Top Tips for Long-Distance Travel With Your Horse
Guest post by Chelford Farm Supplies: There’s all sorts of reasons why you might need to transport your horse from one location to anot...
There’s all sorts of reasons why you might need to transport your horse from one location to another, but while most modern trailers and boxes are designed for equine safety and comfort, you’ll still need to take care of their welfare on the road.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) define any long journey as being those lasting eight hours or more and if you are transporting a horse or pony for commercial or economic purposes, specific transport regulations apply. The most important rules to note are that:
● All horses and ponies are well and fit for travel, unless the journey is required to visit a veterinarian.
● Animal Transport Certificates are to obtained for non-export journeys.
● For journeys of up to 8 hours, all drivers and handlers must possess a Certificate of Competence and hold Type 1 Transporter Authorisation. For journeys longer than 65km or eight hours, Type 2 Transporter Authorisation is required.
● Horses and ponies older than 8 months old must wear halters.
● Transport temperatures must not fall below 0˚C at any point during the journey.
During transport, the main risks to horse and pony health are stress, dehydration and accidents but you can minimise those risks by doing the following:
● Plan your journey carefully before you set off and limit equine stress by finding routes that, where possible, are free from high numbers of roundabouts, traffic lights or congestion. Also, look for routes with suitable places for making rest stops and, if needed, stabling for overnight travel.
● Horse boxes and trailers can quickly get hot and stuffy and this can put your horse at risk of dehydration or cause general malaise. Always travel with box windows open for constant ventilation and monitor the temperature every time you take a break.
● Take breaks from the road every 4-6 hours to give your horse a drink and where possible, some time to graze. Letting them leave the trailer to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and recover from the confinement and motion of the road will help to reduce and manage their stress levels.
● Drench the ramp of your horse box with water. It will help to cool the air inside the box and minimise dust particles which can be particularly troublesome for horses who suffer with allergic rhinitis or lung conditions.
● For journeys of more than four hours, you’ll need to provide your horse with hay in haynets, but in such a confined space, hay can also be a source of dust so soak it well before use.
● Don’t forget to take care of you too! Wear comfortable equestrian clothing, pack plenty of snacks and drinks for the journey, take a break if you start to feel tired and keep your mobile phone charged so you can call for assistance in the event of an accident or breakdown.
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