On the Road Again...

The life of a competitive show horse involves many miles up and down the road. We all want our horses to be able to perform at their best when they hit the show pen and helping them stay safe on the trailer is vitally important. I have hauled for many titles nationally and logged many hours on the road heading to another horse show. As result, I have a specific shipping method I use on all my horses to help their hours in the trailer go as comfortably as possible.

1. Leg Protection
The first and most important part of safe trailering is leg protection. I ALWAYS wrap my horses legs for trailer rides even if it is only 30 minutes. I wrap all four legs on the horses that will allow me to; some horses really don't like back wraps so in that case I leave them off to prevent kicking. I use no-bow's with polo's over them. I only like the No-Bows with stitching going horizontally; less chance for wrinkles. I use a nice fluffy polo wrap that is plenty long. The wraps should by smooth and wrinkle free; mistakes and wrinkles can cause harm to your horses legs so please be careful and make sure you are properly taught before wrapping for long trailer rides.  They should be snug, not loose and not tight. I should be able to slip my finger under the wrap.
Typical shipping attire for Charlie

2. Special Booties
Many of you have seen these special booties called Soft-Ride Boots. I LOVE these for hauling. This extra layer of impact absorbing gel fits snugly and safely on the horses foot and helps to make their ride even more comfortable. Charlie never steps on a trailer without his Soft-Rides.

3. Fuzzy Wuzzy Halters
Laugh at it all you want but doesn't it look soft and cuddly for a long road trip? I do put fuzzy shipping halters on all of my horses for long road trips. They look so comfortable for them and I do tend to spoil my horses a little bit... They help to eliminate rubbing when halters are on for extended periods of time on the trailer. and they just look so darn cute!

4. Blankies: Yes or No?
Some say not to blanket horses on the trailer, I disagree. Blanket accordingly. If you close the trailer all up and have no air movement, they don't need a blanket but if windows are open, they might need a sheet. More horses on the trailer means more body heat so less layers are okay then. You defiantly don't want them sweating under blankets but you don't want them chilled so you have to find a happy medium. During summer months, I haul in fly sheets because they have no way to get away from flies so I try to help that as much as possible.
Charlie before getting on the trailer in June with a fly sheet

5. Tail Bags
I put tail bags in for hauling to keep them from peeing and pooping in their tails as much. If it is summer and they do not have a fly sheet, I leave their tails down so they can swish at flies.

6. Everlasting Hay
I keep hay in front of my horses on the trailer at all times. It keeps them busy and keeps their bellies happy. When it is hot, I will poor some water on the hay so they get some water while on the trailer.  I also offer water at every rest stop; I carry water from home in jugs because they don't usually like the taste of gas station water and they need to stay hydrated, especially in the summer.

7. Lots of Bedding
I bed my trailer heavily to make it a more comfortable ride. We have triple layer rubber mats to absorb impact as well as lots of soft, fresh sawdust for a nice comfy floor. I always keep at least one window open for venting of the sawdust dust though.

8. Air Ride
We had an Air Ride hitch put on our trailer to take out a little more of the jounce and bounce of the road the year before I ran for number one for the first time to help my horse to stay as healthy and happy as possible. It makes a huge difference and was so worth the money; the horses have a smoother ride then we do now! I highly suggest looking into one if you are planning on doing lots of long distance hauling.

9. Drive Safely
When hauling such precious cargo, please drive safely and carefully. Smooth turns, soft stops and don't gun it. Take plenty of rests, for both you and your horses. Your horses will thank you.

10. Always Know Health Regulations
Health regulations on livestock can vary by state. When hauling out of state, make sure to check on the rules and have your papers and horse up to date for those regulations. Better safe then sorry!
Happy Horses enjoying a rest stop

As you can see, I am rather OCD about shipping. I just want my horses to be as safe and sound as possible and to make trailer rides as relaxing and comfortable as possible for my precious ponies. I hope this helps you in some way and I wish everyone safe and uneventful road trips!

What special things do you do when you ship your horses?


P.S. I am on my way to a horse show right now! What timing right? Here was Charlie all bubblewrapped before getting on the trailer this morning!

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