Heading out of town for the holidays? Like many horse owners, your horse’s health, safety and wellness is top of mind when you are preparing to leave. Hopefully you already have a farm sitter lined up to care for your animals while you are gone. Before you go, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
On the Road AgainBack to overview
It is that time of the year when we start hauling our horses to shows, trail rides, breeding farms, races and all kinds of other equine events. There are certain precautions and preparations that we need to make of our equipment and horse.
Truck and Trailer Preparation
An inspection of the horse trailer would include:
- Test all the lights to see if they are in good working condition
- Make sure the truck brakes and trailer brakes are working and adjusted properly
- Check the tire pressure
- Check that all trailer doors open and close
- All floor mats are clean and in place
- The spare tire is inflated and the jack and lug wrench are in place
- Make sure you have your insurance card and registration
- Have a first aid kit for the horses and yourself
Plan the route ahead of time and identify the stopping spots and overnight facilities if you are on a long trip. It may be best to drive at night if the weather is extremely hot. Make sure you check the weather before starting out.
Preparation of the Horses for Travel
There are several things to consider when preparing the horse for a trailer ride particularly if this is their first long trip.
- Practice loading the horse so he is comfortable and willing to enter the trailer and unload safely. One of the loading aids for a horse would be to place the horse on ZYLKENE a couple of days prior to the beginning of the trip which would calm the horse and help him cope with the stress of the trip.
- Make sure the horse is well hydrated before the trip. Adequate salt in the diet stimulates thirst.
- The horse should have a normal temperature and no clinical signs of a respiratory problem since the stress of hauling could make things worse.
- Take feed from home when possible so the horse does not go off feed during traveling and at the show. Brand name feeds are advantageous since one can buy these almost anywhere in the country.
- Give the horse`s head freedom of movement when tied in the trailer so he can freely raise and lower his head. This can cut down on respiratory problems.
- If on a long trip, unload the horse after 12 hours and provide several hours of rest before continuing.
- Check to see the amount of manure in the trailer since a normal healthy horse passes manure every 3 to 4 hours.
- Once you arrive continue to monitor the health by taking the temperature daily.
- Try not to make any major dietary changes on the trip.
Certain travel documents are needed to travel and it is best to consult with your veterinarian for the requirements for entering certain states and countries. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) and recent negative test for equine infectious anemia (Coggins test) are needed. Some states recognize a Equine Interstate Movement permit (passport) which extends your health papers for 6 to 12 months and they are good in all states that accept equine passports.
The Barn Blog
The dry air associated with cold temperatures may cause your skin to be a bit itchy this winter. With all this scratching, you might wonder if your horse is susceptible to any seasonal dermatologic issues. Here are a few to keep a look out for. As always, if you notice any abnormality with your animal, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for appropriate diagnostic and treatment recommendations.