When fall begins to freeze the mornings and the sunrise smells like winter, it’s time to start prepping. It’s always better to start early than to mess around in the ice.
Your horses and barn might be ready for all weather, but are you ready to transport your equine companions in the ice if needed?
1. Prep Your Trailer
While your horses might be comfortable in your trailer during the summer months, there are a ton of ways that winter can make their experience worse.
The cold nights can cause any metal in your trailer to contract and expand, which means inspecting weak points before winter. Preemptively repairing them can be vital to your cold weather transportation. Wintertime trailers aren’t just about making your horse comfortable and warm; it’s about safety. And truck repair is just as important when looking at viable wintertime equestrian transport.
2. Keep Truck Repairs in Mind
During the colder months, car repairs can become more difficult to deal with, and having a reliable vehicle becomes more important as snow and slush take hold on the earth. Without a functioning automobile, your horse trailer is nothing but a shed on wheels.
While you might be an eco-friendly horse owner who uses their old, broken down cars for parts and pieces, leaving that old junker around won’t do you long-term good. 98% of your old clunker can be recycled, which means that if you can’t use all of its parts, now is the time for it to be hauled away. Ensuring you don’t get caught in a bind means that you have time to consider and save for a new vehicle rather than grabbing whatever is available.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your horse-hauler sticks around for another winter. Getting it checked with a mechanic is a great idea if you aren’t mechanically minded; switching to winter-oil on your next oil change can be helpful; and of course, checking your tire pressure regularly is a good precaution. It may also be useful to find a heated place to store your vehicle, as extreme cold can drain or crack batteries, along with a variety of other factors. Winter repairs can be a pain, so why not prep for them before the slush hits?
3. Think of Paperwork, Permits, and Safety
If you’re moving horses this year, filing your paperwork is very important.
If you plan on importing horses into the U.S., know that the busy season for horse importing is from November through March. You'll need to book import quarantine stations in advance to ensure things run smoothly. Different states also have different permit requirements for transporting horses. Keeping yourself informed can prevent you from getting a big ticket or having to stop at the border for a prolonged period of time.
Teaching your horse how to safely get in and out of the trailer and feel comfortable once inside can have a large impact on your horse’s well-being. While it might sound easier to tranquilize them, unless recommended by a veterinarian, it’s not the best way to go. Tranquilizing your horse can cause them emotional and physical distress. You can also bandage their feet to make them feel more comfortable.
Ensuring your ability to move your horse is important, especially during the winter months. Checking your trailer and truck is a big part of that. As always, check local laws and make sure your horse is comfortable in their trailer.