Friday’s Five – Tips to make trailering easier on your horse

 

Friday’s Five – Tips to make trailering easier on your horse

At some point, all riders will have to trailer horses. Whether it is a short jaunt for lessons or a long trek across the country, it is important that you provide your horse with a first class and safe ride. Ensure that your horse travels like a VIP:

1) Soak hay – Horses tend to drink little to nothing when they are on the trailer. Simply soak your horse’s haynet in a skip bucket the night before a long trip to help your horse stay hydrated. When horses are yanking hay out of their haynets, the air can get dusty but if the hay is soaked it is a total nonissue. If you are embarking on a long enough trip to warrant re-stuffing haynets on the road, then soak some extra hay in some giant Rubbermaid containers and bring them with you. Soaking hay takes minimal effort on your part so make sure you have the right containers to do it for your next road trip.

2) Leather halter and breakaway tie – Safety first. Make sure your horse is wearing a leather halter every time you load it into a trailer. Make sure your add a breakaway ties to the metal trailer rings. I like to tie a loop of binder twine to the metal ring in my trailer, then I clip a short crosstie to the binder twine. Remember horses can be extremely creative about how they can get themselves caught in precarious situations. Using a leather halter AND a breakaway tie you help reduce the chances of something terrible happening if the horse gets in a bad situation.


3) Offer water with Gatorade – Not all horses will drink on the trailer but mixing a bottle of Gatorade in with a bucket of water is enough to entice a lot of horses to take a drink. The Gatorade also provides your horse with some electrolytes and it is relatively cheap and easy to buy at a gas station. I always pack a giant jug full of water for my horses on lengthy trips and offer them drinks at all stops.

4) Keep things cool with ice cubes – Don’t let your horses sit in a hot trailer, while you ride in an air-conditioned truck. A coach of mine taught me this trick. If the weather is hot, throw a few bags of ice cubes under your horse’s feet to cool off the temperature in the trailer. Sometimes, the weather can get so hot that even with all the windows open your horses will still be sweating on the trailer. Bags of ice are available at almost every gas station so you can keep replenishing the ice supply as it melts. I like to bed my trailer with shavings so the floor of the trailer does not get slippery as the cubes melt.

5) Ventilation is a must – It is surprising how much body heat horses generate and how quickly they can turn a cool trailer into a sweat lodge. Always open some windows and vents on your trailer before starting your journey. Even if it is really freezing outside, put a blanket on your horse to keep it warm and still open some windows. Good ventilation is important for your horse’s respiratory health so do not forget to provide it on the trailer.

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