03-10-2009, 12:20 PM
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My husband and I operate a long distance hauling business, here's what we do.
Don't take them off the trailer until you reach your destination, when you stop for gas or food it gives them the chance to rest their legs and that's good enough. They're safer left on the trailer. While your stopped offer hay and water, we usually stop every couple to three hours.
Taking water they are used to is a good idea, but don't be too concerned if they don't drink tons. You may want to start giving them some electrolytes a couple days before you leave home. Another trick if they're not drinking is to offer them some Gator Aid or apple juice in the water, you could start doing this a few days before you leave as well. Another thing we pack on the trailer is hay cubes, we often offer a few of them dry, it seems to make them thirsty. Plus if they really won't drink we can we can make up a bucket soaked cubes. Don't laugh, but we also keep a couple of cans of dark beer in the tack room. Offering a little dark beer in the bucket first then offering water after they had the beer works about 90% of the time for the non drinkers.
We ask that owners don't grain the day of travel, only offer hay. They don't need to be standing around trying to digest grain, we've got nothing scientific to back this up, up in four years we've never had a colic. (throws salt over shoulder)
Box stalls are great it allows them to stand anyway they want. We almost never tie a horse in the trailer, the only time we tie is if someone is really misbehaving . We have video display in the truck and find that most horse's will face the back of the trailer, angle hauls and straight hauls are made for small budgets not horse's comfort.
If your offering hay, you can put it in hay bags or directly on the ground. By not tying the horse you allow them to get their heads down which enables them to clear their airways. This will keeping shipping fever to a minimum.
As for blankets, that depends on how airtight the trailer is. We don't put heavy blankets on anyone unless their clipped. However if it's getting warm in the trailer we may put a light fleece on them if they look like they're getting a little sweaty. You'd be surprised how a couple of horse's heat up a trailer. Check on them when you stop, they hay will keep them warm as well.
We also don't put heavy shipping boots on unless the owner insists, what usually happens is half way through the trip the darn boots are coming off or moved around and we end up having to take them off anyways.
21 hours seems like a long time, but most horse's breeze through trips like this.
That's all I can think of right now, I'll come back if I think of more info.