Horses do not fare well on the highway, so you need to take precautions before bringing your animal on a long journey. Here are some essential steps to take before hitting the road.
Loading And Unloading
Before transporting your horse for the first time, you need to train him or her to safely load and unload into the horsebox. For experienced trainers, this should not be too much of a challenge. Untraveled horses with novice trainers need a few days of training in earnest before being able to load safely every time.
Make sure to thoroughly clean your horse before committing it to a long journey. Handlers, drivers and anybody else that needs to physically come into contact with your equine companion will thank you for handing over a glossy haired specimen instead of a dirty and unhappy animal.
Food And Drink
Make sure to provide hay and water for your horse on its journey. Just Hay and water might not be enough, however. Horses are sensitive creatures and many struggle to drink water whilst on the move. Studies have found that horses drop around 5 percent of their bodyweight on average during long journeys. It may be worth adding extra electrolytes to your horse’s diet before a journey to compensate. Electrolytes are salts that increase the ability of the body to hydrate itself during equine transport. Horse transport over long distances necessitates a period of recovery before any kind of competition or hard work.
There are many safety challenges that you will face when taking a horse on a long journey. Most obviously, the horsebox or trailer needs to be correctly locked while in transit to avoid an escape onto the road. Protect your horse’s hooves by wrapping them appropriately. Hooves can be injured by metal partitions during travel if left naked. Let your horse out of the box every few hours for a break. This will also allow the animal to clear mucus from its nasal pathways, which can become a risk during long trips.
Make sure to pack any documentation you need. Horses need passports when traveling across borders and you may need to show documentation in order to enter an event.
Are They Healthy Enough To Travel?
Not all horses are healthy enough to take to the road. Long highway journeys can be very taxing on a horse if they are old, ill or frail. Ultimately, the owner of the horse is likely to be the person who knows just how healthy their animal is. If you are not sure, book a visit from the vet. A quick check should be all it takes to determine whether your horse is up to the challenge of being transported a long distance. Weaker animals may benefit from being in a fully enclosed horsebox truck. Open backed trailer horseboxes are more stressful and cramped. Despite horses being stationary during travel, the movement of the trailer on the road means that they constantly have to shift their weight around. This means that weak and ill horses can end up exhausted by the end of a trip.