How long in a trailer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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How long in a trailer?

On longer trips, how long between breaks for the horses? I am thinking of taking a long trip and would like to plan out stops. I've never hauled a horse for more than a couple hours. How long should each break be?

This, too, shall pass........
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:08 PM
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i have never done it but someone told me once it should be every 3-4 hours and another told me every 5-7 hours. so i have no idea. but i would think somewhere between every 4-5 hours would be ok. to check for watering and eating and what not.

hope you get a better response then mine :)
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:17 PM
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I haven't done any long hauls with horses, but we do with our show cattle. We haul all over the state, but we always stop about 3 hrs in to take a potty break for the humans. We check on the calves. Then at hour 6, calves get take off the trailer to walk around. If I were hauling horses, I'd do the same.

I think it also depends on how use the horses are to being in the trailer.

~*~Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction. - Cowboy saying~*~
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:32 PM
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We've trailered many times to CO and SD, which are about 20-24 hour drives. We've also travelled 13-18 hour trips to places in VA, MD, PA, and GA. At first we found midway stops, and spent a night half-way there. I use both quilts/polos or shipping boots for ALL trailer trips, btw. DH and I always change drivers every 2 hours. We top off our tank and/or stop for a meal and we check their hay nets and offer water--I don't have a place for water buckets in my 4-horse slant trailer, but I load my safe mare in the back, and I can water her and SAFELY give water to the middle horse (5yo QH), plus I can enter through the escape door and water the front horse, (5 yo KMHSA), who is 16'3hh and gets a double-wide area--I took out one divider for him to give him more travel room.
Often we've hauled for a whole day and not taken them out. It's fine to unload your horse every 4 or 6 hours and stretch his legs, but you NEED TO PLAN WHERE you will do this. Consider if your horse will break a lead when tied to your trailer in a new surrounding. If you are not sure about this, I suggest that you ONLY unload at a stable that accepts travelers, and THAT must be pre-arranged, including sending a copy of negative Coggins, and perhaps other medical information. A truck stop or a rest area is NOT a good place to unload, even for an obedient horse when you consider how fast some folks drive into them. I've thought about this quite a bit, since I posted how I travel on another (not-so-friendly) horse forum and everybody bit my head off!!
I know that most trailers come with rubber matting built in, but mine has a wooden floor, and I use 3 (4x6) 1/2" cattle button rubber mats and 2 (2x6) rubber mats with "skids" so to prevent slippage. I also put down fresh pine shavings. Avoid finely round sawdust bc stuff flies around in a trailer. Something I haven't done but WILL do in the future--it's been months since I trailered--use fly-masks when you trailer. =D
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:35 PM
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If the trip was under ten hours I wouldn't offer feed and I would make as few stops as possible. When stopped don't walk the horses much. They have to work pretty hard to stay standing in a moving trailer so it's probably best for them to just stand still for a while. If it's over ten hours I would find someplace to put them up for the night and give them a little feed and water.

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 #6 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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How do you plan for stops? I am looking at 15+ hours total. Do you find a stable or do you just find a camp ground and tie them? I have a spot about 7 hours in so it won't be a big deal on this trip but let's say I haul them to corpus christi TX. 24 hours of driving. 2+ days. I have driven it straight through but wouldn't want to with the horses. Maybe this would be more of a pain than it's worth.........

This, too, shall pass........
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 12:52 PM
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Do a little computer work and find a county fairgrounds that rents stalls by the day. Our litlte county fairgrounds has about twenty stalls that are reserved for transient horses. You could just leave them tied to the trailer if your going to be there with them but I'd get a motel room and I wouldn't sleep well if I left my horse tied to a trailer somewhere else. I don't recommend depending on facilities provided at a motel or KOA. I've seen more of these that are inadequate than I've seen that are even borderline okay.

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 20 Old 11-07-2011, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I should have known that. I can't believe the stalls people keep their horses in full time here. I went and looked at some horses down there. Not very impressive but would be perfect for overnight.

This, too, shall pass........
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 01:33 PM
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Also, look into privately owned horse campgrounds AND state parks with horse camping. I've been trailering horses since 1986, and I have LOTS of stories, good and bad, from my experiences. =b I give my horses one day of rest after I arrive at my destination before I work them. =D

Last edited by Corporal; 11-07-2011 at 01:36 PM.
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-07-2011, 01:53 PM
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To answer your question, most of the time I leave them in the trailer. They are safe, and they get a break from balancing every 2 hours. DH started this practice to ensure that neither of us would drive tired, especially since we did a lot of summer driving through the night. Sirius radio REALLY helps at night! I usually trailer to my (Amish) farrier one hour every 6-8 weeks. Don't load up the hay nets for short trips, but everybody that I was acquainted with when I started traveling recommended feeding bc it gives the horses something to eat and something to do, and THAT makes longer trips more palatable for them, IMHO. I suggest you err on the side of caution regarding everything with trailering. Make your own opinions, and stick to it. Neither feeding nor abstaining while travelling is abusive.
Speaking of trailering stories, we had an older (19yo when we bought him) TWH who loaded fine, but rushed backwards when unloading. We finally fixed this by DH, who closed up the back before I unhooked him. He hit the back door--left a dent and spooked himself. He was totally cured of the habit after this, and afterwards took baby steps backwards, including letting me monitor and tell him "down" for each foot as he stepped off of my stock-type trailer, as I do when I unload everybody else. Speaking of trailering, I suggest that you NOT let your horse turn around in the trailer to unload, unless, of course, he is loaded facing backwards. Most trailers are designed to load facing forwards and unload backing, and it certainly is good horse manners for a horse to back obediently! I was thrilled to see Ryan Gingerich demonstrate backing out of a trailer (via a box for initial training) by watching your horse's feet and telling him when he is stepping off of the trailer, whether to the ground or onto the ramp bc I have always done this, for all four feet. I used to think people thought I was a little nuts for doing this. =d
One last thought--I stick with the semis when I drive. They cannot start fast or stop fast, just like us, and you can set your cruise control to stay with a convoy. Very rarely has a semi-trailer driver cut me off, but I wish I had a dollar for each time a compact car cut me off while trailering. **mad face**

Last edited by Corporal; 11-07-2011 at 01:57 PM.
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