The Long Haul: Traveling Long-Distances With Horses

A U.S. Equestrian Team veterinarian who has overseen the shipping of horses to six Olympic Games shares what steps to take before, during, and after a long-distance trailer ride.
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The Long Haul
Regardless of who's behind the steer wheel, long trailer rides are associated with many stresses, including temperature extremes and humidity, flies, air quality issues, and potential exhaustion, dehydration, and disease exposure. | Photo: iStock

Steps to take before, during, and after a long-distance trailer ride

Sarah Burris bought a lovely young cowhorse from Idaho in an online sale. There was only one problem: She lives in North Carolina and needed to ship the filly across the country to get her home. The filly was sensitive and not a good eater to begin with, says Burris. As a result, she arrived underweight, depressed, slightly dehydrated, and sporting a snotty nose. 

Many owners ship horses all over the country these days, whether to attend competitions or relocate. Some haul their horses themselves, while others hire carriers to do the job.

Regardless of who’s behind the steering wheel, long trailer rides are associated with many stresses, including temperature extremes and humidity, flies and other insects, air quality issues, and potential exhaustion, dehydration, and disease exposure

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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