Keep Your Horse Safe and Happy in the Trailer

By Katherine Blocksdorf, Guide

•Use a trailer tie instead of a lead rope. Lead ropes can dangle out of doors and windows and become entangled with disastrous results.


•Provide hay in a hay bag or net to keep your horse busy during the ride. Remember to tie haynets high so your horse can't get a forefoot through.


•Water frequently during long trips. Stop in a quiet area and offer your horse water to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather.


•Give your horse a break during long trips. Horse are constantly using their muscles to balance in the trailer. If you are hauling more than 2 hours one way, consider making stops at safe quiet areas, so horses can relax and stretch. Remember to 'stoop and scoop' manure before you leave. Picnic areas, parks and other green spaces can be used.


•Give your horse time to recover after long trips before riding or driving.


•Provide safe footing. Wood and metal floors can be slippery, especially when wet. Some metal floors are very abrasive on hooves. Consider putting down rubber matting that is non-slip and provides some shock absorption.


•Secure loose items. Don't leave buckets, hay bales, or other equipment loose in the front of the trailer where they could slide under the horse's feet.


•Put the largest horse on the road side. Roads are made higher in the middle so moisture runs off easier. The trailer will be more balanced with a single or heavier horse on the higher (driver's) side.


•Look after the driver. Hauling horses can be stressful. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and avoid driving while overtired. Of course never drink alcohol and drive any vehicle hitched to a trailer or not.


•Don't tie too high or low. Your horse should be able to move its head up and down naturally. Tie too low and they could put a foreleg over the tie.