Keep Your Horse Calm & Cool While Travelling
Taking your horse from one location to another in summer’s unbearable heat can be dangerous if you do not take the necessary steps to ensure your horse stays cool and hydrated during the trip.
Here are a few tips to consider when travelling with your horse in hot weather:
Plan your trip around the weather
If possible, avoid travelling on days that are very hot and humid. If you have no choice then rather travel early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the day’s peak temperatures; this will make it a pleasant experience for both you and your horse.
Make sure your horse eats and drinks before the trip
Give your horse access to forage and water for at least 6 hours before the trip. It is essential that your horse gets enough to eat and drink as well as adequate rest before the trip.
Take extra food and water along
Always be prepared for any halts in the trip. Take along extra forage and water to keep your horse satisfied in the case of a delayed arrival time.
Minimise stress as much as possible
When horses are stressed or unsettled, they can become dehydrated quicker. Loading and unloading are the main travelling stressors for horses, so you need to keep them as calm and as relaxed as possible during this process. If your horse is heading towards a competition or race, consider practising loading and unloading the horse to minimise pressure close to any show your horse is involved in.
Also, make sure the trailer is well-ventilated and that you drive carefully to ensure a smoother ride for your horse.
Hydrate your horse in regular intervals
Offer your horse water at least every four and a half hours (more frequently in hot weather) during the trip.
Offering your horse water from home in a specific, familiar feeder may help ensure that he/she drinks the water.
Provide quality forage
Quality forage is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy digestive system and providing ongoing energy. It also helps keep a small reservoir of fluid in the horse’s gut to help keep the horse hydrated.
Provide forage and water for on arrival
Once you have reached your destination, provide enough forage and water for your horse. If your horse is competing, make sure he/she has enough time to relax, eat and drink before beginning any activities.
Look out for any signs of dehydration
Signs of dehydration include:
- Dullness in eyes
- Decreased appetite
- Licking surfaces
- Abnormal drinking behaviour (for example, gulping water)
- Infrequent urination