Whether you’re moving home, heading to a national competition, or simply going on holiday and bringing your horse with you to enjoy the countryside, it is important that you have everything you and your horse need when you pack and prepare everything. As with children and other pets on long journeys, it is important that you are able to properly provide for your horse, because a long journey is tiring enough without everything else added on top of that.
Horses are social, intelligent creatures that deserve to be treated with respect, so it is essential that proper care is given to ensure that they remain in tip top shape when traveling on long journeys. Read on to find out our first class tips on making sure your horse stays happy and healthy throughout the journey, regardless of the length of your long distance travel.
Does the Trailer Properly Fit Your Horse?
If your horse trailer is too small or ill-fitting for your horse, you are guaranteed to have a bad time. If you bought the trailer to transport the horse as a foal, he or she may have grown out of it. Or perhaps you bought it second hand without checking the measurements, or you bought it online and it was smaller than described. Whatever your reasons for buying an ill-fitting trailer, that trailer is basically useless now. Get rid of it.
You want to make sure that your trailer is properly fitted to your horse, as they are the one that will be kept in the trailer for long periods of time. It is important that they are properly comfortable in the trailer during the trip. You will also want to make sure that the trailer is in good shape and doesn’t have any sharp edges or structural damage. Worn tires, tired brakes, and failing taillights are all signs of a trailer being on its last legs, so check everything thoroughly before you head out.
Go for Dummy Runs
As with taking a cat in a cat carrier, a horse will only recognize the trailer as a small, uncomfortable box in which they are kept for long periods of time. It is uncomfortable and they don’t like it, therefore, they will most likely kick up a fuss every time the trailer is brought out of storage. By building up your horse’s tolerance of long journeys by making dummy runs that gradually get longer, you can reduce the anxiety felt by the horse when you do eventually go on that long journey for real.
Pack a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen at any time. You need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst in all situations, so a well-stocked first aid kit for both you and your horse is a crucial part of any long distance journey. From a cut finger to a dislocated joint, a first aid kit will provide relief for the time being until you can get to a relevant doctor or vet. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Take Regular Breaks
Just as you should take a break every now and then to keep your stamina up and to make sure you aren’t falling asleep on the road, so should you take breaks for the sake of the well being of your horse. Check to make sure they are still comfortable and that they have a good supply of water. Top it off if need be.
Proper Bedding, Food and Water in the Trailer
Of course, you will need all the essentials including a good supply of cold water, the proper food for the trip, and bedding for your horse to reduce the stress on their joints and feet during the more taxing journeys. Even for shorter long journeys, having all the necessities there for your horse to reach should they need it is essential. You should never pack up for a long journey without giving your horse proper food, water and bedding.
While you may be eager to get going and get to your destination as soon as possible, it is important that you all get there in one piece and in relatively good health. A healthy horse is a happy horse and if you sacrifice the good health of your horse just to make the trip that bit quicker, you could be paying for it days or even weeks after the trip itself. It is really not worth all the fuss. Take it steady and check your horse regularly to make sure everything is fine. At the end of the day, this is still an animal that relies on you to look after it properly, so to shirk that duty just for the sake of time would be irresponsible and immoral.
This article was provide by passionate horse owner Sara Bryant working with Sussex and Surrey Horsebox Hire who were consulted over the content.
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