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"Long distance" trailering questions

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  • "Long distance" trailering questions

    I put that in quotes because 10 hours probably isn't considered that long for some of you, but I'm used to an hour....maybe two to get to our destination...

    I have the opportunity to send my guy to Aiken for some mileage. I would be hauling in a 3-horse slant load w stock sides (no drop down windows). Two of the three horses are 17.1 hands and although fit in this particular trailer, def don't have room to drop their heads.

    What's the general rule regarding how often you stop to let them just rest? Do you offer water at every stop? And I think to do that, it's going to require unloading (I will have help, thankfully)....that seems like it could potentially be a not great idea at a busy rest stop next to a highway. Any tips/thoughts would be appreciated! (It will be a one day trip if I do it because I would be driving down on Saturday and returning on Sunday.)

    You can't fix stupid.

  • #2
    I have done that drive. It isn't bad and the horses tend to handle it well. I've done it with PACKED trailers, too.

    We stop as often as the humans need it. I don't like to make the trip any longer than necessary, especially since most horses are "meh" about drinking while on the road. I will certainly offer water if we're gassing up and getting food (not if it's just a pee break). It is nice to stop a couple of times, becuase a lot of horses won't pee on a moving trailer, so it gives them a chance to relieve themselves, too! But I do just like to GET THERE. I absolutely positively would NOT unload the horses unless it was absolutely necessary (as in, rig is broken down and they need to switch trailers).

    See if there is anyway you can rig buckets for them while they ride so they have access without you having to unload them. Otherwise, give them soupy meals before departure and upon arrival, plus electrolytes. Don't forget the Ulcerguard.


    • #3
      As Yellowbritches pointed out, getting there will make them happy.

      You should be able to rig up water buckets. On your stops, you can put more water in using one of those camping water containers with the nozzle. Dropped apple pieces or carrots in the water on your breaks; some horses like that.

      Try your very best *NOT* to unload - the myraid of troubles that could happen isn't worth it, IMHO


      • Original Poster

        Thanks YB. We'll throw shavings down but I worry about water sloshing on the matts and making them slick...am I just over thinking/worrying too much? Lol. I'm sure we could easily hang some buckets for them in the trailer.

        I'm excited about the opportunity of taking him down there. He'll get to run his first couple of BN events and *hopefully* be ready to knock around with me by the time he gets back in March. It's been a slow steady road to get him this point!
        You can't fix stupid.


        • #5
          I agree with YB. It's not a bad ride (and it's about the same distance for the three of us). I stop a few times (probably 3 times) for fuel but I usually offer water only once, around Rock Hill which is a tad past half way. I also would NOT unload, even if that was necessary for offering water. I would rather crawl under bellies with buckets, then risk loose horses!

          I provide hay that has been thoroughly soaked and allowed to drip the excess (it's a pain in cold weather, but seems to help). I want to ensure they have as little dust as possible, plus want to get that extra water in them. I also don't do regular feeds the evening before or morning of. I start adding some extra electrolytes a few days before, so it's not a sudden shock, and then feed a gruel the night before. No feed the morning of.

          I am also careful to not overblanket and I do use shipping boots, rather than wraps for that distance.
          One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


          • #6
            That's a pretty routine trip in the Midwest. None of mine will generally drink on the trailer, so I rarely even bother to offer water. Judging by the tracks in the snow around my auto-waterer, I know for a fact that my horses *routinely* go 12 hours without voluntarily drinking on a regular basis.

            I like to make sure they have hay that's hanging down as far as possible so they don't spend the whole ride with their heads cranked up pulling chaff into their eyes and nostrils. This is tougher to do in a slant load, I realize. With your setup I might take one 30 minute rest stop (normally I go as hard as possible and stop only for fuel and potty breaks) and untie their heads to give them a chance to get them down if at all possible, maybe put a small flake of hay on the floor if they can reach it.

            I would never willingly unload horses at a place without fences, and IIRC it's either frowned upon or downright illegal on most interstates.

            I like to give omeprazole 48 and 24 hours before any trip over a couple of hours, and withhold grain on the day of hauling.

            But 10 hours is a pretty easy trip--I'm sure your critters will be fine.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              FWIW, many years ago, we were coming home to MD from Ocala. I think that is supposed to be about a 14-16 hour drive. One of those drives that's kinda too long to do in one day, but almost not worth stopping overnight. Well, our drive turned into the drive from HELL, with blow outs, horrible traffic, torrential downpours, you name it. It turned into a 20 hour drive (this is a large part why when people ask me "Aiken or Ocala?" I am squeamish over Ocala...that drive left a horrible taste in my mouth!!!). The horses did ok (I think better than the humans, since there were two vehicles and two drivers...the memory makes me ill). They were tired, but a day at home, and they were as good as always.

              I think they are more resilient than we often give them credit for.

              ETA: We hit the mixing bowl in Springfield, VA at morning rush hour. In the rain. I wanted to DIE.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I have a couple of logistics w work to figure out but looks like it might work out....fingers crossed! Just want to make sure I'm prepared, realistic and don't make any stupid rookie mistakes.
                You can't fix stupid.


                • #9
                  10 hours should be a breeze. Do NOT take them down if you can POSSIBLY avoid it. (I lost my horse on the Maine Turnpike in 1968 bc I insisted he needed a break-my poor mother). Yes, put down shavings. Yes, hang water buckets-1/2 to 3/4 full is plenty. They won't drink it anyway. Yes, serve soup before travel-I usually give soup for the 3-4 preceeding meals, depending on length of journey. Yes, Ulcer Guard-4-5 days in advance. Yes, hang hay lowISH-not low enough for a pawing foot to get tangled. Yes, sign up for USRider. You will really be fine. 10 hours is an easy drive. You'll stop twice to pee and get gas and you'll be there. And then you'll be so furious you aren't staying!!! Go carefully.
                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                  • Original Poster

                    Just a quick update to thank everyone for their helpful tips. I took my horse and one other down this past weekend. The third one pulled out so I was able to use my 2-horse straight load instead of the borrowed 3-horse. That made me much more comfortable because my horse fits better and it was much easier to check on them at stops and offer water/more hay. They both hauled like champs....didn't even feel them back there and settled right in when we got there.

                    But I felt much more prepared and less intimidated at the thought of it due to the advice. So thank again!!
                    You can't fix stupid.


                    • #11
                      I see you are already there and had a successful trip. But just wanted to mention in case anyone else is reading that you can also soak the hay you are taking for a couple hours prior to leaving (soak in the hay nets BTW or it will be impossible to put in nets). That way even the "I refuse to drink on the trailer" horses will be getting some hydration.
                      "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                      So you might as well have a good time"


                      • #12
                        I like to stop on human break schedule or every two hours which ever is shorter. I try to stop for at least 30 minutes. There is no science behind my rational but I don't think gas n go stops allow them to relax at all.
                        A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
                          I see you are already there and had a successful trip. But just wanted to mention in case anyone else is reading that you can also soak the hay you are taking for a couple hours prior to leaving (soak in the hay nets BTW or it will be impossible to put in nets). That way even the "I refuse to drink on the trailer" horses will be getting some hydration.
                          Yep- I do this too. Get my little trailer SHHN fill it up, soak it for a bit, and off we go!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by B Street Tango View Post
                            Thanks YB. We'll throw shavings down but I worry about water sloshing on the matts and making them slick...am I just over thinking/worrying too much? Lol. I'm sure we could easily hang some buckets for them in the trailer.

                            Don't fill the buckets to the tip top. If it still sloshes a ton out of that (1) you suck at hauling a trailer and slow down and (2) it still will not be as much wet as when they pee!

                            Put a LOT of shavings down. Nice to dampen the road viberations. Make sure they are not dusty shavings. I've been known to dampen the shavings if I think they are two dusty.

                            You will be fine. It is a pretty easy straight drive. I hang hay for them (sometimes I will wet the hay--just not too much in the cold) and a bucket of water. Make sure you have a vet kit on board, health certificates....and I usually keep a bottle of Ace just in case.

                            ETA: nevermind...see that you got there. Told ya it would be fine Have fun and bring back some sun with you!!!!
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                            • #15
                              So I'm digging this post back up because I've got my first "long distance" haul coming up in the next 4 weeks and I'm super nervous! I'm going from Tampa to Gainesville, GA, about 8 hours. I plan on stopping in Lake City at the 3 hour mark, Macon at the 6 hour mark, and then hauling straight to the farm my guy will be staying at. I'm planning on starting Omeprazole a few days ahead, shavings in the trailer, offering water at each stop (though I doubt he'll drink at all) and soaking the peanut hay that will be in his hay net (though I doubt he'll eat it, he never does on our 2 hour hauls).

                              I'm wondering, standing wraps or shipping boots? I like the support the standing wraps offer, but I don't want to worry that one of them will come undone while hauling. Thoughts? Anything else I need to do or think of? Got his coggins and health certificate ready to go. Will be checking all tires in the next week or so and then again the day before the haul.


                              • #16
                                There was just an article I saw last week about standing vs. shipping boots and the heat. There was a significant difference in the surface temp of the legs with shipping boots. If you're hauling him alone, personally, I wouldn't put wraps on him unless he has a history of being really stupid in the trailer. I seldom wrap my horses in Texas, because it's just too stinkin' hot.

                                Living in Texas, I wouldn't consider 8 hours a long haul! LOL But sounds like you've got things covered pretty well. The one thing would think about adding to the mix is an electrolyte paste. Give one or half of one the night before you leave and another or the other half when you arrive. I like to carry an extra one just in case they seem stressed or I get stuck in a traffic jam or something en route.

                                Make sure that you have a Trailer Aid or something to drive the trailer up on in case you have to change a tire and of course, a spare. Also, USRider is great insurance to have when you're hauling far enough away that friends can't help you out if you break down. Regular car insurance won't help with the horse or the trailer.

                                Good luck! Safe travels!
                                Home of Sea Accounts xx
                                AHS/HV, ATA, GOV, RPSI, JC, AQHA, APHA, APtHA
                                "LIKE" www.facebook.com/SeaAccounts


                                • #17
                                  Just wanted to chime in as a thank you for the OPs question and all the answers. In Sept I'm taking my horse to the AECs in Texas, we live in SC and google has it as a 13 hour drive. This would be my first long distance haul with a living creature (use to tow/sail boats) and I am looking at any good advice I can get.

                                  Question, why the ulcerguard? I get the hydration, but wonder about ulcer care. Do I need it for both ways?

                                  I was going to stop every four off the highway to maybe take him off to stretch, but now...fagettaboutit.

                                  I read the comment about warpping vs boots vs bare. Sterling had a round of Cellulitis this summer. My vet felt that I would need to wrap his legs for the trip, but the poster from Texas makes me question that. He will be solo on the trip (unless I get someone to share the ride) and normally I don't wrap. Thoughts?

                                  Trying to get my planning done way before for I know I'll be stressing a little just before the trip.


                                  • #18
                                    JP60, I would assume the stress of the trip so the Ulcergurard is preventative.

                                    When I drive, I have a 2 hour bladder max so I pull into the shade in a gas station, open the front doors (I have a large 2-horse straight load) and offer my mare water every time. She will drink at least 50% of the time I offer it. She used to not drink but I continued to offer it and now she drinks much better on the road. I usually stop for at least 15 minutes and gives her legs a rest from bracing the whole time. The furthest I have hauled is 8 hours.
                                    "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope