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Preparing to Travel With Your Horse


horse trailerMost horses will travel at least a little every year. Whether they're simply heading across town for some trail riding, or across the country for a competition, there are some thing that must be done in order to prepare for your horse to travel. Making sure that you have everything under control makes traveling with your horse a pleasant and safe experience for everyone involved. Here is a list of what you need  in order to prepare for travel!

1. Where are you going?
The most important thing is to plan your route. Make sure you've got up to date maps, are aware of road construction locations, and be sure you're staying as much to main highways as you possibly can. Traveling at a steady speed on a smooth road is much quicker than slow speed on a bumpy road; it's also less stressful for your horse. Double check your sources if you are using a map downloaded from the internet.

2. Complete any pre-travel paperwork. These often need to be completed well ahead of time, so make sure you read any forms and turn them in well in advance. Stabling forms are common if you are going to going to a competition and will have to be turned in by a certain date. You will, at the least, need to reserve a stall as well as set up overnight stops if you are traveling a long distance. You will also want to be sure that you have arranged for hay and other food at your final destination. Figure out how much your horse will need and be sure to order it ahead of time so it is there waiting for you.

3. Take care of yourself as well. Don't get so caught up in arrangements for your horse that you forget to book yourself a place to stay. You won't get rest sleeping in your truck, so consider sleeping in a tent or hotel room if it is near your horse. If you are going to be gone for a long time, you will want a hotel room so that you remain well rested.

4. Make sure your truck and trailer are in good condition. Fill up before you hitch up, and know if your truck hauls better with high octane fuel. Check your brakes, check your tires and tire pressure, check all your lights both on your truck and on your trailer. Do all this BEFORE you begin packing so that if something is wrong you can get it fixed without having to unpack everything.

5. Make sure your horse is ready.
Every horse planning to cross state lines will need to have a Coggins test performed and the test must be negative. Some competitions may require veterinary health certificates and proof of vaccination. You will need to have these ready. Spend some time getting your horse used to loading and unloading and taking short trips before you begin the long one. It is tiring for horses to travel long distances, and they appreciate having hay to munch on and being able to raise and lower their head at will. Forcing your horse to ride with their head up all the time increases the chance that they will get a lung or other airway infection.

6. Make sure you have a comprehensive packing list that you update regularly so you are always prepared. Packing your supplies depends on your truck and trailer designs. If you have an empty stall in your trailer that is great as it allows you to pack bulky supplies. Be sure you secure everything well so that nothing comes loose while you're driving.


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