From many years of hauling horses to shows and professional horse transportation services for a variety of owners, we at Sunlit Farm have come up with these tips for you.
Plan your route well in advance. Depending on how far you’re going, make sure you know there are plenty of easy off and on ramps to the freeways and highways you plan to take. Knowing where you are going in advance can make things so much easier on both you and the horses. Less stress is always good.
If your trip will be for more than one day, have places where you can offload your horse(s) for the night. While it’s not going to hurt the horse to stand in the trailer over one night, unless you’re heading to a show, it’s better if they can get their “land legs” back after a full day’s travel. It is surprisingly difficult to stand in a moving horse trailer. Don’t ask how I know this, but it is from personal experience! Your horse will thank you for the rest. I also suggest, unless absolutely necessary, that you try to avoid hauling horses in extreme heat. You can be sure your trailer is a good 30-50 degrees hotter than outside.
Be sure you stop at regular intervals to water your horse. The warmer and more humid it is outside, the more frequently you need to stop. Preferably bring along 5-10 gallons of water from home. Some trailers have an auxiliary water tank inside. Otherwise, bring a barrel or some sort of sealed container to water the horse from. As we do sometimes for shows, add flavored electrolytes to the horse’s water seven days in advance of your trip, then do the same to all water given to the horse during the trip. That way, when your own water supply runs short and you must refill your tank or barrel, you can add in the electrolytes and your horse will have a harder time noticing that he is drinking water from a strange place. Also try to bring enough feed for the horse from home to last your trip (unless, of course, you are delivering the horse for another owner ~ in which case it’s still best to bring enough to slowly switch the horse over.
Most importantly ~ DRIVE SLOWLY AND SAFELY, and be aware on the road!
A quick side note...
Congratulations to my friend Lori Lawrence on her unanimous U.S. National Championship in Half-Arabian English Pleasure AAOTR English Pleasure on her incredible gelding Adams Fire (Afire Bey V x Ritida-DHH)!! Three years in a row!! Adam goes in the Open Semi-Final/Final with Joel Kiesner on Friday night. That will be a don't miss class!
Congratulations also go out to my friend Kristi Waters on her U.S. National Championship in Arabian Stallion Breeding (Halter) AAOTH with her phenomenal stallion KM Bugatti (Versace x Sanegors Lady D)!! Bugatti competes again tomorrow morning in Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior horse with Peri Tilghman in the irons.