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5 Tips to Keep Your Horse Safe & Healthy when Traveling this Summer

Summer is an exciting time for horse owners, especially if your horse is participating in competitions or traveling to new places. However, there are several factors involved that require extra effort to make sure that your horse is safe and healthy on long-distance travels. Here are some tips to keep your horse safe, comfortable and healthy as you travel this summer and make sure that they’re at the top of their game.

Horse quoteTip# 1: Make Sure Your Trailer is Cool

If you’re buying a new or used trailer, check that it has proper ventilation in the form of air vents or large, open windows to ensure that your horse has the maximum amount of airflow available as it travels. Tom Scheve of EquiSpirit Trailer Company recommends using straight-load trailers instead of slant or manger-style alternatives since these allow for better airflow and comfort for your horse.

Scheve also states that “Single walls get as hot on the inside as they do on the outside” and to avoid using single wall trailers or trailers that have a dark exterior color since these can encourage and trap heat inside. One of the best ways to decide if the trailer you’re using is sufficiently ventilated and cool is to ride in one yourself. If you’re hot and sweaty by the end of the ride, chances are your horse will be, too.

Tip# 2: Decrease Travel Stress

For horses, stress can be a debilitating force, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. Cutting down on the stress related to travel can lead to a much more pleasant and safe environment for travelling with your horse this summer.

One of the most stressful things for your horse during travel is being confined to a trailer. Teaching your horse to load and unload without fuss is a great way to relieve these instinctive anxieties. Also, acclimating your horse to travel in short trips inside of a trailer instead of long ones can lead to better well-being since the horse becomes used to idea of traveling and it isn’t such unknown for them.

Tip# 3: Keep an Eye on Their Health

The best way to make sure that your horse is healthy when they’re traveling this summer is to make sure they’re healthy before they leave! Check and record your horses’ resting vital signs before traveling anywhere. Not only can these clue you in on how the horse is doing, but it will also help you make sure they are okay when they arrive. Also, since it may not always be obvious that your horse is sweating or overheated, check in on them every 3 to 4 hours and check on how they’re acting. Tests, like the pinch test, can be done at this time, as well, to make sure that the horses’ vitals are still running smoothly.

Tip# 4: Staying Hydrated

Since summer is typically the hottest season, it’s very important that your horse stays properly hydrated while traveling. Before leaving, make sure that you have enough water provisions for your horse. Stopping and giving your horses’ water every few hours is a good way to make sure that your horse stays healthy and hydrated, particularly since some horses are uncomfortable with drinking in a moving trailer. Also, as long as it’s safe, you can unload your horse during this time and let them stretch their legs which will give you time to notice whether something seems off about your horse and let you know how they’re acclimating to longer periods of travel.

Tip# 5: Leave the Heat Behind

Besides having a well-ventilated trailer, there are several other ways to insure that your horse is comfortable and safe from heat stress. Carolyn Stull, PhD. specializes in animal science and recommends placing rubber mats on the bottom of the trailer. She says that these help keep the heat away from the horses’ legs.

Other suggestions such as driving at night or during the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day, cooling off your trailer before loading your horse, and loading the horse only after everything else is ready to go are also excellent ways of making sure that your horse doesn’t get overheated while traveling and arrives at the destination healthy and ready to win!

 

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1 Comment
  1. While trailering the horse make sure your trailer is ventilated and cool, avoid traffic it could exhaust horse.

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