Self-Trailer vs Professional Transport for Your Horse

WHICH OPTION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

The decision to move our family from Texas to Upstate New York in the spring of 2013 was met with an array of emotions, especially since our family included two horses that we had acquired while living just outside of Fort Worth.  A thousand questions flooded my brain – should I try and trailer them or hire an equine moving company?  What kind of stress does such a move inflict on a horse?  How much is this going to cost?  If you already own a trailer, this is going to be the more affordable option, but it is not right for everybody.

two horses
Two Horses

Self-trailering:

  • Have your vehicle and trailer inspected by a mechanic prior to setting out on a long trip to make sure that it is in good working order.
  • Plan on stopping every 2-3 hours to monitor your horse’s general health, offer water, and refill hay. Consider adding flavored electrolytes to water to encourage hydration.
  • Do not drive alone; have another driver to relieve you when fatigue sets in.
  • If possible, plan on driving straight to your location so your horse can get acclimated to their new setting as soon as possible.
  • Bringing along a horse buddy will reduce your horse’s stress during transport.
  • If you must stop overnight, be sure to find an overnight stop for your horse that includes a turnout pen so he can stretch his legs.
  • Always travel with a first aid kit that includes a thermometer, bandages, scissors, wound treatment, supplements, and medications such as banamine.
  • In the trailer, make sure that your horse can comfortably lower his head which will help to keep his respiratory tract clear of particulates.  Keeping the trailer well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature will also help to keep your horse healthy.  Soaking hay is advised to reduce dust in and around your horse’s airways.
Inside stalls of a commercial horse trailer
Inside stalls of a commercial horse trailer

Hiring an equine transportation company:

  • Do your research and pay close attention to customer reviews.
  • Make sure the company you choose is well established and run by people knowledgeable about horses.  There are a number of people who will transport horses for a reasonable fee, but are not experienced horse people.
  • Find out what the licensing laws are in your state and make sure the company you hire adheres to those regulations.
  • Any equine transportation company should have limited liability insurance. Consider purchasing additional insurance to cover your horse during the trip.
  • Get information about the equipment used to transport horses. Trailers should be well-ventilated and provide customers with a choice of stall sizes.
  • Find out how often stops are made to check on the horses and what emergency measures are in place if a horse does start to colic. While some transportation companies have cameras that monitor the horses, cameras cannot always tell a driver if a horse is going into distress.
  • Ask for the driver’s cell phone number.  As a horse owner, it is important to know that you can contact the driver at any time to check on the status of your horse during transport.
Commercial Horse Trailer
Commercial Horse Trailer

Whether you choose to transport your horse yourself or hire a professional to do the job, make sure your horse is healthy enough to travel.  Most states require that you travel with a current health certificate that is no more than 30 days old, as well as a copy of your horse’s negative coggins test.  Always check the equine laws of the state you plan on traveling to, as they are not always consistent.  Remember to bring along plenty of hay and grain to last for the duration of your trip.  Most horses take approximately three days to recover from long distance trips, so plan accordingly.

 

Guest post by Robyn Adams. Please visit her horse blog at: newbiehorserider.com Newbie Horse Rider – Blog for new adult horse riders

A bumper-pull two or three horse slant horse t...
A bumper-pull two or three horse slant horse trailer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)