Hauling horses is a big responsibility and can be nerve racking at best. Here are some tips to keep you and your horse safe on the road when hauling long distances.
If hauling long distances, more than a couple of hours, it is a good idea to
use leg wraps. When horses stand in a trailer for long periods of time without
moving, their legs will begin to retain fluid. This is referred to as “stocking
up”. This can cause the horse minor discomfort and cause the joints to become
stiff. The movement of the trailer,
stopping and starting and bumping up and down on rough roads can put extra
stress on the tendons and ligament in the legs. Wrapping the horses’ legs with
a layer of cotton batting or quilted pads under a polo wrap provides just enough
restriction on the legs to prevent swelling during the trip. Most importantly,
the wraps provide support against the added stress that hauling causes to the
tendons and ligaments.
Avoid feeding grain during the haul. Before hauling long distances, it is best to avoid feeding grain less than an hour before leaving. It is also a good idea to reduce the grain by half to reduce chances of colic. Always carry banamine paste or an injection in case of colic. If you notice signs of colic along the trip, find a place to unload and walk the horse after administering the medication. This may interrupt your plans a bit, but then again, there is no convenient time for a horse to colic. The best advice is to take precautions to prevent a colic and be prepared if your horse does experience colic while on the road.
If you are going to be hauling more than four hours, it is best to stop and give the horse a break. Plan ahead and find a safe place to stop to unload your horse if possible. This is good for the horse just as it is for humans to be able to get out and move around a little. Offer the horse water but don’t be too concerned if they are not interested in drinking. Some horses will refuse water until they are settled in to where they are going. Just keep an eye on the horse for signs of dehydration. If the horse has refused water again by the second stop, you may want to administer an electrolyte paste. I would not recommend unloading the horse at a rest stop or anywhere along a roadway. You never want to place you or your horse in a dangerous situation. If the horse were to spook and bolt away from you it could be detrimental.
If you are traveling more than eight or ten hours, it is recommended that you find a place to keep the horse stalled or in a pasture overnight. There are many stables and farms that offer overnight boarding to travelers with horses. Do some research online and contact stables along your route and inquire about an overnight stay. Some places even offer bed and breakfast accommodations as well.
Keeping your horse calm and comfortable during your trip
will reduce illnesses and injuries along the way and will give you peace of
mind knowing you’ve done all you can to ensure a safe and successful trip!
Check out this nationwide travel directory for stop overs along the way! http://www.horsemotel.com/
Also check out this related article on How to properly wrap your horses legs
If you are actively riding your horse, you have a built in fitness program for yourself and you may not even realize it! Horseback riding is excellent exercise. Why spend money on gym memberships and fancy workout equipment. Get your horse out of the barn and ride!The Rider's Fitness Program: 74 Exercises & 18 Workouts Specifically Designed for the Equestrian