Tips for Long Hauls with Horses, and Long Hauls with Pregnant Mares
I'm moving about 1300 miles in a few months and I'm planning on trailering two of the horses myself.
I have a 2-horse warmblood-sized bumper pull with extended front. Both horses fit comfortably, and the extended front allows me to stick a few hay bales in for the trip.
Would it be better to tag-team drive with a friend and do the whole trip in one fell swoop (about 20-22 hours), or to do 10-12 hours a day over two days and stop overnight?
I'm leaning toward the one-day straight-through trip, as I know at least one of the horses gets super stressed out in new environments, and it would be more stressful for her to be left in a new place overnight, then shipped again, versus just shipping straight through.
Any additional concerns on shipping pregnant mares? Obviously I want to decrease stress as much as possible (this is the one that gets stressed in new places) - I've already put her back on a maintenance dose of omeprazole in preparation for our trip (2 months away!), and I'm planning on tubing and oiling her before we leave since she doesn't drink well on long hauls.
I vote for breaking the trip. Standing stationary for that long would be at least as stressful as a new place. Are the two horses normally in a paddock together? If so try for someplace with an outdoor paddock where they can be together; that will reduce stress.
We moved from Oklahoma to Washington state hauling our three horses in a three horse gooseneck slant load.
We did max 8/9 hours a day with multiple stops during the day to let them rest. NEVER unload at rest stops. Just let them munch some grub. We would give them a beet pulp mash to nom on for 15/20 minutes.
The reasons you don't take them out:
You don't know what is used on the grass, what people have tossed there. It is highly unsafe to let them graze even a bite by accident.
If your horse spooks and you can't hold on... just NOT worth it.
I would also recommend a night lay over on a trip that long. We have done 700 miles at one time on 3 of our moves and just stop several times to let the horses stand and rest from having to balance themselves. I never get them off the trailer.
If you can arrange a large pen/ arena for your overnight stop it would benefit them greatly to have plenty of room to move around and allow them to be together and eliminate stress.
We used to 700 miles 2x a year with my boy. In August we would stop halfway (look for large lesson/show barns and call and ask if they have a quarantine barn/paddock you can board overnight in). In May it was cool enough we went straight through. We had a 2 horse straight load and did a ton of research on it before hand.
The wisdom (of 10+ years ago) was you need to stop every 2 hours for at least 20 minutes to allow their legs to rest. Offer plain water at every stop, but don't freak if they won't drink.
Do NOT let them off the trailer unless you are stopping for the night.
Two days before the trip I would offer two buckets of water, one with electrolytes or salt/gatorade mixed in to make them thirsty and one plain to encourage drinking. Make sure they are hydrated before you start. We also did not feed any grain on the days of the haul, grass hay only.