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Horse Transportation

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im planning to transport my two horses 620 miles form nebraska to iowa. ive never brought them anywhere except home from where i bought them.

what should i expect and what should i try to avoid?

they did load and unload easily last time.

should i let them out every so often to stretch their legs and eat?

what if one goes nuttso in the trailer?????

do horse normally like going for rides in trailers???

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We all haul over the US. Lots of 24+ hour trips. Here is what we do.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER unload along the way. Period. Did I say that enough? The only time I'd unload is if it was a true emergency with potential loss of life. When you unload in a strange place, what will you do if your horse decides not to reload? I've known people who had road warrior horses, traveled all the time. But when they were on a long trip and unloaded along the way their horse flat our refused to load. Several hours and multiple cuss words later they finally loaded the horse - with a lot of stress on both ends.

A lot of people like to stop somewhere and unload, even stay over night at a bed & breakfast type thing with horse accommodations. I won't do it. You don't know the new environment and some horses don't handle change well. Look at it from their point of view - they leave home where they've been for how long? Then you unload them somewhere they've never been. Next day you load them up again and bring them to yet another place they've never been. So they don't have only one strange place to figure out (and they won't be getting much sleep in their temporary stall because they'll be too busy inspecting it) now they'll have two in two days.

With just over 600 miles to go, just drive straight through.

Whenever you stop for gas or potty breaks check on the horses. Keep grass hay in front of them. Offer water but don't be too surprised if they don't drink. If your trailer is set up to allow it loosen their lead to allow them to lower their head to below their withers. Only allow them to be that loose when you are right there with them.

No shipping boots unless you have a horse that scrambles or if you have a straight load trailer. And even then, I'd prefer simply bell boots vs full wraps or boots.

Did the horses have any problems on their last trailer ride? If not, then they'll probably be perfectly fine.

I've been hauling horses a very long time (30+ years) and have never had a horse freak out in the trailer.

I don't know if horses like going for rides, but I suspect some do. At least they appear to like it. But who really knows?

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Everything firststring said except that we don't tie our horses unless we have a known biter on the trailer. We clip them on the tie when we load them and them reach through and remove the ties when we get everyone loaded.

As far as going nutso, most horses are fine as long as you are moving, some tend to kick the trailer or rock it when you are sitting at a stop light, in traffic, etc., but I've never had one freak out once they were on the trailer.

Edited by palomino_overo

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ditto to all that...DONT let them out of the trailer...

if i stop, i open the drop down windows and let them poke thier heads out while we eat or get fuel...offer water...i always ship with bell boots and for long trips (8+hrs) i use standing wraps as well. also, if i have any windows or open in the trailer, i ship with fly masks as well, just in case something happens to wiggle its way into the trailer...

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For a trip of that length i completely agree with FSF's post. Do not unload.

I also avoid wraps like the plague unless a customer is adamant. A lot more damage can be done by an annoyed horse kicking at wraps than leaving them "naked". Also depending on the weather keeping heat in those lower legs with wraps is just plain silly.

I would use a probiotic before and after the trip and use electrolytes as needed.

Withhold grain the day of shipping and offer nothing but a clean grass hay (free choice) and water during the trip.

Be careful if you are using haynets, make sure you know how to properly tie them.

If you are tieing in a slant type trailer with the windows down MAKE SURE the excess rope is WELL secured or better yet use trailer ties.

Flymasks are great for hauling with the windows down to keep dust and road debris out of eyes.

Stop and let them stand in a quiet trailer for a half hour (or more) every 4-6 hours of road time.

Carry and learn how to properly use the tranq of your choice *just in case*.

600 miles seems daunting .. but really that should be a very easy trip for all of you. Good luck!

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thanx sooooo much for all the advice!!!!!

tho im not so sure about the whole tranq thing.

ive never used any so i wouldnt know.

but thanx once again for the advice im a little less nervous about the whole thing.

i dont have my own trailer i was going to rent a new one. i dont think ill be able to get hay for the ride home though. i think ill pick up some timothy hay here and bring it in the trailer.

ive made the 620 mile trip every week for 3 years but never with the horses. its about 12 hours on the back roads which i plan to take just because its alot slowwer than going 75 mph on the 90.

just to make sure of what i need, please correct me if im wrong!!

good hay

fresh water

do they go tied or untied? i need some more opinion because i cant choose myself.

and i dont have boots for them yet and i dont think i can afford them now.

if you have more advice for me about this ill surely take it!!!!!

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i keep my guys tied with a bungee trailer tie. god forbid there be an emergency where i cant help them to get free, they can easily break them. bell boots should be sufficient for boots. and always offer water and keep fresh hay in front of them. seems youre good to go:)

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For this persons case with her not knowing how her horses are going to react and not used to hauling them I will have to agree with all of you that said do not unload!!!! Drive the 12 hrs straight thru.

But for other cases i totally disagree. Never Never Never unload?????????

Thats crazy, i haul all summer long every weekend staring thur afternoon

and returning late sun night. I am a million miles away from everything so all

my trips are long hrs. I unload every six hrs, i will pull into a fair grounds,

a park, in small towns i will unload at the gas station if there is some dirt

or grass to take them for a jog on. I get tired sitting in the truck so i unload

and take a quick jog with my ponies, water load back up and away we go.

My horses are broke and used to being hauled so not much bothers them.

Alot of the times i haul a 2 -3 yr old to season, and yup it gets out to, but i am

confident that i can control my horses.

Some of you reading this may freak, when i say gas station i am talking about small towns where you may run into several other traveling the circuit that are unloaded as well. No i would not unload downtown LA, lol. Were just pretty laid back out west.

Other than that the others have great tips for your journey. Good luck to you!

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Everybody has such good advice! Just wanted to put my two cent in about tying. As long as your horses know each other and you're not trailering a mare/stud or something I wouldn't tie your horses head. They need to be able to drop their head and clear the bacteria out. Plus, I just think it's more comfortable for them, I think their necks would be tired if they can't relax and put their head below a certain point for 12 hours.

Also, god forbid if something happens, having their head tied can be dangerous.

Try to relax and enjoy your trip!


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ok so i guess im going with not tieing them in the trailer. and yeah i bought both horses on the same day and theyve never been seperated for the past 3 years. the tb gelding doesnt like to be alone lol.

and ok one more dumb question.

the tb gelding that i ahve is around 1300 lbs and the pony mare is aroung 900. would the wweight difference do anything? lol sorry i just want to have alllll my bases cleared before i drive them 620 miles.

thanx for all your input. feel free to give me more tips and advice lol

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