Traveling Long Distance With Your Horse: Take These Steps To Reduce Stress

Traveling with your horse can be fraught with stress because you want to make sure that you do everything right and that your horse is comfortable and safe. Having the right horse trailer and making sure that it's in good condition is an important part of making things easier on you and your horse. Here are some important steps to take.

Keep your horse's point of view in mind when selecting your trailer.

Your horse's natural instincts go against being stuck in a trailer, which automatically puts stress on the poor fellow. The increased stress can actually impair your horse's immune system and make him or her more susceptible to disease. To reduce the stress, you need to look at the following needs from your horse's perspective:

  • The size: you want your horse to be able to stand with his or her feet spread wide and his or her head and neck in a natural position, which helps your horse balance. While most horses will fit a standard size trailer, a slightly larger model with an 11' stall and a 7'8" height can be far more comfortable.
  • The lighting: you want a trailer that is open as possible and has plenty of window space or slats for visibility. A light-colored metal or painted interior can also make the trailer seem more open.
  • The safety: there should be no sharp edges or anything sticking out that could harm your horse, including tie-rings and latches. Ramps should be low and long and include quick release emergency pulls in case there's an accident.
  • The ventilation: your trailer needs to be well ventilated. Aside from side vents, adequate roof ventilation can help keep hot air out of the trailer, including the gasses from manure and urine. That can go a long way toward reducing the possibility of respiratory infections.

Take preventative measures long before the actual transport.

There are several different things that you can do that will help you reduce your horse's stress from the very beginning of transport:

  • Make sure that your horse's vaccinations are up to date prior to the transport, within 10-14 days prior to the trip.
  • Clean out the trailer carefully before the trip. Making sure that the trailer is stripped of all old hay and washed of animal waste is key to preventing infections in your house.
  • Practice loading and unloading the horse from the trailer on a regular basis. By loading and unloading your horse into the trailer and taking short trips on a regular basis, your horse can become acclimated to the loading process and reduce anxiety and stress from the start.
  • Start adding electrolytes to your horse's water the day before the transport and continue using them until a couple days after. That can help encourage your horse to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Some experts recommend that you should also start flavoring your horse's water a few days before the trip. That can reduce your horse's reluctance to drink water that tastes different than what he or she is used to at home.

Transporting your horse a longer distance than usual doesn't have to be overly stressful. Just make sure that you start with the right trailer and take a few precautionary steps to acclimate your horse to the whole process ahead of time and you and your equine companion should both be able to travel comfortably. For more information, contact companies like Colorado Trailers Inc.