As the weather continues to get nicer you will find yourself putting more miles on your horse and trailer. No matter what the purpose of your haul may be or how well your horse travels, this puts stress and anxiety on your horse from the moment he/she steps on the trailer. It's important to prevent colic while traveling. Stress can have an impact on your horse’s eating and drinking. The heat associated with summer hauling can increase the risk of dehydration, electrolyte loss and heat stress. This stress and heat increases the risk of colic. Colic is a medical emergency. Contact a veterinarian immediately if you begin to see these signs:
- Attempts to lay down
- Kicking at his/her belly
- Trying to turn his/her head around to nudge or bite their flank
- Standing in a stretched out position to urinate but producing no urine
You can help reduce the amount of stress your horse is under by hauling safely and wisely. Follow these seven steps:
1. Haul when temperatures are coolest
– Try hauling at night or in the early morning to keep the temperature in the trailer down.
2. Give your horse electrolytes prior to the drive
– With your vet’s approval, give your horse electrolytes so he/she will be well hydrated
during your travels.
3. Have Banamine on hand
– Banamine is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, which will help your horse if there are any colic symptoms until you can get to the nearest vet.
4. Allow airflow in the trailer
– Open all vents and windows to allow as much ventilation as possible in the trailer. Do NOT open drop down windows and allow your horse to stick their heads out. This can cause head, neck and eye injuries.
5. Stop and park in the shade
– Every 4-5 hours, park your trailer in the shade and shut off the truck. This will bring down your horse’s anxiety level. If your horse loads easily, unload them and let them stretch.
6. Offer water at every stop
– Let your horse drink plenty of water. If possible, bring water from home so he/she is used to it.
7. Stop overnight
– If your haul is over 12 hours, plan an overnight stop. Horses will be less stressed if they’ve had an 8-hour break.
Keep these 7 steps in mind while hauling and you will have a much more enjoyable and safe trip for your horse! For more information on colic-free travels, visit: http://equisearch.com/article/colic-free-travel