Blog Exclusive with Equi-Trek: Travelling Your Horse
Leading horsebox and trailer manufacturer, Equi-Trek, shares advice on travelling horses to ensure a safe and stress-free journey for you and your horse.
1. Preparing your horse for travel
Correctly fit leg and tail protection and make sure you use a leather headcollar as it will break more easily than a nylon one in an emergency.
Choose an appropriate rug for the temperature outside but don’t over-rug – sweating due to excess heat is worse that a horse that is a bit cool.
Check you have any documentation you will need for your journey and be sure you won’t exceed your payload. Equi-Trek has the market leading payload on all models due to the use of carbon fibre technology and the fact that this saves at least 100kg as well as being completely wood free.
2. Pre-travel vehicle checks
It goes without saying that all horseboxes and trailers must be correctly maintained and serviced in line with the manufacturer’s warranty.
Regular checks must be made to tyres, brakes, fluid levels, windscreen wipers, lights, battery, and ramp. It is important to remember that not all manufacturers use aluminium flooring like Equi-Trek do.
Thoroughly check your vehicle or trailer before every trip and adjust the partition so it is in the correct place for your horse.
Ensure any haynets are correctly tied and are high up so the horse can’t become tangled in one. Make sure you don’t forget to pack the essentials such as food, water, rugs and a horse and rider first aid kit.
3. Loading your horse
Always load in a quiet and secure area and ensure your vehicle or trailer is parked on flat ground so that the ramp is level. Never rush loading and allow plenty of time so your horse is calm and relaxed when setting off. If the horse is difficult to load make sure you have someone on hand to help you and always load with suitable footwear, gloves and a hat.
Many horses don’t load well with a split half ramp as there is too much for them to process all at once – not only are they stepping on to the ramp but they are also putting their head into the horse box and moving straight inside. A low and inviting full ramp allows the horse to get all four hooves onto the ramp before going inside, breaking the process down.
Safety doors either side of the ramp are important and so is a heavy duty slip resistant ramp with treads. Also a lot of horses prefer a side loading ramp as the space they are being asked to go into is open and inviting. Secure the horse to a breakable tie inside and make sure they are tied on a short length so they can’t turn around.
4. Advice during transit
Drive as smoothly as possible with gradual acceleration/deceleration and gentle braking, if towing a trailer ensure that the trailer is in line with your vehicle before accelerating away from corners or roundabouts. A useful analogy is to drive as if you have a glass of water on the dash board and you are trying not to spill it.
Make sure there is good ventilation in the horse area
Open all available ventilation even in winter and rug your horse to maintain a reasonable temperature.
5. Unloading the horse
Park in a quiet, secure area and give your horse some time to settle before unloading. Make sure you are parked on a flat surface so the ramp is level.
Allow plenty of time and stay calm so your horse doesn’t rush and unloads slowly making sure you encourage them to walk to the end of the ramp rather than jump off. A full ramp makes unloading easier as there is room for the horse to come down slowly and not rush on.
6. Travel top tips
Aid hydration by providing a soaked haynet during transport, soaked hay or haylage will also help with air quality
Always carry extra food and water (for horses and people) in case your journey is delayed
Make sure you have a basic equine first aid kit on board to treat any minor injuries
For long journeys make stops to offer food and water and untie your horse’s head to give them a chance to stretch down which may help to clear the airways
Arrive at your destination in plenty of time to allow the horse to relax and get used to his new surroundings before you tack up to ride
To discover more about the range of Equi-Trek horseboxes and trailers visit www.equi-trek.com and follow Equi-Trek on Facebook and Instagram.