The summer time has a number of horse related activities that we love to attend – horse shows, rodeos, trail riding, and more. It is hard as horse owners to not transport your horse in hot weather and this summer has been exceptionally hot in many areas. Trailering your horse in hot weather can actually be more dangerous than you think. Use these tips to avoid scorching heat and stress that can go along with that:
- Easy on the electrolytes. Many people say that you should provide your horse with plenty of electrolytes because they sweat and lose nutrients in the summer. Although this is true, providing your horse with electrolytes before trailering can be a bad idea. Giving your horse electrolytes and not providing enough water while on the road can cause your horse to become severely dehydrated. If you do give your horse electrolytes, offer him water every couple of hours.
- Haul healthy horses. Only haul your horse if he is in good health. Of course there are cases where you make an emergency vet visit, but other than that, your horse should only be hauled when they are healthy. Transport stress can compromise the immune system of sick horses.
- Avoid sheets. Putting a sheet on your horse can keep them clean throughout the ride but it will also trap heat against their body.
- Ventilate the trailer. Prior to loading your horse, open all doors, windows, roof vents, and turn on some fans. Keep the trailer as cool as possible. Once your horse is loaded, keep windows and roof vents open.
- Modify your trailer. If your trailer does not have screens on the windows, add them. This will avoid foreign objects coming in the trailer while driving. Having tubular head and shoulder dividers will help with the airflow. You can add oscillating fans. Having Rumber floors – www.rumber.com helps keep the trailer cooler (you can’t add these floors after factory). If you don’t have Rumber floors make sure you always have Rubber mats over your floor. All trailers with dressing rooms should have a window in the dress wall that opens, so you can get the airflow back to the horses (make sure you open the front windows in the dressing room).
- Load horses last. Don’t keep your horse waiting in the hot trailer. Load all your tack before you load your horse. Then once your horse is loaded, you are ready to hit the road.
- Drive when it is cooler. If possible, drive at night or in the wee hours of the morning before the sun is beating down. This will make the ride cooler for the horse.
- Offer water. Stop every couple of hours and offer your horse some water. If you keep water in the trailer stall, keep in mind, some horses won’t drink on a moving trailer.
- Don’t park in the sun. If you need to stop, be sure to park in the shade. The sun beating down on the trailer will heat it up quickly.
- Load and unload with ease. Make sure your horse is able to load and unload with ease. This will avoid any additional stress for both your horse and you.
It is hard to avoid travel during the summer. Trailering in the heat can be rough on a horse but keep these ten tips and mind and you will be able to make it much more enjoyable!