This might involve some planning ahead, but it’s important that your horse is up-to-date with all of his vaccines well in advance of the travel date! The travel season is a prime time for infectious diseases to transmit between horses with large numbers of equine athletes from around the world often stabled at the same boarding or show facility. If your horse happens to be flying, there will be regulations associated with when vaccinations can take place, so make sure you are aware of the rules.
2. Have an updated coggins and health certificate ready prior to your horse’s travel
Schedule an appointment with your vet prior to their departure so you can obtain an updated coggins and health certificate. It’s important that your vet gives the okay for your horse to be making a long distance journey! Plus, most air and freight carriers will require some type of health papers prior to letting the horse on the plane or trailer, so you don’t want to delay your travel plans by neglecting this.
3. Ship your horse in the right gear.
Make sure your horse is familiarized with the gear he will be wearing while he travels, whether that is bell boots, shipping boots or standing wraps. It is important that the horses are already comfortable and used to the gear that they will be wearing during travel, especially if it’s a long distance trip.
4. Keep your horse hydrated!
It’s important to keep your horse well-hydrated before, during and after his trip. It’s important to monitor his water intake so you can track his health level and recovery from any strenuous travel activities. During travel, horse should be offered water at least every 3-6 hours.
5. Don’t use dusty bedding.
Dusty bedding will be stirred up during travel regardless of how well a driver limits any unnecessary bumps. Horses will stamp their feet and the wind outside a trailer can catch the bedding and cause it to blow into your horse’s nose and eyes, making for an uncomfortable and unhealthy ride. Try cleaner alternatives like straw to limit particles in the air.
6. Allow your horse room to move to prevent shipping fever
Shipping fever is a common concern when horses are traveling. Generally causing a strong cough in horses, shipping fever is a term for any viral or bacterial respiratory infection a horse may catch while traveling. Because this illness can sometimes linger for weeks, prevention is important to not hinder any plans post-travel. Since your horse will need to cough or sneeze out any material that gets in this respiratory tract, make sure to leave enough slack in his ties that he can lower his head. A head held too upright will not allow for a horse to clear the particles from his system well.
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