Four Steps for Traveling Safely with Horses

No matter the reason you’re traveling with your horses, there are steps you need to take before, during and after a long-distance trailer ride. While horses are resilient animals, any type of journey can be stressful for them. Always consult your preferred horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN before undertaking any travel with horses, and follow these four steps to ensure a stress-free, pleasant experience for you and your animals.

Do a health check before leaving the property

The first step in transporting horses involves getting a health check from your trusted horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN. If your horses are deemed fit for travel, your vet should provide a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and a negative Coggins test for each animal. Be sure to check for any signs of illness immediately before travel. Check your horses’ temperatures and look for any other signs of illness, and always consult your veterinarian if you notice any troubling symptoms.

Clean and disinfect the transport vehicle

Your horses need a clean environment for travel, so do a thorough cleaning of your trailer before every journey. It doesn’t matter if the same horses are traveling in the trailer—it should still be cleaned. Your cleaning checklist should include:

  • Removing all organic matter by scrubbing surfaces with warm, soapy water
  • Disinfecting the surfaces with bleach, accelerated hydrogen peroxide or a phenolic
  • Disinfecting crossties and under floor mats

Reduce stress on the horses

The equine immune system can be negatively impacted by stress. Whenever a horse is exposed to a new environment and has to make unusual adjustments to its behavior, it can cause major stress. Traveling in a trailer is often not a pleasant experience for horses, but you can limit its impact by:

  • Limiting duration: Never keep your horses in a trailer for more than 12 hours. Whenever possible, unload the horses and place them in a stall or paddock for eight hours during long journeys. This break period helps horses rehydrate and clear their lungs.
  • Providing adequate room: When possible, give your horses enough room for them to choose their orientation within the trailer. Also, allow horses to drop their heads, if possible, so they’re able to stretch out their necks and clear their lungs.
  • Being watchful for signs of stress: Take frequent breaks as you’re on the road to check your horses for injury, illness or stress. If you’re noticing any symptoms, consult a local veterinarian immediately.

Stay clean

Humans can pass infection to horses, which is why you need to be mindful to stay clean before and after any interaction with your animals. Wash your hands or sanitize them regularly to reduce the risk of passing infection. If you’re traveling with a sick animal, take the extra step of changing your clothes and disinfecting your boots before interacting with any other animals.

Horses are resilient animals, but every professional horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN agrees that you need to take proper steps to ensure a stress-free ride no matter how far you take your horses from home. Contact Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd. to learn more about keeping horses happy and healthy during travel and other potentially stressful situations.