Even if you don’t compete your horse there will be times during your partnership when he will need to be transported somewhere — maybe to the vets or to a new yard. All trips should be smooth, so careful driving at a sensible speed is essential. A bad experience could easily turn a fret-free traveller into a nervous one.
Additionally, there are steps that you can take to minimise the risks of injury or illness during the drive.
• Allow enough time for your trip, especially if your horse is a reluctant loader. Trying to rush him when he doesn’t want to go up the ramp will get the journey off to a stressful start.
• Ensure that you have your horse’s passport with you while in transit.
• Plan for the unexpected. If your 4×4 or lorry breaks down, you will be glad of the extra layers you packed for yourself and your horse and also of that spare haynet and snack you remembered to put in the car.
• Ensure that all the partitions and the breast bar are safely secured before you set off on your journey.
• Make sure that the horsebox/trailer has adequate ventilation.
• Give your horse ample space, but not too much. If you remove the middle partition in a trailer, for example, he will have little to brace himself against around corners, increasing the likelihood that he may become unbalanced and fall over.
• Kit him out in travel boots or bandages, a tail guard and a leather headcollar with a poll guard.
• Carry a spare headcollar and rope in case of breakages.
• In warm weather, avoid over-rugging as horses are best kept cool in transit. Equally, when it is cold, rug him appropriately so that he doesn’t become chilled.
• Securely tie a haynet close to your horse so that he can eat in transit. It will help to alleviate the boredom of a long journey and may help to prevent a fretful traveller playing up.
• Check on your horse and also offer him water during regular stops so that he doesn’t become dehydrated.
• Stop every four hours or so to untie him so that he can put his head down. Horses who travel for hours with their heads up are more at risk of developing respiratory diseases.
• If your horse is taken ill in transit or falls over and injures himself, stop as soon as you safely can and call your vet immediately.
• Where possible stick to main roads, which are smoother than country routes.