When you’re competing a horse, you may need to ship him multiple times a month. But shipping stress can have negative effects on horses, including weight loss, the development of ulcers, and even poor performance. These strategies can help you reduce shipping stress in your horse, keeping him healthy and giving him the best shot at performing well during shows or barrel races.
Train Your Horse to Load and Travel
Start preparing your horse for trips by taking the time to teach him how to load and ride in a trailer confidently. Schedule trailer training only when you have plenty of time, and focus on teaching your horse how to load safely and carefully.
Once your horse is well-acclimated to getting on and off the trailer, take him for short trips. While your ultimate goal might be to trailer your horse to shows or competitions, break these up with “fun” trips where you take your horse on a relaxing trail ride, or load him up, go for a drive, and simply return home. By trailering your horse to many destinations, you can teach him that getting on the trailer doesn’t always mean that he’s going to a competition.
Invest in the Best Trailer
The trailer you use to ship your horse can play a role in his comfort — and his stress. Features like a light-colored interior, spacious stalls, and air ride technology can help to ease your horse’s stress during shipping.
In addition to purchasing the best trailer that you can afford, take some steps to make the trailer as quiet as possible when in motion. This means removing any unused trailer ties so that they don’t rattle against their hooks, ensuring that all hardware is tightly attached to the trailer walls or floors and possibly installing thin rubber mats around latches that rattle even when securely attached to trailer walls.
Bring Hay and Water From Home
Most horse owners load up plenty of hay from home, which helps to avoid sudden feed changes that can cause digestive upset. But fewer horse owners bring water from home to competitions. Many horses are particular about their water, and your horse may not drink as much or as willingly when presented with strange-tasting water from the showgrounds. This can lead to dehydration, tying up and other problems.
Consider investing in a water tank for your trailer or truck. If you can’t bring water with you, then pour some apple juice or Gatorade into the water at the show grounds to make it more appealing to picky horses.
Bring Along a Buddy
Traveling alone can add to a horse’s stress. Always try to bring along a second horse during your trip to give him companionship and reassurance.
Support Your Horse’s Respiratory Health
Supporting your horse’s respiratory system is important not just when you’re shipping, but also for his overall performance. BleederShield supports lung health and reduces the risk of your horse suffering from EIPH. It’s completely free of banned substances and comes in a triple-strength formula. Order BleederShield today to see what it can do for your horse’s lung health.
Pair BleederShield with the above techniques to help your horse travel to events with minimal stress, and be well-prepared to perform at his best when he gets there.
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