Across Town or Cross Country: Saving Your Horse from Transport Stress!
Motion sickness and travel stress affects many people, but did you know that horses can get stressed when traveling, too?
Most of the time, owners can lessen the stress and sickness for their horses by simply being more careful when loading the trailer and while driving.
It is safe and simple to transport horses, if you consider all the factors that could cause your animal undue stress. Take steps to reduce, or even remove them. Doing so will not only protect your precious cargo, it will give you the peace of mind to keep your focus on the road.
If you’re taking your horse horse across town or across the nation, the following recommendations can make the ride much easier for everyone.
Think Head Heavy
Horses bow their heads often. They’re not depressed – they do this to alleviate respiratory stress and for mucus-draining purposes. Traveling in a straightaway trailer with limited space stresses horses and their ability to breathe. They may even compete with the other horses for extra space in the carriage. If trailer room is limited, leave your horses untied, or give them enough leeway to move around a bit and bow their heads for better breathing and comfort.
Make Friendships and Friend Trips
When possible, ship horses with their friends, meaning other horses they’re familiar with. This lowers the risk of attracting disease from other animals. Also, like humans, horses feel comfortable around those they know. They feel less stress when coupled with recognizable horse mates. Consider investing in a 2-horse gooseneck trailer, which provides a lot of space, yet allows for plenty of comforting companionship.
Always Keep it Clean
In tight spaces, pathogens from manure have a far greater influence on a horse’s respiratory system, especially if the animal is already feeling stressed from the trip. Always clean your horse trailer thoroughly between treks. For long trips, stop intermittently to clean manure from the trailer, and wash away all traces of urine and dried feces.
Teach the Horse to Load
Loading is extremely stressful for horses, and a time when injury is most likely to occur. Teach your horse the loading procedure by walking them through it until they are comfortable with the process. Don’t overwork your horse by over-practicing, though. Just get them familiar with loading, and give them a refresher course once or twice a week.
If your horse is especially difficult or reluctant to learn, hire an experienced and patient trainer. If there has been a longer gap in trips, take your horse for a practice run by making a short road trip.
Maintain Air Quality
Unless you’re traveling in the colder northern territory, it’s not likely your horse will get too cold. However, horses become stressed and sick due to poor ventilation and rising temperatures inside the trailer. Leave the trailer windows or vents open. Check for drafts coming from the back of the trailer that could blow exhaust fumes into the small area. Maintain great air quality and make accommodations to keep the inner cabin from becoming too hot or cold for your animals.
Let Your Horses Rest
Travel taxes horses, both mentally and physically. If you’re planning on using your horse for an athletic or farm-related event after the journey, leave early to give the animal a few days, even as much as up to one week, to rest and get its strength back. For after-trip conditioning, give your horse about a week to recover and get back to normal health after a long drive.
Timing and money may be important factors to consider, but the best way to care for your horses is to adopt a slow and steady driving routine, rather than an erratic and time-sensitive trip full of stress.
In order to understand hauling horses better, have someone drive the trailer while you sit in the back, mocking the ride of the horses. Some horse owners even secure a half-full glass of water to the top of the dashboard, noting that any water splashing outside the glass is the direct result of erratic and potentially unsafe driving.
Dan Kelly has been working with horses since he volunteered at a neighbor’s ranch as a teenager. With a heart for their grace and strength, he often writes about horse training and care on equestrian blogs and training sites.
Learn more about horses. See the World of Horses and Ponies with all types of horse breeds from light horses and ponies, to draft horses!
Horse people honor and celebrate just about everything, but with a wonderful horseman’s twist!
Horsemen and women are passionate about anything horse. Websites, facebook pages, and blogs dedicated to horse lovers are filled with pictures and quotes that embrace the finest qualities we each strive for.
Strength and courage, passion, love, hard work and endurance spread across the pages. But the simple everyday riches of life are also embraced like smiles, spring, horse shedding season, and even the fact that it’s a Friday! Quickly I find myself being drawn in, and loving it!
I was so fortunate to be raised in a family where horses were a big part of our activities. My father, raised on a ranch in Eastern Montana, felt horsemanship was a fundamental part of life. Trail riding, cattle herding, and rodeos were all part of our fare.
The short summer seasons were filled with exploring on horseback, heading out with a packed lunch, and swimming gear incase we chanced upon a stream or pond. During the long winter season, the horses were kept at a highland ranch, where moving cattle between pastures was an ongoing affair. With 10 children, local ranchers loved to have us show up at branding time. All those extra hands helped the work go smoothly and quickly. Then the arrival of springtime had my brothers trying their hands at bronco busting in local rodeos. All these wonderful parts of a young, blossoming horse person set the stage for my life as a passionate horse lover.
Owning a Horse… the ultimate passion
Horses are still used for ranching and other types of work, but the joy of riding and keeping them as companions is what stirs the hearts of even more people today. Each horse breed has its unique abilities and charm, and there’s a horse for every type of person.
Getting the right horse depends on what you imagine doing with it. There are many types of horses, each with their individual breed characteristics. They come in a variety of colors and vary greatly in height and size, as well as temperament. Be patient and take the time to determine what you want, because owning a horse is not only a fabulous experience, but a big responsibility.
Horses are commonly divided into three groups; Light Horses, Draft or Heavy Horses, and Ponies.
Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Maria Wahlberg of Sweden
- Light Horse Breeds – The majority of the riding horses are found in the light breeds. All Light Horses originally descended from the Arabian type. They have great strength and stamina, and depending on the breed, can be used in a variety of show disciplines, with some specialized as racing breeds.
- Heavy Horse Breeds – The heavier types, commonly known as Draft Horses were developed from the bulkier equines found in the northern hemisphere. They generally have a quiet calm temperament, but they are big and strong.
- Pony Breeds – Ponies on the other hand, are small. The Pony Breeds are durable horses that evolved smaller in stature, but strong and hardy, because they came from areas where there was often inferior nutrition and harsh environments. They are very durable and usually require less care than the other two groups, but they are also more independent.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy ken taylor
Horse paraphenalia… extending the passion
Whether you own a horse or not, once you become a horse lover you’ll find yourself drawn to anything that has to do with horses. I find myself perking up with interest when watching movies or television, whenever a horse comes onto the scene. The super bowl halftime is a favorite, just to see those beautiful Clydesdales in the Budweiser commercials. A recent episode of the fantasy drama “Da Vinci’s Demons” even includes an Andalusian, the beautiful Pure Spanish Horse.
The Internet is great for finding all sorts of tack, equipment, and riding gear. But it is also a great place to find all sorts of cool horse related accessories, knickknacks, and collectables.
I collect Painted Ponies from the popular “Trail of Painted Ponies” project. Rod Barkser, a writer who makes his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, started the project. He was actually prompted to begin the Trail of Painted Ponies project because of a public art exhibition entitled “Cow Parade” that he came across while passing through Chicago during a research trip. He was charmed by these artistically transformed cows, and took it to a new level. He was inspired by the ponies of Santa Fe, and today many artists submit designs for competition, and the results are wonderful pieces of collectable art!
There are too many different types of collectibles to even begin to outline them here. But if you are a horse lover and collector of horse related art, accessories, and collectables, you can check out the horse section of a website called The Collectionary.
The Horses Collectionary is a growing library of horse collectibles and nostalgic items that are fun to peruse, and you can join and share your collections as well.
Happy horse loving, enjoy your passion!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Horses are strong animals who have beautiful coats. Used for everything from war to work, horses have been loyal companions to the human race over the years. Are you considering buying a horse? Here are some particulars on going about the process.
They are great to watch in action. If you’ve never been to an equestrian show, then you are missing a treat. Horses learn to gracefully jump hurdles, perform fantastic feats and show off their individual character. These large animals are incredibly well behaved when trained.
But, is a horse right for you? Maybe your son or daughter is asking for one. Or, you think it would be nice to own one. The process is not like buying a cat or a dog. It is a bit more involved. Here are some points to consider first.
Horse Buying Tips
1. Learn as much as you can about horses – You will likely have questions like: What type of horse is best for me? How can I tell a healthy horse from a sick one? What does a horse need? Will I like riding them? Believe it or not, people will buy a horse when they don’t even know if they like riding it or not. That’s an expensive pet if you find that you don’t like the feel of the animal!
2. Take a horse for a test drive – Before purchasing any pet, find out how you will like it. Take horse riding lessons. Lease a horse and see if you like dealing with him on a full time basis. Through lessons, you will get a feel for what equipment is needed for riding a horse and how to care for him.
3. Talk to other horse owners – Join a horse club or an online community for horse owners. You can get information on the cost of feeding, the type of housing, transportation, veterinary requirements, exercise, training and the like. There is a lot involved with caring for such a large animal.
4. Take your time – It can take months or even longer to find just the right horse at the right price. During this time investigate if you have the money to maintain a horse and the right facility to house him. Some find ways to board at the farm of a friend or in stables for a fee.
5. Get a clean bill of health – You may find that buying a horse can be cheaper from a private owner instead of a breeder. But, be sure that you are getting what you pay for. Get a qualified medical assessment from a veterinarian who can examine the horse before you sign on the dotted line. Also, consult a trainer to check the horse’s temperament.
Do you want to buy a horse? Buying a horse is not a process that should be rushed into. Read the above tips to be sure you are ready.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Quarter Horse!
Have you ever wanted a horse or marveled at what beautiful creatures they are? Chances are, you have! Quarter Horses are just one type that you might be interested in!
Quarter Horses are truly an American breed of horse. Everyone has heard of them, and many people consider them to be one of the best all around breeds of horses. I will start with some history. They are one of the oldest breeds in America – starting from the early 17th century in Virginia, when settlers got horses from the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaw Indians horses were descendants of horses brought by Spanish explorers. These horses were then bred with English running horses, which gave them a good solid horse which could do everything they needed, from pulling and hauling, to riding and herding horses. In fact, the Quarter Horse eventually got its name because it could sprint a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse! Today, Quarter Horse racing is still in effect in the western United States.
The American Quarter Horse Association was the first registry for these horses, being founded in 1940 by Robert Denhard. It is now the largest breed registry in the world with over 3 million registered horses! These horses are considered a stocky type of light horse breed. They usually weigh under 1,500 pounds and are used most often as leisure horses. They can be used for other tasks as well – such as racing, ranch working, and as show horses. The Quarter Horse can reach 15-16 hands and they are compact, stocky, and muscular horses.
Quarter Horse care is fairly easy as far as horse care goes. They keep weight on quite easily and only need a low amount of daily feed (compared to some other horses). Their diet should consist of grass and hay, with vitamin and mineral supplements provided on a minimum basis as needed. They can become overweight somewhat easily so you must make sure to not overfeed them! This may be because their ancestors were free-roaming plain horses, making it necessary to thrive on the simple foods that were available. These horses can be kept in either a pasture or a stall, and they should be provided with ample exercise.
Training of Quarter Horses includes many different activities and sports because of their speed and agility. They are excellent at cutting, reining and gymkhana. They are also great at ranch-type work, including driving cattle which makes them wonderful Western Pleasure Horses. They can also do well at jumping and English Pleasure activities. They are very good at stopping quickly and turning sharply. In general these horses are fairly attentive and responsive in temperament, making them great family horses, beginner horses, and trail riding horses.
In general, Quarter Horses are pretty hardy horses and they live some of the longest lives! It takes ongoing neglect of their basic maintenance to really cause them problems. However, one genetic disease to be on the look out for before purchasing a Quarter Horse is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This disease is not very common but it is passed down from the sire and should be tested for in any horse that you plan to obtain. The disease causes uncontrolled muscle twitching and/or muscle weakness and can sometimes cause collapse and death.
Quarter Horses are available just about everywhere in the United States and you should be able to locate one quite easily if you wish to obtain one. Look at Animal-World’s page on Quarter Horses for more information.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
"I am a powerful, hard-working horse!"
With a heritage traced to the Alpine mountain ponies, the Haflinger is very hardy and strong,
but also sweet tempered!
The Haflinger, also known as the Avelignese is a rather small but sturdy chestnut colored horse descended down from the Tyrolean ponies of Austria and northern Italy. These horses only stand between 13 to 15 hands high, however they are ponies… Read More