Hauling horses over long distances... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: I was born in Germany, raised in Texas.
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• Horses: 5
Hauling horses over long distances...

Well, it looks like there's an excellent chance that my husband, who was laid off from his job back in March after 5 years, is finding a wonderful new opportunity back in our home state of Texas. We live in Virginia right now. That means we'll be moving once we sell our house. I've never had to haul my horses long distances before and wanted to pick your brains on some of the most important pointers. Shipping boots are an obvious one. Our trailer is an extra tall thoroughbred trailer with an escape door in the front so roominess is not an issue. I realize frequent stops are in order for everyone to relax a little. How often would y'all actually unload and walk them? And what about sleep stops? Would you guys crash in the truck and stay with the rig? How have some of you handled that? Of course I'll have all their vet records up to date. Anyway, just throw some pointers at me. It could be a while before this all actually happens but I figure I'll start getting all my ducks in a row early. Thanks a lot!
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
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I hauled 7 horses and a donkey from Tulsa Ok to Utah. We didn't stop for anything but fuel untill we were half way home then we stopped at a motel for about 6 hours. I think I unloaded the horses once each day and I just let them stand while we ate lunch. I don't like to walk a horse much during a long trailer ride because they have to work plenty hard to stand up while your driving. I would rather they just stand still and rest while we're stopped. The less room your horse has the easier it is for them to stand so if your trailer has partitions close them so they are pretty snug then your horse can lean on them. Also I didn't feed them at all on the trip. I got home with 7 hungry horses but none coliked, which is what I was afraid of.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 04:17 PM
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Location: wisconsin
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when i haul pretty far we always give some some oil with their feed in the few days before & no grain the day we start out. we try to stop every two hours & find a barn to stay over night at on the way where we can put the horses in a paddock. also soak their hay in the hay bags in water. i dont usually wrap my horses legs in the trailer or use boots.

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 04:27 PM
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Location: CO
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When I hauled 1500 this fall, we would stop every 4-6 hours, exercise the horse, let him relax for a bit, give him a chance to drink, and then be back on the road. When we stopped for the night, I would sleep in my truck, and the horse was tied to the trailer, or in a corral next to me (when we were at a 'horse equipped' stop).

I kept hay in the horse's manger, as well. No grain, just hay. I've never had a problem feeding hay in the trailer as I travel, and I've taken quite a few long trips. I find it keeps a horse calmer, and certainly is better for him to be able to munch, than have to wait all day, or have only a few snacks through the day. On our breaks, I would give him a bit of grain with some electrolytes, so that he would drink a good drink of water. Dehydration when hauling a long distance is a big concern, so the more water you can get the horse to drink throughout the trip, the better.

Wraps on the legs, and a head bumper if you have one are always good, and depending on how chilly it is and whether your trailer is fully enclosed, you may want to throw light sheet over them. I blanketed at night too, just so he was more comfortable.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Hubby and I own a hauling business, (shameless plug) H4 Services - Home

It depends on the horse's on board, but in general if they travel well he just keeps going. When he stops for fuel they get a chance to rest, he will top up water and hay bags. If it's more than 10-12 hour's he'll find a nice place to pull over for a nap in the reach of the trailer. Again, he'll top up water and hay.

We don't tie any horse unless they're a danger to themselves or other horses on board. This is also better for their air ways, they can get their heads down and sneeze.

If the owners want shipping boots, they're on only for as long as they stay up, which usually on a long trip isn't very long....LOL. We have hauled 1000's of horse's and believe me shipping boots are for you the horse could care a less, they do just fine without. If they're nut balls well maybe......we have video display in the truck so we can see the second something isn't right.

We ask all of our customers to not feed grain the day of hauling and we only feed a local grass hay, nothing rich. We also suggest that they don't grain for a day or so after the haul if it's a long one.

Electrolytes for a day or so before is good idea, if they won't drink on the trip then giving more is fine too. One trick that never fails is pack some cheap beer with you. Empty the water bucket, pour in 1/2 a beer and let the horse drink it down. They rinse the bucket and put in fresh water, they'll drink!!!!

We also have dry hay cubes in the trailer that we can soak to add more water into them.

For your own horse's you elect to take them off the trailer, we never do but they're not our horses. Like Kevin said just the trailer not moving is a rest for them. Too many things can go wrong letting them off the trailer, they are much safer left inside.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: TN
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On our long ones when we stopped for fuel we gave them water. We kept wetted down hay in hay bags in the trailer. We wrapped legs on teh middle horse, but we never had a problem with the front or back one getting to roughed up. I like dividers in between them. We also didn't take them out of the trailer. We always worry about one spooking or an idiot running them over. When we get to wherever we are going we get them out, let them stretch, adn put them where they will be.

Keep in mind my horses are used to long travel as well. Good luck with your trip.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 06:12 PM
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Location: Northern Utah
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^^^ There's the answer from the pro. Seems like good advice to me. I also agree about shipping boots.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 06:38 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Indiana
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Here's just a thought-

Carry a first aid kit, just in case. Also, have numbers handy for equine vets along your route for emergencies. Accidents can and unfortunatly do happen and it's always best to be prepared.

Good luck on your move :)

Horses are the guarding angels of the soul.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: I was born in Germany, raised in Texas.
Posts: 824
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This is great stuff!!! Thanks everyone. I might just save myself $100 in shipping boots. I'm also glad to hear y'all don't really unload. One of mine is an iffy loader so if I don't have to unload him, I'm all for it. Love the beer tip! ;) Total trip will be right at 24 hours so we'll definitely have to take one rest stop but I think I'll probably let hubby get a room with the kids and I'll probably sleep in the van. We haul with a 12 passenger E350 so there's plenty of space to stretch out on a bench. One of the bennies of having 6 kids is a nice big roomy van. ;) Thanks again for all your ideas.
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-09-2009, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western ND
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If you do decide that your horse might cut up it's legs or somthing you could always cut up an old blanket into strips and duct tape it. LOL, sounds funny but it's just about the same thing and way cheaper! Good luck on your move!

Proud owner of ~Mana: 6yo Arabian gelding~Pearl 13yo Arabian~Danzer 14yo Arabian mare~ Tiny mini filly
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