How Often Should I Stop When Hauling My Horse?
How Often To Stop
- Stop at least every three to four hours for a break lasting between 30 minutes and an hour. Make sure you stop in a shady spot and the trailer is as open to the weather as possible. Trailers heat up quickly when there is no breeze. Use the breaks to replenish water and hay nets. Fill several hay nets in advance to save time and bring water from home to reduce the time you spend searching for an adequate water source. A full hay net keeps horses content and eases the stress of traveling. Ample hydration reduces the risk of colic. Bringing water from home also helps if your horse is finicky about the taste of its water. Another option is to accustom your horse to flavored water, such as Kool-Aid. Use the breaks to make sure the blanket and leg wraps are still secure and correctly positioned.
It's not always necessary to walk the horse, but some horses will not urinate unless they are outside the trailer. If you do walk your horse, make sure you have control of the animal and the area is secure.
In general, horses should not travel more than 18 hours without being unloaded and resting for a long period. Plan your rest stops ahead of time if your trip covers a long distance. Choose a safe place for unloading your horse if you plan to stop for the night. Keep in mind that horses can get skittish and excited when they're in a strange place. Be sure you're properly rested not only for the journey, but to handle the horse.
Risks Of Not Stopping
- Some haulers travel long distances without stopping. There's a legitimate concern that a horse will get injured if it bolts while loading or unloading in a strange place. But traveling for more than five hours without giving your horse a break carries its own risks.
Horses can become clinically dehydrated because they usually will not drink while traveling. When they lose at least five percent of their body weight due to dehydration, it can also lead to colic. Pleuropneumonia, or "shipping fever," develops in a horse's lungs when they cannot lower their head for long periods of time. This allows bacteria, dust and other irritants in the trailer to get lodged in the animal's respiratory system.