Travelling and Trailers

Last week I spring cleaned my trailer – emptied, swept, scrubbed, washed, the whole caboodle. Although I don`t have an off season like some, now the eventing season is over I won`t be using my trailer as frequently and I felt it was due a clean. My chauffeur and I are also going to service it over the next couple of weeks to make sure the brakes and everything are still fully functional.

Anyway, I`d had to put the partition in last weekend to give my friend a lift to our eventer`s challenge. Otis has travelled in the partition before, but I`ve discovered that he is a lot more stable travelling in the whole trailer, and standing slightly diagonally. He no longer sweats, and doesn`t lean on the walls.

Cleaning the trailer made me think about how everyone has their own little ways and routines when travelling.

For example, when Llani is in the trailer he spends the whole journey trying to turn around to look out of the back, over the top of the ramp. So we closed the top rear doors, making the trailer a bit dark, but it stopped Llani gawping out of the back door and meant that he didn`t wobble around corners, because he was concentrating on the journey.

Then of course, is my Mum`s pony, Matt. He`s been a great loader since we upgraded to an Ivor Williams and had a front ramp, but he is always breaking his hind travel boots! When a friend started selling off her late horse`s belongings in the spring I came up with a brainwave. Matt seems to stand on his own feet when travelling, so ripping the boots just below the fetlock. I wonder if he would prefer travelling diagonally, but to solve the problem of the broken travel boots I got my Mum a pair of hock boots, a set of soft leg wraps, and then told her to purchase some overreach boots. Okay, it`s more of a faff to put on three items onto each leg, but overreach boots are hopefully more durable than the travel boots, and are a quarter of the price to replace. I await to hear how they get on with this contraption.

This brings me nicely onto all the different styles of travel boots. I have to say that I prefer the shaped ones with a good tough covering around the hoof. I think this comes from Matt, but also Otis`s staggering whilst in partitions, but I feel that these more rigid boots will give more protection than the lighter wraps that you can buy. The other option is of course bandages, which I initially used on Matt but rapidly got fed up of chasing him around the yard whilst my bandage unravelled, as he started marching circles when he saw the trailer being hitched up.

Who uses tail guards? And do you use them as well as a tail bandage or instead of? Again, I started with a tail bandage to keep the tail laid on the way to shows, but when Otis was young he leant on the ramp so damaged his bandage, which made me invest in a tail guard to use additionally.  However, recently I travelled him home with just the tail guard, without a partition, and there was no damage to his guard or tail, so I can only assume Otis is getting better at balancing himself whilst travelling.

Poll guards are another thing I rarely see; I don`t use them myself, but would definitely consider it if I had a horse who had a high head carriage, or was going into a trailer that was a touch on the small side. Does anyone use them?

The BHS tells you you should always travel with a leather headcollar so that it will break in an emergency, unlike the nylon ones we use daily. I still have Otis`s leather headcollar that we bought for his first Christmas, although the name plate is illegible now, it still serves it`s purpose for travelling. Perhaps he deserves a new one this Christmas …

Then of course is the whole rug situation – do you travel in a rug? Don`t you? Will your horse sweat up? It`s a massive conundrum and I never used to as Otis always sweated, but now he`s much better so I will put a thin rug on when it`s really cold, and then take a thicker one to put on while he`s standing in the trailer if necessary.

If you have any travelling particulars, or special alterations that your horse needs, then please tell me as it`s always good to know of other tricks when someone asks for advice.

One thought on “Travelling and Trailers

  1. firnhyde Oct 19, 2015 / 11:39 am

    I use poll guards as often as possible, making exceptions only for moving unhandled or abused horses – in that case strapping this thing over their ears only freaks them out even more. But for the rest of the time everyone travels in a poll guard. It’s not much fuss to put on and is just some peace of mind because even the quietest horse can startle and rear, or even put his head under the partition (in a four-berth box) and hit it on something.
    Then I put on leg and tail protection for shows, long journeys or nervous horses. I would love the long boots that go over the hoof but the budget doesn’t allow so for now everyone just wears stable bandages. Tail bandages give a neater result than the tail guard, but I use the tail guard for horses that don’t like having the bandages put on because it’s quicker. I don’t see a reason to use them in conjunction, but I’m sure someday a horse will come along that changes my mind!
    My favourite trick is to use something extra tasty in the haynets – a juicier, more palatable type of hay or even a little lucerne (alfalfa) mixed in with their usual hay. This encourages them to eat and distracts them from the stress of the journey, as well as lowering the risk of colic by keeping some roughage going through them.

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