As I have been thinking about our big trip this coming Saturday I thought it might be a nice idea to share my hauling strategy and see if anyone has any advice or tips of their own to share. Please remember- this is what we do for long distance hauling. Before any trip please discuss with your veterinarian.
Before we go
Medications: Ulcergard starting two days before to ensure no GI upsets
Water: Flavor and electrolytes to water two days before. This will ensure the horse gets nice and hydrated. The flavor allows you to mask the taste and smell of other water sources, in case they are picky
Exercise: horses travel best when in their top shape. This is why we will continue training until the night before we leave.
On the road
Trailering: I decided to haul my horse in a box stall in my trailer. I have a two horse slant load and I will be keeping the divider open. I added a bag of sawdust and a bag of shavings on top of it. This will allow for absorption of urine and a comfortable place to stand (or lay).
Tying: Because I am using a box stall, my horse will not be tied. I will also take her halter off, which has sheepskin padding on the nose for other travel times or if I need to take her out of the trailer during this 10 hour trip.
Stops: We will stop every 3 hours for at least 20 minutes to rest and give water (with flavoring)
Feeding: I will wet down plenty of hay and put it on the ground. Hay bags are OK, but it is best to keep the horse in as natural of a position as possible. Also, by not tying my horse, we will have less of a chance of shipping sickness which can be caused by having a horse’s head tied high and not being able to cough properly as needed. I will bring enough hay for the trip a few days after arrival to ensure no GI upsets
Water: If possible we will bring 50 gallons of water from the current barn. Sometimes this is not an option (weight, packaging) so the flavoring can help with the change.
Blanketing: Even though it is cold (30F) my horse will not wear a blanket. At each stop I will evaluate if the windows need to be opened or closed. A trailer ride for a horse is like a consistent powerful walk. They get very tired and hot during rides.
Driving: Because my horse will not be confined to a small slant load stall I will need to be especially careful not to make sudden stops or starts. This is because she may not be leaning up against anything at times. Also, turns will be easy and slow.
Things needed for cross-state travel:
Vet records with vaccination history
A negative coggins within 6 months
A health certificate within 30 days
These items will all be kept in my vehicle for easy access
After we arrive
My horse will be walked around for about 20 minutes to stretch and relax. She will then be put in a nicely bedded, sanitized stall with her normal hay, grain, and water overnight.
The next day she will be turned out in a small round pen for a few hours to stretch and relax, also being fed her normal feed schedule. She will not be worked for about a week as traveling 10 hours can take a horse a month to recover fully from.
Depending on how she is acting, I may turn her out in a medium sized pasture, alone, to move as she chooses.