Travelling with your horse is something that you would probably have to do. It could be a lot of fun but can turn to a real nightmare if you don’t take the proper precautions. It is very important to pay attention to a lot of details if you want your horse to stay healthy and happy after a long ride. In this article we will highlight the main travelling tips that you need to pay attention to:
Plan the trip. This includes preparing enough food and water to give to your horse at every stop which could be every 6 to 8 hours. That could be about 1 hay bag for every horse. You can add electrolytes to the water that the horse drinks and it is usually advised to do that a day or 2 before travelling as this will keep the horse more hydrated on the go. Some horses refuse to drink water that tastes different from the one they always drink and this is why flavored water is very important to use a few days or weeks before the travel as the horse will get used to drinking water that tastes a bit different.
Have all the documents ready. This includes all the vaccination papers, permits and passports. The requirements of each state or city will be different so you must ask before you plan the trip about the documentation you need. It is very important to discuss the travel plan with your vet if you want to know about vaccination paper you need to prepare.
Train your horse. Before travelling, it will be a good idea to get your horse accustomed with the trailer, loading and unloading. This can help you avoid a stressful time on the road. If your horse is well trained, it won’t get scared or stressed while loading and unloading. You must make sure that the horse feels comfortable in the travel boots and that it feels OK inside the trailer.
Prevent shipping fever. This is a very common condition that affects horses when they travel. It is characterized by a strong cough that could last for weeks. In order to avoid shipping fever, you must make sure that your horse is not sick before travelling. Shipping fever is a bacterial infection that affects horses that have a problem with their immunity system. It also affects stressed horses, so it is better to bring another horse along and to avoid transporting your horse on its own. Make sure that your horse is comfortable enough to drop its head while travelling to clear its respiratory tract as this can lead to serious health problems. The trailer should be wide enough and well ventilated to avoid putting too much pressure on the horse. You can also stimulate your horse’s immunity system by giving it Vitamin C supplements a day or two before travelling.
Monitor your horse. It is very important to pay attention to your horse’s vital sign by monitoring them at each stop. Measure the horse’s temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate at each stop to check that they are within the normal range. If there is any problem then you should stop travelling until your horse has recovered. Check the gum of the horse and the skin on its neck for signs of dehydration. If your horse is dehydrated then it must rest until it is fully hydrated before your resume your journey.
Include a bedding in a trailer. Including bedding in a trailer could help reduce the stress on the joints of the knees and feet. If your horse is travelling in an open stock trailer, including bedding might not be the best idea. But you can always place a mask on your horse’s face to protect it from flying dust particles that could cause infection.
Things to do after the journey. After the journey, it is very important to check your horse and its vital signs. Normally your horse will show interest in food and water within 2 hours after it has arrived to their final destination. If your horse takes a longer time then you must consult the vet. Normally your horse’s immunity system will get to normal within 24 hours, so you must avoid straining your horse until it has fully recovered from the journey.