There are tons of activities that you can take part in when you travel with your horse – from clinics to horse shows to trail rides, traveling with your horse opens up all sorts of opportunities. Before you load up your trailer, though, check out these six tips to help you keep your horse healthy while traveling.
Vaccinate Ahead of Time
Make sure that your horse has all of his vaccinations before you expose him to other horses. Vaccinating your horse just a few days before you travel won’t protect him, since your horse’s body needs time to create antibodies once given the vaccine. Aim to have your horse vaccinated at least a month before you’ll be traveling, and be sure to keep copies of his vaccination records and Coggin’s report with you when you travel.
Use Protective Shipping Gear
The simple act of using shipping gear can help to prevent potential injuries to your horse during travel. Outfit your horse with shipping boots which provide generous coverage to his legs. You may also choose to add a head bumper or other gear, depending on how well your horse tends to travel.
Schedule Plenty of Breaks
If you’re shipping a long distance, then make sure that you take a break every few hours to give your horse water and to give him a chance to stretch his legs. If you’ll be driving for more than 10 or so hours a day, then it’s a good idea to schedule an overnight stay at a stable so that your horse can get off the trailer and get the rest that he needs.
Travel With the Trailer Windows Open
Don’t forget to make sure that the trailer windows are open when you travel. It’s important to provide your horse with ventilation, especially since methane can build up in the trailer. Increased ventilation can reduce the chance of your horse developing a respiratory issue. Just make sure that there is a screen across the windows to keep debris from flying into the trailer.
Bring Feed and Water From Home
Always bring a supply of water and feed from home. Having your horse’s normal water and feed on hand helps to prevent a shock to his digestive system. Many horses have a very keen sense of taste, and may not want to drink the water at a different location. Load up large coolers or jugs of water from home so that you can encourage your horse to keep drinking.
Monitor Your Horse’s Temperature
If you’re in an area with many other horses, then it’s a good idea to monitor your horse’s temperature at least twice a day. A temperature increase can indicate that your horse is getting sick, so call the vet and get your horse treated right away if he develops a temperature.
What other ways do you help to keep your horse healthy while traveling?