When we go on long trips, we often make checklists of things we need to do to prepare for our departure. As equestrians, we generally do the same when preparing our horses for a long trailer ride! With the winter circuits quickly approaching, many equestrians are readying their farms for a transition south for the winter. Long durations in a horse trailer can lead to additional stress on your horse, which can result in health and performance issues following the ride. Preparing your horse for the trip beforehand can make all the difference!
Trailering Best Practices
Leading up to departure, there are several steps you can take to minimize the stressful impact that the trip can have on your horses and ensure the utmost comfort. Ulcers are one of the most prevalent side-effects of extended travel, so it is wise to provide your horse with a balanced diet and an ulcer preventative the days before you depart and during transportation.
Tapping into your horse’s parasympathetic nervous system will aid in keeping your horse as relaxed as possible. Often referred to as the “rest and digest” phase of the horse’s nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system only operates when your horse feels safe or relaxed. Applying your BEMER Horse-Set prior to the trailer ride will help you tap into this critical part of your horse’s nervous system by increasing microcirculation and allowing them to relax, thus setting them up for a successful trip.
Maintain your horse’s relaxed state of mind by choosing the correct stall size for your horse and providing them with a full hay net during the ride and frequently stopping for water breaks. If your trip has a layover, allow your horse to eat and drink prior to providing them with a follow-up BEMER therapy session at the end of each travel day.
Preparation is Key
Prior to any long haul, it is imperative that you perform safety checks. Whether you are hauling your horse yourself or utilizing a commercial shipping service, it is your responsibility as the horse owner to ensure the safety of your horse.
If you are hauling yourself, be sure to have your towing vehicle and trailer fully inspected prior to your trip. Ensure that the tires are in good shape, your hitch is in good repair, the flooring of your trailer is free of damage, and that your towing vehicle is in working order! It is wise to have an equine and human first aid kit on hand in case of an emergency, as well as any essential equipment for minor trailer or vehicle repairs.
If you have opted to contract a professional shipper, you should do your research. Only use reputable shippers who have recommendations from your acquaintances. Ask about their shipping setup, insurance options, and shipping routes.
Either way, have all of your shipping documents prepared and ready to go, such as necessary veterinary paperwork to cross state lines.
Illness and Injury Prevention
Accidents happen, especially with horses, so preventative measures are key to keep your equine partner safe during their long trailer ride. One of the easiest practices is to wrap your horse’s legs with standing bandages or to invest in shipping boots to add an extra layer of protection on their legs. Depending on if your horse is an easy traveler or not, additional protective items include tail wraps and head bumpers can provide you with some peace of mind while your horse makes his or her journey. Don’t forget that your BEMER Horse-Set is key when it comes to injury and illness prevention and recovery!
As we mentioned earlier, ulcers are a common stress-induced health issue brought on by trailer rides, but there are many other wellness best practices you can implement to prevent other common issues. Adding electrolytes to your horse’s food or giving them an electrolyte paste prior to loading can help ensure that they remain hydrated. Respiratory issues sometimes referred to as “shipping fever,” can also be a concern. You can do your best to prevent these respiratory concerns by making sure that your horse’s head is not tied in an upright position during their trip, that any wind blowing into the trailer will not blow dust or debris directly into their face, and by having your vet perform a general wellness check on your horse prior to your trip and promptly contacting a vet if your horse shows any signs of illness post-trip.
Keeping your horse happy and healthy before and after any trailer ride is essential, that is why BEMER is here to support your equine partner in all of their wellness needs!