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Top 10 tips to help relieve transport stress in your horse

If you are taking your horse on a long trip, the level and severity of the stress will be higher and may have serious consequences. Stress lowers a horse’s resistance to disease, and those stressed by transport are vulnerable to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, diarrhoea, colic or laminitis.
Transport stress the sum of adverse effects on the horse during transportation. There are a lot of contributing factors – discomfort in a particular trailer, noise, road conditions, confinement. Also footing and balance issues, changes in feeding and watering, temperature and humidity. Separation from herd mates, new environments, or interactions with unfamiliar horses can impact stress levels.
 
Being aware of the causes means you can take steps to minimise them. That way you can reduce the impact of transport stress and arrive at your destination with a happier, healthier horse.

10 tips to move your horse safely

Take a Break

Every four hours, give your horse a chance to urinate, and walk around a bit. Comfort breaks take a bit of pre-planning, but the reduction in fatigue and stress to your horse is well worth the effort.

Horse Hydration

It's easy for horses to become dehydrated during transportation. Offer them water periodically. Adding an electrolyte will help rehydration and give them energy for the journey.

Feed Well

Offering travelling horses their regular feed helps them stay calm, retain water in their gut, and reduces the risk of gastric ulcers and colic.

Lung Health

Pathogens and dust from hay and dried manure can quickly enter a horse's respiratory system. Wetting hay can help, and always make sure the trailer is cleaned thoroughly before any trip. If there is a history of inflammatory airway disease, consider therapy before travelling.

Let the Air in There

Proper ventilation keeps your horse cooler and less susceptible to potentially toxic airborne particles in the trailer.

Head Down

Allowing them the ability to lower their heads below their shoulders means horses are less likely to suffer respiratory stress. It's how they naturally carry their heads, allowing them to breathe comfortably.

Keep in Mind Who's Behind

Remember, a slow and steady journey is not only safer, but it's also much less stressful for the horse.

Learn to Load

Loading is often the most stressful part of the trailering experience for horses. It's a good idea for you to practice loading your horse several times a year, so you're both comfortable with the procedure.

Monitor Vital Signs

Learn how to measure your horse's vital signs during travel. If your horse does get sick or shows signs of pain during the trip, you'll be able to give the vet the information they need.

Be Prepared

Always carry an emergency first aid kit, including an extra supply of your horse’s medications. Learn how to recognise the signs of transport stress such as dehydration, ulcers and colic. And carry extra feed supplies. You never know, your trip may take longer than planned.

 

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