Expert advice from HORSE magazine on how to make your first journey in a trailer a stress-free experience for you and your horse

Q: I have just bought my first trailerand am looking forward to getting out and about. Are there any practical measures I should take to make sure that the transport experience is as comfortable as possible for my horse?

Motoring journalist John Henderson replies: A comfortable and safe trailer has the following features:

  • natural light inside and a solid build to reduce vibration and swing;
  • enough room for a horse to adopt a ‘bracing’ posture when it stands with fore and hind legs apart;
  • well padded partitions with a rubber skirt underneath;
  • l good headroom, with space in front for the horse to lower its head;
  • well padded furniture inside the vehicle, including a breast-bar at breast height and a bum bar;
  • non-slip flooring;
  • a solid ramp with matting and spaced footholds. Ensure the ramp angle is not steep and that the step up from the ground is not too high.

A trailer should be as dust-free as possible, with good ventilation.

It should have an experienced driver at the wheel at all times. Horseboxes and trailers need to travel slowly, especially around corners and roundabouts. The exception is on a motorway, but avoid braking suddenly.

Always make sure your horse is in excellent health before setting off, and don’t transport him for periods of more than two hours without a rest.

He should be checked and offered water when the vehicle is stationary. Avoid over-wrapping him in blankets and, if possible, transport him with a companion.

Finally, don’t tie him up too tightly. This restricts a horse’s head movement and would be a stressful experience, and dangerous.

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