Traveling with your horses is probably the most fun and most stressful thing you do in your year. Not only do you have to worry about the trailer's functionality and the other drivers on the road, your horses' comfort is a big concern. Whether you're looking to spiff up your old horse trailer or are considering horse trailers for sale, there are plenty of ways to make the horse compartment friendlier -- these are our top three favorites:
Open Up the Interior
One of the biggest reasons a horse won't load is because of a scary, dark horse trailer interior. Even if your horse is loading beautifully, he's still probably not happy about riding in the dark. Lighten your trailer up inside by painting the interior white, turning on the lights and opening up all the windows. If your horse is still nervous about being inside your trailer, consider changing the light bulbs and cleaning the glass panes to get even more light shining in.
If you can take out unnecessary dividers, that will help give your horse a sense of extra space. Even using dividers that a horse can see through will be helpful. After all, he just wants to know he's safe and if he sees his buddies standing calmly, he'll feel more secure.
Plan for a Quiet Ride
When your horse is locked into his stall in the trailer, he can't get a good view of what's going on around him. Any unusual noises or sudden bangs can be terrifying to an animal that can't run away. Tie up all your loose gear, tape up metal pieces that may clang together and make sure all the hinges inside the trailer are lubricated.
To protect your horse from the stress that road noise brings, plan to upgrade your trailer or choose a new model that has ample insulation in the roof and walls. By eliminating all the possible sources of frightening sounds, you'll reduce your horse's travel stress exponentially.
Protect Your Horse
Another source of stress during travel comes every time you turn or stop. Your horse has to brace himself, sometimes quite painfully. If your butt bars, breast bars and dividers don’t have adequate padding, your horse risks major injury on every trip. He's trying, but thinly-padded support bars just won't cut it during travel -- he knows they hurt when he leans in!
Thick padding on the walls and a ceiling with some give are extras that can help horse travel immensely. Some horses will paw at the walls when they're nervous, or attempt to rear in their stalls. Thinking like a horse can help you plan to protect even the most nervous travelers.
No matter how experienced a traveler your horse is, there's always something you can do to make the ride a little smoother. From checking the trailer's springs and tires every time you travel to ensuring the floor is secure and the interior pleasing, the little things add up big time. A calm horse is a horse that's totally unflappable when the time comes to perform.