Transporting Problems: Prevention
Transporting can not only be stressful on you, but especially on your horse. To ensure that you have a safe and comfortable trip there are many things that you need to consider, prepare for and avoid. Training, experience and sometimes mistakes are what it takes before you and your horse can have a successful stress free travel trip. Below is a list of the most common problems.
It is important that your horse float has regular servicing. Even though it doesn’t have a motor, it still requires to be checked over by a professional. You can create yourself a daily checklist to ensure that you go over what you can before heading out.
- Check light/power plug is connected to the vehicle;
- Check safety chain is connected;
- Check tow coupling is secure;
- Check handbrake is released;
- Check tyre condition, tread, sidewall cracks etc;
- Check wheel nut and indicators;
- Ensure jockey wheel is in travel position;
- Ensure number plate is visible;
- Is the registration up to date?
- Check all lights;
- Ensure the load is secured.
It is a good idea to have a certified professional carry out a safety inspection and service every 6 months. As mentioned before, even though a horse float does not have a motor it still has components which require regular attention.
- Service wheel bearings - replacing anything that are not serviceable;
- Inspect all braking components;
- Inspect the brakes and condition of all mechanical linkages - replacing all faulty or worn components;
- Inspect axle and suspension for any breaks, damages, wears and cracks;
- Physical inspection of all nuts, bolts, locking devices, springs, shackles, shackle pins, plates, suspension arms, axle, shock absorbers and bushes;
- Grease jockey wheel.
It isn't uncommon for a horse to get stressed when travelling but it can be caused by a number of things. This may include length of travel or experience, most commonly is it caused from a physical or mental discomfort. It’s important that your horse doesn't feel pressured onto a float, remember, horses are flight animals and a horse float is seen as a dark cave where a predator might be. Regular training can assist in getting your horse to load by himself and understanding that there is nothing that is going to hurt him. Carrying a familiar item can help make your horse feel at home, such as a treat, feed, or a horse rug which may smell like home.
Fatigue & Dehydration
Road trips over 2 hours can be extremely exhausting, which is why it is always a good idea to take regular break when travelling long distances. Being a driver is tiring but standing up for such a long period of time in a moving vehicle is just as exhausting, if not more. Dehydration can lead to many other problems. It is important to plan regular stops to give your horse some water, to rest and maybe even stretch his legs. Ensure you have emergency electrolytes in your first aid kit.
The weather and temperature are always changing, sometimes it’s a super hot day or it’s freezing cold and rainy. If you are travelling in the middle of summer, ensure that you have lots of drinking water available and find time to wash your horse’s body to help cool him down. If it’s a cold or rainy day, make sure you don’t forget to pack rain sheets or a warm winter rug.