Beautiful bay horse looking out the back of a horse transport trailer

Tips to Prepare for the Best Horse Transport Experience

From taking part in regional championships to relocation, there are various reasons to hire horse transport services to get your horses from one place to another. Many horse owners haul their horses across the country on their own, while others use horse transport services such as Rogersville Horse Transportation to transport them to other parts of the United States. Whether the horses are being transported via horse trailer, by flight, or even on a boat, it is important to ensure that the journey is as smooth as possible and there are no delays. Here is a detailed guide on how you can ensure the safe transportation of your horses.

Factors to Consider Before Transportation

The best way to ensure that your horse arrives at its destination happy and healthy is to take proper precautions before starting the journey. If your horse is sick, moving it to a new place may worsen its condition. So, you’ll want to keep it home until it has improved.

1. Consult a Veterinarian before Transporting Horses

Likewise, even if your horses are apparently hale and hearty, we still highly recommend that they be medically evaluated before they are transported. Speak to your veterinarian and know about all the blood tests, vaccinations, and other paperwork that needs to be done. Different states have different rules, so make sure you are aware of them before making the trip to avoid hassles and complications.

2. Update Your Horse's Health Record Before Transport

You will also need to ensure that your horse’s health record is up to date whether you are driving it yourself or have hired a professional horse transportation service to make the trip. A lot of times, you will need the health record of your horse for administrative purposes when crossing state lines. It’s also a good idea to keep the phone number of the veterinarian when moving your horse. It will help you get immediate assistance when needed during the trip.

3. Train Your Horse for the Trailer

Start training your horse to load and ride in a trailer well before the travel date. It will help decrease the feeling of anxiety and can help make it less afraid of the experience.  If your horses have not traveled before, you will need to help them to be stable in a trailer and used to this type of confinement.

4. Dehydration and Electrolytes

Often horses can become dehydrated during shipping. You want to ensure they are drinking water mixed with electrolytes regularly a few days before the start of the trip. Certain electrolytes, antioxidants, and vitamins will help your animal recover quickly from the horse transportation process. Limit the amount of grain you give to the horse a few days before, during, and at least one day after the trip.

Horse loading on a trailer at Rogersville Horse Transportation

Choose the Best Horse Hauling Trailer

Pick a van or a trailer that is suited to the size of your horse and disposition. There should be enough ventilation in the vehicle as the temperature inside the vehicle can be up to 20 degrees higher than the outside temperature. The horse transport trailer should allow plenty of room for the horse to graze during the trip. Also, it’s recommended to clean your horse before traveling.

Prevent Exhaustion by Planning Breaks

Any travel more than three hours is considered long-distance and needs more planning than short-distance trips. However, shorter trips should also be well thought out to prevent exhaustion in your horse. Plan in such a way to limit the length of the journey to minimize travel time. And whenever possible try to avoid rush hours and minimize your stops at refueling stations. Unexpected delays can cause unnecessary stress for the horse.

Make stops at least every three to six hours and even more often if you are traveling in hot climates. During travel, the stress in horses can lead to health problems like diarrhea, colic, dehydration, or respiratory diseases. So, make sure you are bringing an adequate amount of water and feed for the trip.

Body Weight Loss

It is common for horses to lose weight during transport. A horse may lose up to 0.45 to 0.55% of its total body weight every hour of transport. The weight loss happens due to several different reasons such as sweating, dehydration, change in food intake, urine excretion, and others. 

If you notice your horse losing a similar amount of weight during transportation, don’t be alarmed. They tend to regain weight over the next few days if they are healthy. Before travel, it is critical to weigh the horse to form a baseline for comparison with the weight after the horse has reached its destination.

Two horses enjoying some hay in a horse hauling trailer

Other Important Health Considerations

It is important to avoid transportation of a sick horse other than to the clinic or the hospital as it can make the situation worse. If your horse has a respiratory illness, the importance of avoiding transportation cannot be stressed enough. Horses with fever, nasal discharge, or infectious respiratory diseases should not be transported. Neither should other horses be exposed to them during these kinds of conditions.

Medication during Travel

It is best to avoid any unnecessary medications a few days before they travel. Medications, even therapeutic substances, can have an adverse effect on the horse and worsen the traveling experience. Tranquilizers, although not recommended unless absolutely necessary, should only be administered by a qualified veterinarian.

Battling the Bugs

While flies and insects can be an issue around the barn, they often won’t be as much of an issue while on the road. However, if you are traveling through insect-infested areas, make sure to keep the trailer clean and keep the food stored securely. Use repellant sprays on the horses to efficiently protect them from flies and other flying insects. Keep your horse up to date with annual booster shots against mosquito-borne diseases.

Protective Bandages

Bell boots or bandages are great for leg protection during travel for horses who are accustomed to it. If not, they can be more of a liability as they can contribute to your horse feeling stressed. However, you can train your animals to wear protective bandages if you are considering using them while transporting a horse.

With proper consideration, you can ensure that your horse travels to its destination in the least stressful and safest manner. Irrespective of how well your horse has traveled, it is important to give them time to recover from it. Avoid putting them back to work right after the trip. For short distances, a full day’s rest should be sufficient, while for longer distances, recovery can take anywhere from two to three days.

Preparing for Emergencies

In consultation with your veterinarian, make a first aid kit and keep it in the vehicle. Some of the essential items in your first aid kit include adhesive wrap and tape, sterile bandage material, scissors, rectal thermometer, leg wraps, latex gloves, and antiseptic solution.

Owner Tony Russo washing down his horse transport vehicles

Get Professional Horse Transportation

When you want to hire a friendly, professional horse hauler, Rogersville Horse Transportation provides horse hauling services that are caring, safe, and reliable. We would love to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us at 417-207-1820. However, you may get a faster reply if you use our contact form here.

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