Beginning a Journey into Horse Ownership – Installment #3

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This week’s installment to my blog will continue my mini-series of posts designed either for the beginner horse owner or as gentle reminders for those more experienced owners.

Trailering Equipment for Your Horse

Traveling with your horse in tow can be an experience fraught with decisions, particularly in regards to what equipment you’ll need. Whether you’re a veteran or a relative newcomer to trailering your horse you’ve no doubt read or been told conflicting information about the safest and best equipment to use. Below are some tips to help you negotiate the decision making process.

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Halter/Lead Rope/Trailer Tie: In most cases your horse will need to wear a halter. The halter should be either a break-away type or made entirely of leather. While you will need a lead rope for unloading, whether or not you need one to tie your horse in the trailer depends on several factors including the type of trailer you’ll use. In a stock type trailer most horses prefer to ride loose, free to position themselves, while it will generally work best to secure them in a more traditional trailer. Should you decide to secure your horse keep the following things in mind: Tie your horse using either a quick release/safety snap or a quick release knot with your lead rope or trailer tie. If you choose to go with a quick release knot, make certain to position it such that your horse will not be likely to play or become caught up in it. Assess the length of your rope to make certain that it is neither too long or too short. Too long and your horse may become entangled in it. Too short and it will restrict much needed freedom of movement.

Optional additions include fleece padding for leather halters to prevent rubbing and head bumpers for those horses who have a habit of tossing their head. If your trailer is an open one and your horse is accustomed to wearing it, you might also consider adding a fly mask beneath the halter to prevent debris from entering his eyes.

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Blanket: If it is very cold, particularly if your horse has been body clipped, a blanket can be helpful for providing warmth while traveling. While not necessary, a light sheet can be useful anytime, especially if you are traveling to a show and would like for your horse to stay clean.

Wraps & Boots: There are many reasons why an owner may choose to apply wraps or boots to their horse while shipping including cleanliness, protection, shoeing, and when traveling long distances. There are just as many options to choose from but the reality is that most horses ship quite well with bare legs. If you do plan to wrap and your horse has never worn them before work with him to accustom him to wearing them prior to the trip. Experiment a bit to see what works best for you and your horse taking care that whatever you choose isn’t likely to slip. In regards to applying a tail wrap, you’ll likely only need one if your horse is known to rub his tail or you want to keep it clean.

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