Travelling your horse can open up a whole world of opportunities. Horse&Rider explains how to do it safely and stress free
Having transport or being able to hire it gives you and your horse access to a wide range of activities you might not otherwise be able to enjoy, from new hacking routes and competitions to beach rides. However, it’s easy to take this for granted and forget how unnatural travelling is for your horse and the potential risks for all involved. Luckily, with a few simple checks and a bit of forward-planning, travelling can be a breeze.
It’s tricky for horses to balance while travelling, and this increases the risk of bumps and scrapes. Therefore, it’s important that your horse wears well-fitting clothing to protect him. Here some travel essentials…
- travel boots or bandages will protect and support your horse’s legs. If you choose bandages, it’s important that they’re put on by an experienced person – too loose and they can be a hazard, but too tight and they can damage your horse’s legs. By comparison, boots are much quicker and easier to put on, but can slip if they don’t fit properly.
- a field-safe or leather headcollar is much safer than a regular synthetic one because they’re easier to break or cut through in an emergency. You can also buy travel headcollars with padded sections at the nose and poll for extra comfort.
- to protect your horse’s tail and stop him rubbing it, fit him with a tail bandage and guard. On longer journeys bandages may interfere with circulation, so just fit him with a tail guard. If you’re off to a show and need to keep his tail clean, consider a tail bag – many tail guards come with either a fixed or detachable one to help keep pesky poo stains at bay.
- some horses may need to wear a cooler rug or sheet to stop them getting chilly. Don’t rug unnecessarily, though, as this will make your horse hot and uncomfortable. Horses generate a lot of heat when they’re travelling and it can get very warm inside your trailer or lorry.
In order to ensure your horse is as comfortable as possible in all this kit, try it out at home before your trip. Travel boots in particular often take some time to get used to, so have several trial runs and let him walk around the yard in them so he can adjust.
For more tips on trouble-free travelling, get your copy of February Horse&Rider here, on sale 15 December.