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Tips for Hauling or Traveling Long Distances with Your Horse

Posted by Country & Stable on 9th Apr 2024

Tips for Hauling or Traveling Long Distances with Your Horse

Traveling long distances with your horse is both exciting and nerve-wracking; we understand these challenges firsthand.

No matter, if it's for an upcoming equestrian event, training location, or just exploring new trails, making sure that your four-legged friend has an enjoyable journey should always be top of mind.

At Country & Stable, we're passionate about quality equestrian goods and ensuring your equine travelsare smooth and stress-free.

Preparing Yourself and Your Horse

Start your trip right by evaluating both you and your horse for their journey ahead. Do exercises to enhance strength, flexibility, and balance before setting out and seek veterinary advice should you have any concerns regarding your horse’s health that may impact their ability to travel long distances.

Ensuring your horse is physically prepared and healthy for the trip is paramount.

Check out our tips on what to do before, during, and after your journey.

Practice Drive

Before transporting your first horse, practice driving an empty trailer several times to gain experience navigating traffic and road obstacles. For longer journeys, it may be worth considering hiring professional haulers as well.

Choosing the Right Trailer

Choose the right transport method for you and your horse. Whether it is your own trailer, or a hired lorry, it is important that the vehicle is safe, well insulated and well ventilated. One of the most common risks of hauling is overheating so good air circulation is essential for the safety and wellbeing of your horse.

Packing and Loading

Create a checklist of items to pack for both you and your horse. From riding gear and medications to water and snacks, having everything you need will reduce last-minute stress.

When it comes to loading your horse, take your time. Be patient, and ensure your horse is balanced and calm.

Nutrition and Hydration

Keeping your horse well-fed and hydrated during the journey is paramount. While offering your horse a full meal before hitting the road might be tempting, opt for a lighter meal to avoid discomfort. Offering hay so that they can continually eat small amounts throughout the journey. As horses are grazers, they should eat little and often, with access to roughage around the clock.

Pack enough of their regular feed, plenty of fresh water for the journey, and their favorite treats.

Comfort and Safety

Creating a comfortable environment within the trailer reduces stress on your horse's body. For additional protection, consider using travel boots on your horse to reduce the bumps and injuries to their legs during travel.

Additionally, ensure that your halter and lead rope are in full working order for maximum safety. Fluffy halters are a popular choice when hauling as they can add extra padding and protection around the horse’s sensitive face. When tying your horse in the trailer use a ring tie or quick release tie to minimize the risk of injury and damage to the trailer if your horse pulls away.

Scheduled Breaks and Exercise

Just like us, horses need regular breaks during long journeys. A stop should be 30 to 60 minutes in length. Plan pit stops along your route to allow your horse to stretch its legs and have a snack. Encourage your horse to move around during these breaks to prevent stiffness.

Remind yourself that these breaks aren't only beneficial for your horse; they're also an opportunity for you to stretch and recharge.

Monitoring and Communication

Stay in close communication with your horse throughout their travels. Stay attuned to their well-being, watching for signs of stress or discomfort.

Thanks to modern technology, you can now use horse monitoring apps to keep track of your horse's vital signs. Keep your phone handy and maintain communication with fellow travelers or emergency services, just in case.

Trailer cameras are also a good way to monitor your horse whilst traveling. Knowing that your trusted companion is happy and well gives you peace of mind allows you to relax and concentrate on the road.

Adjusting to the Destination

Arriving at your destination doesn't mean the journey is over for your horse. Allow them time to adjust to the new environment, especially regarding climate and routine changes.

Prioritize rest and recovery before diving into any equestrian activities. This patience will ensure a smoother transition for your horse and a more enjoyable experience for both of you.

Your Top 5 Long-Haul Questions, Answered

Curious about long-hauling? We've got you covered with answers to your most pressing questions.

1) How often should I stop during a long journey?

Aim for a break every 3–4 hours. Let your horse stretch, offer water, and take a breather yourself.

2) Can I feed my horse while on the road?

Yes, but keep it light. Hay and small amounts of feed are okay; avoid heavy meals as the horse may become ill from traveling in the trailer.

3) How can I keep my horse calm during the trip?

The key is to be well prepared and calm yourself. Play soothing music and maintain a calm demeanor. Also drive slowly and watch out for wobbles and potholes that could distress your horse.

4) What safety and protective gear should I have in the trailer?

Always have a first aid kit, extra halters, lead ropes, and a cell phone for emergencies. It is also worth considering travel boots for your horse to avoid bumps to their legs.

5) I'm hauling an upcoming equestrian event. How much time does my horse need to recover from the trip?

Plan at least one day of rest after any six- to 12-hour haul and two or three for longer trips. Horses usually lose five to six percent of their body weight during a 24-hour journey due to dehydration and reduced feed intake, although half will likely return within 24 hours. So give the horse some time to rehydrate and recover before riding or competing.

Complete recovery may take seven days after transit has concluded, so plan for at least that long time ahead if your journey is exceptionally lengthy or challenging.

Safe travels!

Hauling your horse long distances doesn't need to be an intimidating ordeal if planned correctly and equipped with appropriate gear; by keeping in mind both their well-being and your own, unforgettable equestrian adventures await!

We're here to provide quality products that enhance your journey. Be sure to explore our selection and stay prepared for long-haul adventures - safe travels!