Transporting your horse

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When you are travelling with your horse you may use either a horse trailer or a horsebox, and there are quite a few things to think about.

Before loading

Before you start loading, make sure that all the lights on the trailer are working and that all butt bars are set at the right height. The breast bar should come up to the top of the horse's chest, and the rear bar should be approximately level with the mid/lower section of the thigh.

You may want to prepare the horse by putting travel boots on its legs, or bandage them with padding, if the horse is used to this. Bandage all the way down over the hoof, or use boots that protect the coronary band and heal from overreach injuries. If needed, use a rug suitable to the temperature. It is important that the horse does not become overheated and starts to sweat. A leather headcollar is preferable during transport; not only because it is sturdier, but also because it is easier to cut off in the event of an accident where the horse is left hanging on the lead rein.

When loading

Make sure you have plenty of time so that you do not feel stressed. If you remain calm, the loading will always be much easier and quicker. If your horse is difficult to load, you may want to use a lead rein with a chain or put a bridle on. If your horse is difficult to load, get help from a person with experience! 

Once the horse has walked into the trailer, you close the butt bar behind it and close the ramp. You must never walk directly behind the ramp. If the horse throws itself backwards you could get crushed under the ramp. Once the ramp is closed, you can tie the horse up – never before. Always tie the horse to the hoop in the wall of the transport and not to the butt bar. This makes things easier in case the horse climbs over the bar and gets stuck.

Before you leave, make sure that the ramp and the handler door are both properly fastened.

During transport

It may be good for the horse to have a hay net/hay bag to eat from. If the weather is warm, or if the journey is long, you should stop every two hours to check on the horse. This is also a good time to give it water.

When you arrive, remember to park in a spot where you have enough room in the back to unload the horse. Open the handler door and check on the horse. Then open the ramp, but before opening the rear bar it is important to untie the horse and put on the bridle, if needed, after which the bar can be opened and you can back the horse out of the trailer.

The equipment that you should remember to wear for loading and unloading are gloves, and preferably a helmet and body protector. Avoid spurs on your shoes, as these can easily get caught or trip you in a difficult situation.

Horseboxes

In addition to the regular horse trailers that you pull after your car, there are now an increasing number of horseboxes on the market. They come in various sizes, from smaller trucks requiring a B-class driving licence, to large lorries that require a C-class licence. In general, horses will be more comfortable in a horsebox than in a trailer, as the horsebox will usually have a better suspension, drive more smoothly and give the horse more room. Even if you are transporting your horse in a horsebox, you should prepare and handle the horse in the same way as when you use a regular trailer. The regulations for transporting horses are the same regardless of whether you choose a trailer or a horsebox, see the Swedish Board of Agriculture website. 

Check the weight!

It is important to know the applicable load weights; what your car is allowed to tow, how much your transport can take on and which class licence you have, otherwise you may end up with some heavy fines. The unladen weight that is indicated in the vehicle registration certificate is not always accurate. It is the responsibility of the driver not to load too much weight and everything must be included in the calculation; not only the horse, but all equipment and feed must also be included.

Note

Remember that you must bring the horse's passport along for all transportation. 

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