Things to Remember for Horse Travel

Show time is here. So this is a good time to remind all our clients to be prepared. We've included on our website a few things to remember as you and your horse travel to competitions.

Shipping to shows, even if your horse seems like a calm traveller, puts stress on their bodies and immune system. Stress can play a large role in the development of gastric ulcers, so prevention is ideal. Here are some general management guidelines you can follow:

-Increase turnout and decrease stall time to minimize stress.

-Increase the amount of time feed is available using a hay net or slow feeder system.

-Feed smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and overnight (ideally 4-6 meals daily).

-Feed hay before feeding grain – this will create more saliva, which is a buffer of stomach acid

-Feed more forage and less high concentrate grain

-Include up to 25% alfalfa in the diet – this can act as a buffer in the stomach

-Do not exercise on an empty stomach

-Avoid use of non-specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as phenylbutazone (bute) unless directed by your veterinarian

The respiratory system is another area vulnerable to stress while traveling. Horses have to stay stationary with their heads elevated for abnormally long periods of time and air quality may not be ideal. Signs of respiratory disease that you can watch out for include the following:

-Increased respiratory rate -Increased respiratory effort -Cough -Nasal discharge -Fever (>101.5F)

One way to be prepared for unexpected situations is to have an emergency kit with you while traveling. Some of the things we recommend are:

-a stethoscope

-a digital thermometer from your local drug store (The difference between an oral and a rectal thermometer? Only taste!🤪)

-supplies for a pressure bandage – package of 4x4 gauze squares, 2-4 sticky wraps, – to apply while waiting for a veterinarian

-chlorhexidine detergent

-saline or lactated ringers solution

-exam gloves

-triple antibiotic ointment (polysporin)

-a dose syringe to administer oral medications

-a card with all pertinent horse information (dates of last vaccinations, current medication needs, microchip number) in case you have to move your horse in an emergency situation

-important contact numbers – your veterinarian, your hauler, your farrier

If you have any questions regarding your horse’s health prior to showing, please contact the clinic via phone or email. Happy travels!