Many horse owners find that it becomes necessary to transport their horse over a considerable distance, either because they are to compete in a competition such as a race, or because they are changing stables or visiting a vet. Depending on how used the horse is to being loaded into a horse trailer for transportation, it can be an involved task. This can be made easier by training a horse in loading, getting it used to the process.
There is a wide array of equipment available for horses which can be greatly useful in transporting a horse. Horse clothing is a key element for transporting a horse, and can provide an additional level of protection for a horse during transport. Other elements that need to be considered include a horse trailer, and a variety of sizes and types are available. A wide array of horse equipment useful for transportation can be found on eBay.
Training a Horse for Travel
This is a key step for smoothly and safely loading a horse for travel. Time should be taken to get a horse used to this process in advance, so that there is less difficulty when the time comes to load up a horse.
· A key step is to never load a horse in a hurry. Always ensure that the loading is planned in advance, as trying to rush the process could panic the horse, and make it more difficult to load the horse later on.
· It can become harder to load a horse if they have had negative experiences in the past with loading. These experiences will make them more nervous, and this will mean that their trainer will require more patience. It is best to try and avoid negative experiences in the first place, if possible.
- Bribing the horse with treats may work initially, but should not become a relied upon method for getting a horse to load. This method can be unreliable, and could cease to work when the horse needs to be loaded.
· Food can be used as a reward, but should only be provided if the horse has already been loaded. A small amount of feed in the trailer can work well.
· Once the horse is acclimatised to the process of loading, it might be a good idea to get them used to travelling by taking them on short trips.
· It can also be greatly helpful to make the inside of the horse box or trailer appear as inviting to the horse as possible. The feel of a metal or wooden loading ramp may make them feel nervous and uncomfortable, so covering it with bedding can make it feel more familiar and relax the horse. It can also be helpful to open any windows available, to make the interior of the trailer as light as possible.
· The process of training a horse for loading should be taken slowly with small steps, in order to keep the horse calm and happy and give them time to acclimatise.
Choosing a Horse Trailer
The horse trailer, or horse box, is an important part of horse transportation, and choosing the right one for the horse's, and the owners, needs is important. There are a number of key elements to consider when choosing a horse trailer, such as the size of the trailer and its configuration.
Horse Trailer Sizes
The size of a horse trailer can have a significant impact not only on the horses being transported, but also on the driver.
· The larger trailers may include more features and be able to carry more horses, but are also harder to drive. Some of the larger trailers may necessitate the use of a trailer mirror in order to ensure a safer journey.
· It should also be noted that trailers that weigh over 7.5 tons count as Heavy Goods Vehicles legally, and the driver should be aware of any legislation regarding this in their jurisdiction.
· The number of horses that a trailer or box is designed to hold is a key factor in trailer size. The smallest, simplest boxes stalled for one are best suited for transporting a single horse over a short distance. This can reach trailers stalled for six or more horses, which are often very large, suitable for longer journeys, and can also often include additional features.
Horse Trailer Configurations
The configuration of a trailer determines the direction which the horse faces during transport, and there are three commonly used configurations available. When loaded into a trailer, a horse should be secured with breast bars and breeching straps.
Forward facing trailers are the most commonly used types of trailer, particularly amongst the smaller sizes. This configuration means that the horse is facing in the direction of travel, and are often more affordable than other types of trailer due to their wide availability.
Backward facing horse trailers have grown in popularity, in part due to research which has suggested that this is the most suitable method of travel for horses. In addition, any sudden stops are absorbed by the muscular hindquarters of the animal, rather than their more vulnerable neck and head.
Herringbone trailers, also often referred to as slant loading trailers, have the horses at an angle during transport. A benefit of this is that the horses can brace themselves more naturally, without relying too much on a breast bar. This design can also leave extra room for additional features such as living quarters.
Consider Protective Horse Wear
Many horse owners choose to make use of protective horse wear to add an extra element of protection for a horse during transportation. A variety of protective horse wear is available.
- Head collars and halters are an important piece of equestrian equipment when transporting a horse. The halter or head collar fits around a horse's head, and is attached to a lead rope which the owner uses to lead the horse.
· Head collars and halters are available in different materials. Nylon halters are often stronger than other materials, which reduces the chance of the halter breaking and leaving a horse loose. Leather halters are also available, and some prefer these because they will break if the horse gets caught or tangled.
· Also an option for horse protection is the head bumper . These can provide some element of protection for a horse's head if they rear or toss their head. Head bumpers featuring different patterns are available, and they are often made out of leather.
- Travel boots are also available, and can offer leg protection to a horse that is being transported. They can easily fit onto a horse's legs, and typically offer protection from above the knee. They are available in a number of different materials, and sizes that can fit ponies and horses .
· An alternative to travel boots, travel bandages and pads are also available. These can often be cheaper than boots, though likely will not last as long. They can also be harder to use than boots, but if they are well placed they will generally slip less than boots.
· The horse should also be covered with a rug, with the material and thickness most suitable depending on the weather. A thick, warm rug will be suitable for colder weather, and ensure that the horse remains warm. A lighter, thinner rug or sheet will be best in warmer weather, as if the horse is tacked up it can prevent equipment such as the saddle getting scratched or caught.
· Whether a horse needs some or all of this equipment depends on the horse's temperament and familiarity with being transported. A horse may not need is much if it is being transported over shorter distance and is calm, while a more nervous horse or one taking a long journey may require more protection.
Transporting a horse can be a daunting task, particularly if the horse is unfamiliar with this process. There are all kinds of equipment which can help to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for a horse, including a variety of horse wear and an array of horse boxes. With patience and careful planning, a horse can be slowly introduced to, and made comfortable with, transport in a trailer. A wide range of horse equipment can be found on eBay.