Monday, February 15, 2016

Horse Travels: On the Road Again

On The Road Again...

Training to load

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. 
~Winston Churchill

Training a horse to load takes patience and preparation. It can be quite unnerving for a horse to walk on a ramp and into a small space; take things a step at a time and remain calm. There are many different approaches to loading a horse, so use a method that neither frightens nor punishes your horse, nor presents a safety risk to either you or your horse.

Try not to use bribes to get your horse up the day when it is really important blackmail may not work. If you wish to use food as a reward, give a small feed in the trailer once the horse has loaded. If your horse has a known loading or travelling problem due to a bad experience or journey, be prepared to look at every aspect of your horse’s training and the type of transporter you are using. You may need to enlist the help of someone more experienced, but be happy with the methods they plan to use to help load your horse.

Horses need to be transported for a variety of reasons, from occasional journeys such as moving home, changing owner or visiting the vet, to more frequent traveling to attend shows or events. Whatever the reason or frequency of the journey, it is important that the horse is safe and comfortable in order to minimize stress. Horse owners need to be fully prepared for any eventuality, ensuring that their horse is  happy to be loaded and to travel as needed. 

Once your horse is loading happily, move onto short trips. Don't make your first trip a show trip! Shows stress both of you. By taking small steps and remaining calm and patient, the end result should be that both you and your horse are happy to travel, whatever the destination.

Travel clothing from head to tail

Horses should wear protective travel clothing to protect them from injury and to ensure that they stay safe and comfortable during loading and the journey itself. The equipment and clothing used should be well-fitting, and meet both the surrounding conditions and the needs of the individual animal.

Here's our checklist of must-haves:
  1. Leather Head Collar
  2. Poll Guards
  3. Sweat/Cooler Rugs
  4. Leg Protectors & Bandages
  5. Tail Guards & Bandages

With all of the above equipment, it is essential that the horse be used to it and happy and comfortable wearing it.  Many horses react to protective leg wear and can feel restricted by it, so spend time with your horse playing "dress up". The time spent practicing is invaluable.

And don't forget:
  1. Health Certificates
  2. Food (fresh hay)
  3. Water
Types of vehicle and driver considerations

Using a Horse Float, Horse Truck or Goose-neck depends on personal choice, finances and requirements. Internal designs can vary greatly and again can depend on personal choice, taking into consideration the type and size of horse. The options are to transport the horse facing forwards, backwards, or herring-bone (on a slant). Whichever you choose, be sure that there is sufficient (but not too much) space for your horse, allowing it to brace around corners and when braking. Too much room can allow the horse to fall over during traveling and be far more tiring. The trailer or truck should be light and airy, allowing your horse plenty of headroom, and allowing him to stand straight within the space.

To provide a comfortable journey, the truck or trailer should be of solid and sound construction, with good quality, non-slip rubber flooring, padded partitions, and a ramp with matting or a rubber surface. The ramp angle should be as shallow as possible, without too great a step onto the ramp

You know you're a horse person when

you pull a $17,000 horse trailer with a $1,000 pick-up truck.


The abilities of the driver can make or break a good traveler. Do not assume that you can drive a truck or tow a trailer without adapting your normal car-driving style. You have to think about the ride for the horse – how and when you brake is entirely different when carrying a live load, as are considerations of cornering, stopping and accelerating. Better to arrive late than not at all.


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