horse’s bloodstream. This cortisol overload has a measured effect on the ability of its immune system to fight off infections. As a result, horses often develop illnesses after being transported for long periods of time. In order to allow your horse time to fight off any disease, it may have picked up in transit, be sure to allow for a three-day rest period when you arrive at your destination. Trips over 2 hours can be taxing. Stress Management is key and we recommend thinking ahead by adding Ship Well and U7 a month prior to a long trip.
In addition, there are steps you can take before loading your horse that will help to mitigate the effects of a high-stress transportation environment. Ideally, you will want to familiarize your horse with the transportation process from a young age. Doing so will make your horse more willing to enter its trailer as it is not a new experience. For horses that have not been familiarized and are showing resistance to getting in their trailer, ask a vet about tranquillizers that could be used to calm the horse’s nerves during transport. You may also want to inquire about natural alternatives to tranquillizers, such as Thia-Cal™ and Quia-Cal®.
When moving a horse across state, or even country, lines, it is important to take into account the animal’s health and wellbeing.
Some products to consider before you transport your horse:
Ship-Well: Shipping horses can put your horse’s immune system at major risk which is why our research team developed SHIP-WELL! Formulated to support a balanced immune system.
Easy Rider: Recommended to promote relaxation with a sense of mental alertness without the drowsiness.
Thia-Cal™ promotes healthy nerves in your horse in a daily feed supplement. This is a potent Thiamine and Magnesium supplement balanced with Calcium.
Quia-Cal® is a fast-acting one-shot oral paste that promotes healthy nerves in your horse. Use as an aid in the prevention of minor nervousness during times of stress.