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Traveling With Your Horse
 By Winniefield Park   •   20th Dec 2017   •   1,044 views   •   0 comments
Most of us travel fairly short distances with our horses if we travel at all. But, perhaps you dream of going on a big adventure that lets you explore new territory and trails. Or, you’re taking that dream trip to a horse show several days drive away. Such journeys require careful planning, especially if you’re not sending your horse on ahead with a shipper. Before you put your horse on the trailer, here’s what you have to consider and plan.



If you’re crossing borders, even from state to state, you’ll need to make sure your horse’s shots are up-to-date and they are protected from diseases they may encounter along the way. Have vaccines and paperwork current and handy for any border crossings.

You want to protect your horse from the stress of travel. Feed and water following as normal a schedule as possible. Some might need extra feed, but some might need to be slowed down if they are worriers and bolt their food while you travel.

Shipping fever is always a concern when transporting horses. Make sure your horse is healthy to begin with. Two horses may travel better than one, as stress is known to be one of the reasons a horse’s immune system becomes suppressed during long hauls, leaving it more open to respiratory infections. Horses need to be protected from dust while you travel. They should be able to move their heads freely and hold them in a natural position as much as possible. This includes being able to eat in the head down position.

To reduce leg stress, dust-free bedding, rubber mats and a trailer that rides smoothly will keep your horse more comfortable. Leg wraps or boots protect and support your horse’s legs throughout the journey, but need to be checked frequently.

And of course, the type of trailer your horse rides in is going to make a big difference to its comfort on the road. Your trailer needs to be in top shape and have good suspension. If you’re doing a cross-continent tour, your little two horse with the stiff leaf springs might not be the best choice for the trip. And of course, your trailer needs to be big enough for your horse. While on the trailer you need to prevent the horse from getting chilled or overheated. This can mean adjusting ventilation or blanketing as the weather changes, which can sometimes happen in the space of a few hours.

And look after the driver. A bored or tired driver is a hazard. Take breaks every 2 to 3 hours. Switch drivers frequently if more than one person is taking the trip.

And before you head out, you’ll want to plan your route carefully. You’ll need to avoid very rough or hilly roads if possible. And, you probably want to stick to well-traveled routes, unless the whole point of the trip is to get off the beaten path. In that case, you need to prepare so you are confident enough to change a flat tire on your truck or trailer, deal with a horse’s medical emergency and other issues that might arise.

You won’t be driving 24X7, so you’ll need to plan your overnight stays. You have a few options on the road. But all will require planning, and perhaps reservations ahead of time.

BB&Bs and Horse Hotels
Many of us are familiar with B&Bs, but there are also BB&Bs. These bed, barn and breakfasts offer overnight accommodation for both horse and rider. Some offer just stabling, and others offer the ability to explore local trails or events with your horse. Horse motels may offer a place to stable your horse and park your trailer nearby other hotels where you can stay. These are often near sites of major equestrian parks or other places horses and their people gather. Just don’t assume, like the woman who took her horse to a Super 8, that you’ll be welcome at any hotel.

Private Farms
You might rely on a ‘friend of a friend’ for overnight stays at private stables and farms. You can’t just show up in their laneway, so you’ll need to arrange things in advance. As a guest at a private farm, the arrangements may vary. You might leave your horse there in a stall or portable stall set up by your trailer, while you go to a hotel or sleep in the house, living quarters of your trailer or in your tent. These are things you have to iron out with the farm owner before you start your trip.

Campgrounds
Some campgrounds are set up for horses, some will allow them, and some will not. Websites like http://www.campingandhorses.com/ can help you find the right campground on your route. Some campgrounds will have outdoor stalls, but most will not. You’ll definitely need your horse used to being picketed or in a portable stall.
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