Traveling during the summer doesn’t seem all that bad? You hop in your truck, crank up the air, put on some tunes, and you are on your way! Unfortunately, your horses don’t feel the same way. That trailer is HOT. If the trailer is not properly ventilated, it is like a sauna on wheels! Not only can a hot trailer cause heat stress for your horse, it can also cause heat exhaustion which can be life threatening.
Your trailer doesn’t have to have air conditioning to stay cool. There are several different things you can do to keep your horses cool while going down the road. Here are seven ways to do just that:
- Plan ahead before you get behind the wheel. If you are traveling a long distance, be sure you know exactly where you are going and what the road conditions are like. Getting lost or stuck in construction can cause delays. The least amount of time your horse spends in the trailer, the better!
- Get up and get a move on! Traveling in the morning can be extremely beneficial for your horse. The temperatures are nice and cool which will really help your horse.
- No blankets, no wraps, nothing! That’s right. Let your horse go naked! Get rid of the blankets, coolers, anti-sweat sheets, even protective boots or wraps (if you and your horse are both experienced travelers). The more skin that is exposed to the air, the better.
- Ventilation is key. Make sure every single window and vent are open in the trailer during travel. If the window is large, make sure that you put bars or screens up to keep your horse safe. Don’t wait until the morning of to do this! The air movement will create a nice breeze through the trailer. Depending on the layout of your trailer, it is also a great idea to put fans in the front of the trailer facing the back to aid in circulation. If those fans are wired to a separate battery (not off the truck battery) then you will not run down the truck battery if they are left on accidentally.
- Water and fluids. Make sure you offer water to your horse several times during long hauls, especially if it is hot out. If your horse is notorious for not drinking on the road, load them up with fluids prior to leaving. Give him soaked hay, bran mashes, or other wet feed sources several days before your leave.
- Bring familiar water. Some horses will not drink unfamiliar water. They don’t like the smell or taste of it. If your horse is like this, make sure you bring water from home! You can also consider flavoring the water with Gatorade, packaged Koolaide, etc.
- Soak the hay in water. If you plan on providing your horse with hay while on the road, consider soaking it with water. This will help to keep your horse hydrated on the road and will also minimize the dust.
Traveling in the heat can be stressful but by following these seven tips, you can help to reduce that stress and keep your horse cool. It’s possible! Good luck and happy trails!
For more information on traveling in the heat, visit: http://horseandrider.com/article/10-tips-hot-trips-16271