I am leaving next weekend to trade my gelding for the haflingers, it is a 21 hour drive. I have a six horse trailer that turns into two box stalls, and will be bringing some panels to make a corral. I was wondering if anyone had some tips to help keep the horses healthy and safe. I heard that it is best to leave them in the trailer until you park for the night instead of letting them out to stretch their legs. What do you guys think? I was planning on letting them walk around when we got fuel and stuff. I am also wondering should I blanket them? I am in Montana and they are in Michigan, they are not blanketed now and my trailer is enclosed. Will the slight draft make them cold? It is 5 degrees here and is supposed to get warmer I hope! I will be bringing water from home and from the haflingers home so it tastes the same. just starting to get worried thats all..
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.
Wherever you are taking them to, be sure to quarantine afterwards for at least 2-3 weeks. This is because long haul trips are proven to compromise the immune system and make horses more susceptible to infection. So, if you are bringing a new horse that has been exposed to EHV in the past and has it sequestered in the body somewhere or who is a silent carrier of the bacteria that causes strangles, the horse may begin shedding those infectious agents even without showing any signs of being sick. Also, the horses where they are going to may be shedding some sort of infectious agent and these horses arriving off a long haul will be more susceptible. So, quarantine helps protect both ways.
For a 21 hour haul I would take them off the trailer overnight to allow them to move around. But be very sure that there is some sort of barrier besides corral panels between them and any roadways just in case. Otherwise I wouldn't leave them out overnight on their own, just take them out on a lead for a while if they aren't too crazy.
Remember, it's all a matter of judging what is going to keep them safe vs. what they might want to do. You have to weigh the risk vs. the benefit.
thanks you guys! your really calming my nerves. So your saying I could just leave them in the trailer for the night? it should only be one night if the weather is decent. It is hard for me to flavor their water since I have automatic water's and the cows drink from them too. If you think it is necessary to flavor the water I can set out the old tank with heater, hate to do that though it always gives me troubles.Thanks again really good info!
Oh and I think I will pick up some dark beer, don't know why it works but I have heard stranger things!
I don't grain my nippers so that shouldn't be an issue. I am going to have to call about the transfer papers too, lots of stuff to do still.... The vet is coming friday to give a bill of health and do coggins, and the brand inspector is coming friday also. boy lots of stuff!
If you have a secure stall for them the first night then by all means take them off. It's not a big deal for them to stay on the trailer though. Especially since it sounds like they will have lots of room to move around or even lay down.
Don't sweat the water, they'll drink when they get thirsty, just keep an eye on them.
People laugh at the beer, but hey whatever works.
Thanks again, I think I will bring the panels to let them walk around before bed and put them back in the trailer for the night. I hope it warms up cause my trailer doesn't have a heater!!! we are just sleeping in the gooseneck area... oh well what is life without a little adventure huh?
And I won't worry about the water too much now thanks, but I will be keeping a close eye on everybody.
When we get back I will post pics of the trip and I can't wait to show you my new boys!!!!
You can find places like rodeo grounds to overnight, they'll have stalls and you'll have a more peaceful night maybe?
Good idea CheyAut Thanks!
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