How To Keep Your Horse Safe While Towing (Ultimate Guide)
There are copious things a person needs to consider while towing a horse.
Does your vehicle have sufficient towing capacity? Can I tow my horse on the wet, high wind, or icy days?
Are there any chances of injury or infections in open windows while allowing your horse to head outdoors to the trailer? But, how will the airflow take place if the windows of trailers are closed? You must ask all of these questions before successfully hauling a horse. One must even have to plan the size of escape doors for horses.
If these precautions have not been taken, you and your horse might meet with a fatal accident or a road crash. To avoid such accidents, one must be aware of all the previous safeguards to be taken before hauling a horse. We have brought you a whole guide on how to keep your horse safe while towing. Let’s see what these significant measures are.
Construction of a trailer.
When we are talking about the safety of your various kinds of breeds of horse, the apt construction of a trailer occupies the first place. The trailer must be strong and well equipped with all the required features and tools important for your horse’s security. While choosing a trailer, one must keep in mind the following things:
The construction of a trailer:
The generous height of a horse remains 7-8 feet. The trailer’s height must be 10-12 inches above horse height. On the other hand, the width of the trailer must be 3-4 inches wider for the sideways comfortable movement of your horse.
The frame of a trailer:
The frame of horse trailers is usually made of either aluminum or steel or their alloys. Aluminum trailers are cost-effective, require less maintenance, and provide decent resale value than steel. The con is that Aluminum gets subjected to rusting and undermining easily.
But in terms of security, the steel trailer wins the battle. There are fewer chances of structural breaks and strain fractures in the case of steel. These trailers are subjected to heavy weights and remain comparatively cooler than aluminum ones.
Nowadays, many composites and well-equipped facilitated horse trailers are present in the market. You can check the most stylish and comfortable horse trailers on doubledtrailers.com
Besides the trailer’s construction and frame, the following points must also be kept in mind for horse safety:
- Ensure that your horse is happy after getting it inside the trailer.
- Make sure the snag is rigid and all of the trailer’s doors are well closed before heading to hauling.
- The chest bars must be tightened up to the roof of the chest of the horse while butt bars should be either in the middle or lower part of the thigh.
- The bars must have a smooth release even in case the full weight of the horse falls on them.
Preparing the vehicle.
While preparing the vehicle for safely towing your horse, one must keep the following points in mind:
- The foremost thing to consider while preparing your vehicle for hauling is to check its towing capacity. The vehicle towing capacity must be around 2000kg – 2600kg to successfully tow a horse.
- Generally, the weight of the vehicle chosen must be more than the trailer for towing. However, several advanced vehicles are present in the market nowadays which can pull heavyweight easily and are fuel-efficient too.
- The wheelbase is the length measured from the front to the rear axle of your tow vehicle. The wider wheelbase reduces the chances of accidents by developing a teeter-totter effect.
- A large amount of weight can be towed with a two-wheel vehicle, but when it comes to security, four-wheel vehicles are more stable and provide a safe drive, especially on wet or slippery roads.
Readying your horse for a drive.
The phrase readying your horse for a drive seems cool but preparing it for towing is not that easy or cool. You have to consider a lot of factors to prepare your horse’s mind for traveling.
First of all, no matter how many times your horse has hit a veterinarian. When it comes to traveling, your horse must hit the veterinarian within 30 days before traveling. Make sure it has gone through all the medical tests before hauling. Secondly, you must train your horse to stand still and be appropriately grounded.
Horses are generally allergic to dusty areas. Hence, if you are planning to prepare bedding for your horse in the trailer, make sure it is dust-free and nonallergic to your horse to rescue your horse from catching respiratory problems while traveling.
Plan your rest spots before heading on your long journey. It is recommended to take a rest for your horse’s safety after every 8 hours of traveling. But that doesn’t allow you to open the trailer and let your horse wander.
Resting refers to just opening the windows so that your horse can rehydrate itself and can clear its respiratory tract. You must also weigh your horse before traveling. Horses are likely to lose 5% or 4-5kg weights while traveling. You have to make sure that the horse regains its weight within four to seven days after traveling.
The hydration of horses is the most significant thing to keep in mind while hauling. Your horse must be given water after every three hours.
You should not add electrolytes to a horse’s water unless it is very important, because adding electrolytes can lead to electrolyte and water imbalance.
Moreover, you should bring your horse water with you as horses may not get subjected to drinking every kind of water. If it is not possible, you can add some flavors to the water to make it drinkable for your horse.
How to keep your horse stress free while hauling?
Horses can catch stress and anxiety while traveling. But, what are the signs of realizing that your horse is under stress? The signs of horses catching stress include:
- Flank watching
- Spanking or beating the trailer
- Pulling itself back
- Turning their head around
All these symbols indicate the stress of your horse while hauling. The respiratory tract of horses has somewhat a direct connection with your horse stress.
You must ensure that your horse is allowed to keep its heads down whenever wanted so that infectious agents and mucus can’t enter the horse’s respiratory tract.
Subjecting to higher contact with these toxic agents leads to harmful throat infections. A before and after a check of the horse is necessary as serum cortisol and heart rate tends to increase while traveling and remain elevated for up to 12 hours.
Horses don’t usually open up their stress levels. In spite, they just show off that they are all fine, so you have to be their companion to identify and reduce their stress.
From poor driving methods to the effects of nearby transports, each thing around the horse can play a part in building up stress levels.
Mini stops and proper ventilation also work well to reduce horse stress. Rests in between prepare your horse to recover from fatigue and get ready physically and mentally for another ride.
Should I provide companions to my horse?
It remains the biggest question to haulers whether they should provide some companionship to their horse or not.
The clear answer is no. Two more horses don’t fit well while hauling. If not both, one of your horses might catch stress and anxiety, which may harm the second horse seriously. You should not take this chance until necessary.
It is only advisable to carry two horses together when both of your horses are excellent and experienced travelers. Delicate or complex leg injuries are most common when two horse buddies travel together.
Should I keep the windows open for horses while hauling?
Keeping the windows open is a bad idea because the horses try to escape from the trailer while seeing the windows open. It creates anxiety and the horse may get out of control.
It tries to look out of the window and thus, may get injured with outside stuff. Cigarettes or any flammable substance may enter the trailer as a result of which, hay may catch fire.
Eye injuries and abrasions are even common in horses traveling with windows open. Another problem is debris which may stir up with excess airflow, causing respiratory problems to your horse.
Now, what is the solution? The best option is to possess a grate for proper airflow and sunlight. It helps close the window and does not allow your horse to step their head out of the trailer.
The next question is how big is your trailer’s escape door? Do you know that full-size escape doors are harmful to your horse? Mostly in slant trailers, horses are found to have their limbs broken because of large escape doors.
Sharp ends of the escape door may cause serious injuries and may reduce blood supply to horse foot, harming the vascular system, and causing lifetime health issues or sudden death. Hence, it is advised to have short escape doors for your horse in a trailer.
Which weather is adequate to head to towing?
It is always profitable to keep a pre-weather check report before taking your horse for towing. You should completely avoid icy days or high wind days for hauling. Even excess hot weather can worsen the health conditions of your horse.
Extra heat absorbed by the horse’s core gets transferred to the horse’s body to lessen heat via convection, conduction, and radiation.
Horse heartbeat increases, and it starts sweating to lose body heat. It results in body dehydration, fatal heat exhaustion, and stress. But with some precautions, we can plan a smooth and prosperous journey with your horse.
You must keep these points in mind before heading towards a hot hauling:
- Try to cut down the time of your trip by planning the shortest route before starting your journey.
- Make sure you have all your paperwork ready with you because delaying at border crossings due to papers in extreme heat conditions may be lethal for your horse’s health.
- Don’t take stress about decorating or wrapping your horse with several kinds of clothes. Instead, keep your horse naked throughout your summer journey. It allows extra heat to flow from your horse’s body to the environment. You can go for simple protective boots or bandages on the legs of a horse.
- Start timely from your destination so that you can cross the hotter areas earlier before the temperature accumulates.
- Make sure all the grates or windows are open to allow heat to get out from the trailer.
- Start giving your horse electrolytes in its food and water from five to seven days. But excess electrolytes are harmful to health, so make sure you provide non-electrolyte water equally.
- Plan a decent diet chart full of nutrients and hydrating substances for your horse. These substances are mandatory for a horse’s proper body functioning. Foods such as bran mashes, soaked hay, soggy beet pulp, etc. are good to keep your horse hydrated. You must start adding these foods to your horse’s diet at least 7-8 days before hauling.
- If your horse finds it strenuous to drink while towing, administer some fluids via IV catheter before leaving.
- Moisten the hay before giving it to your horse. It will let the horse’s body consume more water, thus lessening dehydration.
- Allow your horse to rest for at least 3 days after reaching your destination. This resting gap is mandatory for your horse to regain its weight and normalize body functioning, specifically if your horse is going to perform in a race or competition.
From the construction of a trailer, choosing its frame, finding a suitable vehicle, readying your horse for a drive, choosing the size of escape doors and windows, choosing companions, and selecting an adequate season for hauling, every single detailing is a must-consider before towing.
A single mistake is enough to destroy your trailer and it may be fatal for you and your horse. To avoid such accidents, you must adopt all of the above-mentioned precautions before shipping.
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