Road trips are always fun, but when traveling with horses, you have to consider many things. Every time horses enter a trailer, and they are always at risk. They may receive minor injuries just from being placed onto the trailer. Worse, they can sustain severe injuries during the trip because these animals get spooked easily and could lose their balance.
When transporting horses, it is important to prepare and secure the trailer and ensure that the horse has proper headstalls and other safety equipment. Trailer accidents can happen and may threaten the well-being of your horse.
Here are a few safety tips to follow when traveling with horses on either short or long journeys.
Get a Clean Bill of Health
Make sure your horses are up to date with their vaccines and allow a vet to visit them before the trip. Never ride with sick horses as they are more prone to shipping fever and other travel-related diseases. USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) encourages horse owners to follow organizations like the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and EDCC (Equine Disease Communication Center) to be aware of disease outbreaks for horses.
Train Your Horses to Travel
The best way to prevent injuries during travel is to train your horse. Slowly train your horses to enter a trailer calmly and make them accept the trailer and deem it as non-threatening. Never force train horses as this can discourage them and view the container as a threat.
Check The Trailer Ventilation
Horses are sensitive to dust and harmful gasses like ammonia that is present in urine and manure. Open the vents and windows of the horses’ trailers to regulate airflow. If you are worried about your horses getting cold, you can place a blanket on them appropriate for the temperature. However, never let them get too hot as an overheated horse is prone to dehydration.
Ensure the Trailer is Safe
You have to ensure the durability of the trailer. You owe it your horse to make sure the floors, axles, and hitches of the container are capable of holding them throughout the road trip. Consult with a professional to check everything from the tires, wiring to the hitch of the trailer at least once a year.
Plan Regular Breaks During the Trip
It is ideal to stop for a break during the road trip every four to six hours, depending on your journey’s length. Taking breaks let you monitor your horses and check for any signs of stress or discomfort. Ensure to offer them water and hay during these breaks.
Always keep in mind when transporting horses that you are carrying live cargo, so you have to drive accordingly. Never jostle your horses around as this can stress them out or make them lose their balance, injuring them in the process.
Transporting horses can be challenging, and you have to consider various things to ensure their safety and well-being. It is always best to take precautionary measures to ensure the well-being of your horse during long journeys.