Friday, 18 July 2008

Stage III Preparation - Element 3 - Travelling Horses

3.1.1. Carry out appropriate checks on transport vehicles to ensure horses' safety and well being during loading and transportation and report discrepancies
3.2.1. Cary out checks on the loading horses' clothing and report its suitability

3.3.1. List equipment to be taken (water etc)

3.4.1. Explain to an assistant the loading procedure with regard to the safety of yourself, the horse and others

3.4.2. Explain to an assistant the unloading procedure with regard to the safety of yourself, the horse and others

3.5.1. Give examples of procedures for loading difficult horses with regard to the safety of yourself, the horse and others

3.6.1. Demonstrate how to safely load and secure a horse

3.6.2. Demonstrate how to safely unload the horse

The variety of horse transport vehicles available is overwhelming and the luxury of some is way beyond what many people expect from own house not to mention a trailer!
All of them, whatever make and standard of creature-comfort-additions have to comply with certain rules and regulations.

Safety checks are essential. Do check regularly and especially well a few days before travelling:
  • your horsebox or trailer's floor - "BEVA member Derek Landwehr, a vet in Surrey, was called to a horrific incident last year where a young event horse fell through the floor of a transporter that was travelling on the M4 (Horse & Hound news) Read More
  • tyre pressure, fuel, lights, breaks
  • towing bar
  • clean the inside and out (to get rid of dust)
  • check the towing vehicle: brakes, lights, tyre pressure, water,oil
  • 60 second Inspection
Horses' Clothing

This is a fun part ;) You can't beat the colours, variety and imagination as far as travel boots and equipment is concerned!
- Derby House - Travel Boots and Safety Equipment
- RideAway - Travel clothing
- Frogpool manor - Travel boots
- Frogpool Manor - Tailguards and bandages
- Robinsons - Travel Equipment

Equipment to be taken:
  • a map of route to the destination
  • mobile phone
  • numbers to Vet, insurance company, farrier, AA and RAC
  • entry forms, dressage sheets, horse's passport and other documentation necessary
  • First -Aid Kit
  • Grooming Kit
  • tack
  • a can of oil might be useful if the fastenings or catches on the trailer of box become stuck
  • water and water bucket
  • hay (enough for the journey there and back) [check out these hay accessories)
  • skip and small shovel (to clean the trailer before travelling back home)
  • rider's clothes
  • travel clothes and rugs; studs if needed. A piece of string is useful if the horse need to tied up at the venue. Actually, trailer ties can be even more useful (Sports Horse Products )
Preparing For Travel - VIDEO (Zanie Tanswell, former groom to Pippa Funnell, from her own and Chris King's eventing yard):


Below are two email newsletters I received from Jane Savoie on Safe Horse Transport.

"Dr Carole Holland, from West Palm Beach, FL sent me this report that I thought you might find interesting.
Safe trailering!

Horse Trailering
Author: Gerrit Rietveld - Animal Care Specialist/OMAFRA; Dr. Bob Wright - Lead Veterinarian

Factors Affecting Horses During Transport

Research has proved that horses experience significant stress associated with transport.
Dr. Carolyn Stull, a researcher with University of California, has defined stress as "...adverse effects in the environment or management system which force changes in an animal's physiolog or behaviour to avoid physiological malfunctioning, thus assisting the animal in coping with its environment." Dr. Stull measured horses' responses to challenges in their immediate environment by measuring physiological, biochemical, immunological, anatomical and behavioural parameters. According to Dr. Stull, ".... identifying and minimizing stressful situations allows for greater well being, health and reproductive efficiency of the horse as
well as protecting its performance and economic potential."

Cold or heat stress will affect the health of younger animals more than mature, healthy horses. The thermal comfort range for horses is estimated to be between -1°C and 24°C (30-75°F).
Horses can comfortably adjust to temperatures in this zone by altering hair coat, sweating, homeothermy, constricting or dilating blood vessels, or changing postures or behaviour. When temperatures fall below this range, the Lower Critical Temperature (LCT),r>the horse must divert food energy formerly used for performance or growth to producing metabolic heat. Add in factors such as wind and precipitation and this animal needs as much as an 80% increase in caloric requirement. This must be kept in mind when transporting horses in cold weather. Thin horses or younger stock, or horses that have been clipped, will need additional high quality feed and blankets when transported.

Extremely warm temperatures of 24-32°C (75-90°F) are equally threatening, as horses cannot
dissipate body heat quickly enough to maintain homeothermy. The Upper Critical Temperature (UCT) is dependent on humidity, which causes respiration and sweating mechanisms to be less effective. Feed intake will decrease and water intake must be assured to combat dehydration. Avoid travel in the warmest parts of the day and keep the trailer moving to help alleviate heat stress.

The type of trailer or van in which the horse finds itself, and the flooring on which it must stand, will have an impact on the horse's stress level. Slippery floors, combined with poor driving practices, will cause a horse to 'scramble' to maintain its balance. This is extremely stressful for the animal. The addition of rubber matting, sand, or wood shavings, will help to remedy the slippery floor problem and reduce the amount of vibration transmitted through the floorboards.

Research on the effects of transporting horses facing the front or back of the vehicle concluded that heart rates were lower on those animals facing the rear of the truck or trailer. The researchers concluded that horses were less physically stressed travelling backwards, as they tended to rest their rumps, dropping a hip, leaning over the forequarters, lowering the head and relaxing to the point of dozing off. They were also better able to balance and brace themselves during transport and vocalized less than their front-facing travel mates. Several other investigators, including Wentworth Tellington, and David Holmes, confirmed that horses facing backwards and untethered showed less signs of stress.

Isolation from stable-mates, or combining horses with others that may be aggressive, will contribute to transportation stress. The recently released Code of Practice for the Transportation of Livestock - Horses ( recommends segregating stallions from all other horses when they are shipped communally. Horses with shoes on the hind feet should be separated from those that are unshod. Younger and older, infirm horses should also be transported apart from other horses.

Long term stress (24-48 hr.) can influence a number of systems in the horse, including immune, digestive, and reproductive systems. It can influence hormones essential in reproduction, growth, energy, metabolism and response to disease or infection. These effects can continue for hours, or even days, after the stimulus from the stressor has been diminished or eliminated.

It is not advised to administer penicillin or phenylbutazone as a prophylactic measure to combat the effects of transportation-related stress. Raidal, et al., published a paper entitled
"Antibiotic prophylaxis of lower respiratory tract contamination in horses confined with head elevation for 24 or 48 hours" in a 1997 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal.
The study demonstrated that the "prophylactic administration of penicillin before or during
confinement did not reliably reduce bacterial numbers or prevent the accumulation of purulent
(inflammatory) lower respiratory secretions in horses confined with their heads elevated."

Indiscriminate administration of antibiotics may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Phenylbutazone is not indicated unless there is an underlying medical condition and will
mask a fever when used inappropriately.

It is paramount that the tow vehicle and trailer or van used to move horses are in the best repair
possible. All documentation should be current and valid. Failure to pass a roadside inspection will
require other arrangements to deliver the horses to their destination.

Travel Tips to Minimize the Stress Associated with Transporting Horses

* Train/teach your horse to load calmly well in advance of the event. A calm horse will
likely be more comfortable on the journey. Even if you never plan to travel with your horse, it
is advisable to teach it to load. Practice this several times a year; it may come in handy if
an emergency trip to the veterinarian is in order.
* Keep the trailer in good repair and in a clean condition. A trailer that travels quietly and smoothly will provide a more comfortable and less stressful ride for the horses.
* Ensure the tow vehicle is well maintained to avoid breakdowns. It is essential that the exhaust system is in good repair and fumes are expelled to the side of the vehicle. Fumes emitted straight back under the trailer may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
* Ensure the trailer has good ventilation. Avoid draughts.
* For longer trips, plan to arrive several days earlier to permit horses' immune systems to stabilize before any major athletic endeavour.
* 'Long-tie' horses by the cheek ring of the halter. This allows maximum head movement
and facilitates sinus clearing and airway drainage.
* Transport horses with others they get along with whenever possible.
* Drive 'passenger-friendly'. Practice slow take-aways. Careful braking and smooth cornering are key elements to towing a trailer in a responsible manner. Always 'think ahead'.
* Plan ahead. Chart a route and time of day when traffic is minimal and the weather is conducive to horse comfort.
* Offer hay and water, but no grain. Water horses prior to departure and every four hours
for longer trips to help combat the threat of dehydration. Hay serves as a pacifier and helps
retain water in the gut during transit. Refrain from feeding grain, as stress affects gut function, causing grain to sit and ferment with the possible result of colic.

Trailer Safety Kit

Keep the following items in an emergency kit in the trailer or tow vehicle:

* Complete equine emergency kit
* Extra halters and lead shanks
* Sharp knife
* Wire cutters
* 100 ft of 1/2" rope
* small tool kit or 'leatherman' tool,
including wire cutter, knife, tweezers, etc.
* jumper cables
* two flashlights with extra batteries
* roll duct tape
* flares
* cell phone
* phone number directory with numbers for
your veterinarian and border crossing veterinarian
* trailer jack
* spare tire (complete with air)
* spare wheel bearing
* cash

Trailering horses can be a stressful endeavour for both horses and drivers, but practicing
a few preventative measures can make the trip safer and more enjoyable."

"Colette Sossaman, former manager of
Proud Meadows Farm in Texas, offers
these great tips!

Colette says:
1.) I feed DMG for at least one week prior to lift off, just a white powder that keeps the muscles loose. It's used for horses prone to tying up.

2.) I have my vet oil and electrolyte everyone the night before or the morning of travel,just to keep it all moving--just like you would for a case of colic, but on the front end of it, to be

3.) Have your vet give injectable Banamine before loading, and carry Banamine paste also. The amount you give depends on your horse's weight so always get your vet's opinion.

4.) I have tubes of "Jugs" electrolyte paste to administer at the layover spots, to keep them drinking.

5.) I mash everyone at night to get even more fluids in.

If you can't get DMG, you can use Mega-Sel which is a Vitamin E and Selenium supplement.

Happy and safe trailering!

DEFRA (Department For Environment Food and Rural Affairs)

"Animal welfare: Horse Transport


We know that there is considerable public concern about allegations that British ponies are exported to the continent for human consumption. We have not found, or been given, any evidence that ponies are regularly exported in this way. On the other hand, we cannot dismiss the possibility that there may be occasional incidents. Our random checks and surveillance at ports would, we are sure, pick up any routine trade, but it is more difficult for our staff to direct their efforts so as to pick up isolated incidents. We will continue to work with local authority staff to ensure that animals leave pony sales in suitable vehicles and accompanied by the correct documentation. This action is supplemented by checks at ports, which are targeted on times when ponies might be exported, such as the period after the pony sales.

Export Licences

If you want to export a horse or pony from Great Britain information on horse and pony export licences can be obtained from:

Defra Animal Welfare Core Team
Transport & Markets Team
Area 8B, 9 Millbank
c/o 17 Smith Square

Tel: 020 7238 5914

Animal welfare: Transporting animals during hot weather

High temperatures and humidity, particularly sudden changes in conditions, can pose a major threat to animal welfare. The following basic advice is to help farmers, transporters, pet owners and others avoid problems.

There is an legal obligation on those looking after animals to avoid causing them unnecessary suffering, and to avoid subjecting them to conditions where this is likely to occur. It is an offence if the welfare of an animal is compromised as a result of a failure to take appropriate action in response to extremes of temperature.

Transporting animals

Those transporting animals, including agricultural animals, should take action to avoid problems in hot weather. Things to consider include (although this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Factoring potential weather conditions into the planning of any journey (for example not loading or moving animals during the hottest parts of the day)
  • Improved ventilation of the vehicle
  • Increased space allowances
  • Providing water and electrolytes more frequently

In addition, contingency plans should be in place for every journey, and are particularly important in hot conditions as delays, which might be relatively insignificant under normal conditions, can become critical very quickly.

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