5 Tips for Trailering Your Horse Long Distances in the Summer Heat

Headed for a world championship? Trailering a new horse in from out of state? Going on a horsey camping trip? There are so many reasons you might be trailering your horse long distances in the heat of summer. Today we’re going to discuss 5 tips to make your journey safer and bust a few common misconceptions along the way.

1. Use caution when administering electrolytes

Electrolytes are a great way to encourage water intake during times of stress, but they must be used wisely. Only administer electrolytes when there is ample water available. If you are traveling long distances, this means stopping ever few hours to administer water. If your horse refuses to drink water while trailering, electrolytes should be discontinued immediately until the horse resumes normal water intake, which may mean allowing the horse to rest overnight or waiting until the horse has reached its destination.

2. Teach you horse to load and unload calmly

Trailering a horse is stressful, even for the most experienced of travelers. If your horse has never been taught how to load and unload calmly, his stress will only be compounded that much more. Horses are prey animals and, therefore, naturally disinclined to like enclosed spaces. They must be properly desensitized to the experience and sensations of traveling in a trailer before beginning your journey in order to minimize any negative impacts on your horse’s health.

3. Only healthy horses should be transported

Ideally, only healthy horse should be transported long distances. Transporting a horse out of its home environment compromises the immune system of even a healthy horse. With proper management, adverse effects can be avoided, but it is best to be proactive and ensure that your horse is in the best health possible before transporting him. The exception, of course, being horses that require transportation for medical treatment. Although care should still be taken to ensure that the horse is as stable as his condition warrants.

4. Skip all those fancy sheets and blankets

Horses are not freight. Shipping blankets and all kinds of padding actually does more harm than good as it limits the horse’s ability to dissipate heat. A well trained, well acclimated horse in a safe, well ventilated trailer does not need seven kinds of bubble wrap to make it to its destination intact. That’s why we train our horses how to trailer safely and we select their trailermates carefully.

5. Make shorter practice trips to test your horse’s reaction

Before the big day, make a few shorter practice trips under similar conditions to test your horse’s reaction to trailering in hot weather. This will help you pinpoint flaws in your strategy and save you unnecessary headaches down the road.

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