Around 2 million Americans own an equine friend, with many needing to transport their pet at some point. First things first, check your horse over before you travel to ensure they are fit and well as traveling can be stressful for them. Do not travel if you have any doubts and contact a vet if required. If a vet is happy for your horse to travel you’ll have peace of mind and your horse will arrive safe and healthy.
What Sort Of Vehicle Is Suitable?
Simply put, the weight of your car needs to be more than the weight of what you’re towing. Around 20% of accidents that occur when towing horses are fatal, so having safety in mind when buying a new or used vehicle for this purpose is vital. If the weight of your trailer and horse combined are heavier than your car you may feel like you’re being towed by the trailer and the trailer can jerk around, making for a very stressful drive. An average horse weighs 1,000 pounds, double that if you’re towing two horses and add at least 2,300 pounds for your trailer and then anything else inside, like hay and water. When hauling these sort of weights you may be required to get a commercial driver’s licence to tow your trailer
Different Trailer Types
Trailers can be classified as straight load or slant load. A straight load is most common for a small trailer for two horses where they will stand side-by-side facing forward. They are usually cheaper than a slant load. A slant load trailer has the horses stand side-by-side but facing diagonally. It’s up to your preferences and the needs of your horses for which you feel is most suitable. Having a ramp is ideal as it makes it easier for the horses to get in and out of the trailer, avoiding the risk of them slipping when stepping out without a ramp and causing them to panic. A long ramp with a gradual slant is the best option for smoother loading and unloading.
Traveling Long Distances
If your horse has traveled before, perhaps a short distance to a local event or with a previous owner, they will be used to being confined in a trailer. The smoother your driving the less stressful the journey will be for your horse. You’ll need to drive slower than usual, especially when turning and going over bumps in the road. It’s recommended that you stop every few hours to check your horse has some hay and plenty to drink to avoid dehydration. Untying them so they can lower their head to avoid stiffness will help keep them comfortable. If you are traveling overnight it’s ideal to stop somewhere that the horse can come out of the trailer, such as a stable.
Building a good relationship with your horse so you understand their behavior and trust each other will make towing them in a trailer a lot easier. The right trailer and a suitable car is then the most important aspect to safe traveling. When you get to wherever you’re going, whether it’s an event, a beautiful landscape to go riding or you’re moving to a new part of the country, enjoy it when you get there.