When I moved from Florida to North Carolina a few years ago, I naturally brought my warmblood mare, Hilda, with me. It was my first time dealing with moving a horse that far (a whopping 700 miles!) and I was definitely overwhelmed.
If you’re planning a long trip with your hooved friend, you’re in luck! I’ve collected a few tips for hauling horses long distances, so you don’t have to be as frantic and panicky as I was.
Tip #1 – Be a Boy Scout! “Be Prepared”
Don’t plan on waking up the morning of your journey intent on just winging it, because there is a lot that can go wrong. You should always check any vehicle before a long trip, and your truck and trailer are no different!
Your truck should be up to date on all maintenance – make sure all the fluids are checked, oil changes have been done, brakes work well, tires are in good shape, and windshield wipers actually wipe the windshields. If you can’t do this yourself take it to a trusted mechanic!
Your trailer should also be checked over before the trip. Make sure the floors are in good shape, the lights and brakes work, and all the windows and vents open and close!
Both your truck and trailer should have a spare tire, jack, and tire chocks. Actually, check your spares to be sure they don’t show signs of dry rot and are inflated properly.
If you’re planning on stopping somewhere overnight, you will need to bring your trailer coupler lock. Your trip would turn into a nightmare if you woke up to a missing trailer!
Tip #2 – Make a List and Check It Twice
Make a list of EVERYTHING you need for your trip and check it off as you go. It’s easy to forget something in a rush as you get ready to hit the road and writing it down in advance can save you time and money.
If you’re crossing state borders, you’ll need a health certificate and Coggins Test. Different states have different requirements, so double check EVERY state you will cross.
Your horse will need enough water and hay for the whole trip, and you should bring extra halters, lead ropes, trailer ties, and buckets.
Tip #3 – Break Early, Break Often
You should plan to stop about every four hours for around twenty minutes or so. Make sure to stop in the shade and give your horse a chance to relax their stiff muscles. Offer your horse water, replenish their hay, and make sure they look comfortable and healthy
If you are going to be traveling for over 24 hours, it’s a good idea to find a place to stop for the night. The longer a horse is riding in the trailer, the more likely they are to become sick with a common transport illness like colic or shipping fever.
I hope these tips helped you prepare for your long trip! I’d love to hear about your escapades, so please share and tell me how your journey went!