At some point in their life, your horse may have to go on a road trip. Maybe you’re moving to a new ranch or competing in horse shows. Whatever the reason is, it’s important that you take the appropriate steps to prepare your horse for long-distance travel of any kind.
The travel process can be overwhelming for any horse. Even the calmest horses can become agitated when loading begins or even when they just spot the transport trailer. But if you take these steps below, you can help your horse get through their trip as smoothly as possible!
1) Do everything you can to make travel a low-stress experience for your horse.
Stress during travel can trigger a condition called “shipping fever” in horses. Shipping fever is really just an all-encompassing term for any viral or bacterial infection of the lungs they may catch in transit. It is usually characterized by a strong cough. The more stressed a horse is, the lower their immune system function will be and the more susceptible they become. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent shipping fever during travel:
- Ensure your horse has room to lower their head and cough out respiratory irritants.
- Use a transport trailer with good ventilation.
- Give your horse probiotics for gut health in the days leading up to travel.
- Reduce stress on their legs by providing quality bedding.
2) Have your horse’s health evaluated before travel.
You should always make sure your horse is in good health before taking them on a long journey. A vet visit will also allow you to acquire any necessary paperwork for travel across state lines. This may include updated vaccine information, negative tests for contagious diseases, and other documents. Specific requirements will vary by state.
3) Keep them hydrated and well-fed throughout the trip.
Adequate food and water consumption is essential for keeping your horse healthy and preventing overheating during transport. It’s best to bring a bag or supply of hay from home, to avoid upsetting their stomach. Their water supply should also be from home too, as horses often refuse water that smells or tastes unfamiliar and this can lead to dehydration and illness. Have a water tank available to them or stop every few hours during travel to offer them water.
After a long trip to and from an unfamiliar destination, your horse is going to need time and a comfortable place to recoup. A quality horse shelter from Deer Creek Structures is the perfect place to do that! Our portable horse barns and run-in sheds can provide a secure and welcoming spot for your horse to call home.
Contact us today to order a prefab or custom horse structure!