10 Tips To Know When Traveling With Your Horse.

10 Essential Tips for Shipping Your Horse Locally or Long Distance

Transporting a horse, whether you haul your horse across town or a long-distance journey with a commercial shipper, requires careful planning and consideration to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of your equine companion. From selecting the right transportation company to preparing your horse for the trip, there are numerous factors to take into account. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten crucial points to keep in mind when shipping your horse, whether it’s a local jaunt or a cross-country adventure.

  1. When choosing a commercial shipper: Selecting a reputable and experienced transportation company is paramount when shipping your horse. Look for a company with a proven track record of safety, reliability, and professionalism. Do your research, read reviews, and ask for recommendations from fellow equestrians or your equine veterinarian.
  2. Consider your horse’s comfort: If you choose to ship your horse yourself, or if you choose a commercial shipper, make sure your trailer or the transportation company you choose prioritizes the comfort and well-being of the horses in their care. The trailer should offer features like proper ventilation, padded partitions, ample space for your horse to move and adjust its posture during the journey. As well as room for hay and water.
  3. Plan Ahead: Figure out your transportation needs in advance. Be realistic in your driving abilities if you are traveling a long distance and plan lay overs accordingly. This allows you to secure the dates and ensures that the transportation company has ample time to prepare for your horse’s journey.
  4. Prepare Your Horse: Prepare your horse for transportation by gradually acclimating them to the trailer or transport vehicle. Practice loading and unloading in the days leading up to the journey, using positive reinforcement techniques to build trust and confidence. Acclimate your horse to wearing wraps or shipping boot before you load up. It’s no fun to trailer or ship a horse who is kicking at the trailer walls because he is unfamiliar with protective shipping gear. Ensure that your horse is up to date on vaccinations, deworming, and any necessary health checks required for travel.
  5. Pack Essentials: If shipping yourself, pack an extra halter, spare lead rope, a filled back up hay net/bag, that are easy to reach in your trailer should you need them. You also want to pack essential items for your horse’s journey, including hay, water, and any medications or supplements they may require. Provide enough to last the duration of the trip, as well as extra in case of delays or unexpected circumstances. The availability of your horses grain and the local hay can change drastically from one part of the country to another. If what you feed is not available plan ahead by either switching your horses to something new before you arrive or bring enough with you to make the transition slowly. This will help keep your horses stress level low while they get to know their new environment.
  6. Communication is key: Keep in contact with the commercial shipper during your horses travels so that someone can be available to assist with loading up for travel and unloading at the final destination if you are unavailable to do so. If you are shipping your own animals, establish contact with the boarding stable of your final destination and a relationship with the local veterinarian. Discuss any drastic changes to the horses diet that may occur once they have arrived.
  7. Monitor Your Horse’s Health: During your journey, unless you know how your horse handles shipping you should plan to stop every few hours. I like to stop and give them a check at gas stations when I fill up or at rest areas. Check for signs of stress, dehydration, or fatigue, and address any concerns promptly. Ensure that your horse has access to fresh water and periodic rest breaks during long-distance trips. Consider bringing some water from home if you horse horse is a picky drinker. Horses that live on well water or creek/river water may take offense to city water that has been treated with chemicals.
  8. Check Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with any legal requirements or regulations governing the transportation of horses in your area or across state lines. Ensure that your horse has all necessary health certificates, permits, and documentation to facilitate smooth travel without delays or complications. Most states require the shipper to have a current Negative Coggins ( Equine Infections Anemia) test accompany the horse within their state of residence. When crossing state lines it is often neccesary to have a current health certificate written by your veterinarian, in addition to the negative Coggins test. Be sure to check your route for agricultural check points. Fines for incomplete documentation can be hefty, know before you go!
  9. Be Prepared for Emergencies: Prepare for unforeseen emergencies or contingencies during transit by having a contingency plan in place. Make sure the insurance on your truck carries over to your trailer and that your prepared for the unexpected. The U.S. Rider Equestrian Motor Plan is very popular with riders who frequently do their own shipping. Carry a first-aid kit tailored for equine emergencies, talk to your vet for advice on wha to keep in your first aid kit. Banamine and mild sedative are frequently available in paste form and easy to dispense if you are not familiar with giving injections. Hit up your freinds on social media and let them know you are traveling with your horse. This can easily help you find reputable lay over locations as well as area resources along your travels should they be needed.
  10. Timing and Temperature are very important when it comes to shipping. Consider your horses comfort and the time of year for your travels. You may want to consider traveling at night in hot climates to keep your horse comfortable. In colder climates, take care not to over blanket your horse. In recent years, insulating trailers has become very popular. Even in very cold climates the interior of the trailer can become very warm once horses are aboard. Horses that sweat/ overheat in cold climates on the trailer can experience quite a shock when they disembark causing potential health issues. I find it best to keep the trailer well ventilated and the horse unclothed so they can self regulate their temperature.

Shipping your horse, whether it’s a short local trip or a long-distance haul, requires careful planning, preparation, and attention to detail. By following these ten essential tips, you can ensure a safe, comfortable, and stress-free journey for your equine companion, wherever the road may lead.

You may also like:

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.