Traveling with horses can be quite stressful, less so if you’re hauling them in a high-quality vehicle, like an Equine Motorcoach.
What can make things more difficult is if you’re traveling to places, or on routes, that you’ve never had experience driving to or on before! If you’re new to traveling with horses, or have experience but need to brush up before getting on the road, read on to learn some general tips that could make for a safer, better trip, for human and horse alike.
Get a Health Checkup at the Vet
It’s important that your horse has the right vaccinations that will protect them from diseases they are at risk to catch during their travels. If you’re taking your horse to the east coast, or through the south, then their chances of getting rabies are higher than, say, in the Pacific Northwest, where rabies cases are fairly uncommon compared to the aforementioned regions. Check with your vet before going on the trip–they ought to know which vaccinations are appropriate for your horse to get based on your planned route and destination.
Some state borders require shows of paperwork showing that your horse is in good health. A health certificate, negative Coggins test, and a Brand inspection are among the papers you ought to have handy in case you get stopped at a state border.
Reduce Stress for Your Horse
Even if your horses are healthy when stepping into the trailer, there are many factors that can go into making a horse sick during travels, but keeping their stress levels down is an easy way to ensure they stay healthy.
For one, make sure your horses have enough food and drink to suffice them. A good general rule is to have a hay bag for each horse, although it could pay to over-prepare. Keeping your horse hydrated is a necessity, of course. Be sure to give them a water break at every rest stop, and measure their vital signs as well to make sure they’re in good shape.
If you can, make sure you have more than one horse in the trailer. Horses are happier when they have buddies, and is a simple way to reduce their stress levels is to keep them from being lonely.
The trailer/ motorcoach should be more than just the shuttle for your horse to get from Point A to Point B. Put nice bedding in there so your horses stay well rested and their joints less stressed. Keep a full first-aid kit in there in case anything goes wrong. Have a fly mask available for your horse to keep harsh particles from flying in their face. Invest in leg boots/bandages for your horse so their legs don’t face any undue stress. It is also important to have sufficient air flow in the form of drop down windows and/or AC.
Take Plenty of Rest Stops
Ideally, you should be stopping every 2-3 hours to check up on your horse. Long trips can be stressful and frightening for horses, so keeping consistent contact with them, and feeding them and giving them water, is key to making sure the trip goes smoothly.
To prepare your horse for a longer trip, it can be helpful to take them on “trial runs,” where you drive them around in a trailer/motorcoach on a Sunday afternoon to get them more used to traveling and loading into a trailer/motorcoach, and to get more comfortable with those quarters.
We hope you learned a thing or two from this article, and we wish everyone to have happy and safe travels with their horses!
If you are interested in learning more about how an Equine Motorcoach could be a game changer for your equine travels, contact us!