5 Tips for Traveling with a Horse

  1. First and foremost, take the horse to see an equine veterinary shortly before traveling, typically within 30 days. You’ll need this check-up and a Coggins test to get the health certificate/equine passport that will allow you to cross state lines. Take this opportunity to talk about things to watch out for and best practices to follow when traveling with that particular horse or horses.


  1. At the same time, don’t let the recent health check-up and legal requirements lull you into a false of confidence. You can wreck the health of your horse real quick if you don’t follow the basic care and travel guidelines. Keep the trailer at a reasonable temperature and adequately ventilated. Make sure the horse is given plenty of water, food, and rest. Make sure the horse can clear their respiratory tract by being able to drop their head when they need to.


  1. If it’s your first time or if you’re not confident in your horsemanship skills, bring a friend with you. Ideally, you should always have a traveling partner, but we’re also not going to pretend that people don’t, or can’t, do it. Especially if it’s a horse you know well, one that’s accustomed to traveling, and when you’re not traveling too far a distance.


  1. If something unusual, unexpected, or dangerous does come up, the good news is that you probably won’t have to look too hard to find a horse vet near you. There are thousands of equine vet clinics across the country. Of course you’d prefer not to leave the care of your horse to someone you don’t know, but it’s often better than simply ignoring the problem and waiting till you get there. By then, the best solution and response may no longer be an option.


  1. The vast majority of the time, if you’ve prepared properly and take care during the travel itself, you and your horses will be just fine. Horses are a beautiful, complex, and in some ways gravity-defying creatures, but they can also be more resilient than they let on. So long as you follow the proper steps and travel guidelines, you have every reason to think you’ll have a great time at the rodeo, racetrack, equestrian event, festival, or award show. So try not to worry too much, while still being diligent.


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