…can be deadly.
The temperature inside of a closed horse trailer can easily soar to well over 100 degrees. Just as you would not leave your child or dog in a closed car, a closed horse trailer can be just as deadly.
While trailering down the road, horses are constantly readjusting and balancing through stops, turns, curves and acceleration. Such conditions can quickly lead to stress, fatigue, dangerous overheating and dehydration.
As you travel in hot weather, take precautions to ensure your horses stay as cool as possible on the road. Common sense is your best friend. Short of an air conditioned horse trailer, following are a few suggestions to help make your hot weather trip uneventful:
- Plan your route and stops.
- Try to travel during the cool part of the early morning or evening/night hours.
- Open trailer windows and vents. But make sure window nets and/or bars are in place so the horse isn’t tempted to poke its head out. A fly mask will protect its face and eyes from flying debris and bugs.
- Fans in the horse compartment can be helpful in moving the air if one happens to get stuck in traffic or other unavoidable stops. Anything you can do to get more air moving around the horses is helpful, even if you’re moving 95 degree air, it’s better than nothing.
- Do not put sheets, coolers or fly scrims on traveling horses. That’s a sure guarantee of overheating.
- Wrapping legs in heavy bandages can also lead to overheating. Lighter shipping boots are preferable, but you may want to ship with just bell boots to protect coronary bands.
- At different points of the trip, turn off the air conditioning in the cab and open your window or vent. If the air temperature is more than you can bear, it is for the trailer passengers, too. Consider finding a safe, fenced place to off load where there’s shade and water (NEVER at an interstate rest area!)
- When you stop to rest, without unloading, park in the shade and open doors (if it can be done safely, without a horse attempting an escape). Carry water from home, if possible. Offer water at all stops, several times, and again before you set off.
- Once you’ve arrived at your destination, off load and offer more water as soon as you can. Hose off feet and legs first, pushing the heat up through the top of the body, as opposed to starting at the top and moving down.
Our horses depend on us for their safety and comfort. Don’t let them down!
Now, go hug your horse!