I Am 40 Years Old And Need A New Career Safe Trailering Young Horses

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Safe Trailering Young Horses

OH BABY, BABY

A veteran rider of 40 years who took me under his wing early in my professional career often told me, “every time you touch the horse, you are teaching him something.” This saying has stuck with me all these years and I remember it every time I touch the horse. Years ago I had a commercial carrier bring a stallion, a light pack, from Spokane Washington to New England and by the time they got to the northeast the horse wouldn’t load. It took a year for that horse to get comfortable with loading and unloading. The carrier may have done his job, but he has no idea how to handle a stallion. Whatever the rider was doing, he was teaching the horse not to charge.

When handling a young horse, it is even more important to understand that you can influence his perception for the rest of his life. Shipping foals and weaners can be tricky business. If done right, then your new horse will become a good carrier. Years ago I had the opportunity to send a mare in foal a distance of about 100 miles to be bred. Needless to say, the mare had to be transported a total of six times, three round trips.

The colt, named Reuben, took it all in stride. When we loaded his mom, we tied him up and let him loose in the trailer we had removed the panels/dividers on. He understood very quickly how to travel.

His experience was good and it certainly helped that he was following mom in the trailer. Since then I have had the opportunity to move Ruby many times. First, in his new home about 150 miles from where he grew up. And again other times, in new barns and to train as a three-year-old. Every time it was thrown in the trailer and it was no big deal. This is the result of taking him quietly and carefully when he was young. As handlers we need to make trailering for young horses a good experience.

Because I have raised anywhere from 150 to 200 foals, I have had to deal with many different situations. So let’s start with some of the basics of transporting new horses. To transport a mare and filly, it is important to remove all compartments from the trailer. This gives the feel of a stable and allows the mare to find the foal at all times. When loading them, tie the mare by the head and let the foal loose. The baby will quickly adjust to traveling in the trailer and the mare will have room to avoid stepping on the foal. When shipping puppies and yearlings, I recommend not tethering them unless absolutely necessary. I once transported a one-year-old with a customer and during the transport I looked in the mirror and the one-year-old had stuck his front leg out the side window. He had jumped up and down on the trailer and managed to get a leg over the head tie. Nothing serious, but important to pay attention to. I also suggest that you do not hang any mesh bags of grass. I have seen young horses jumping up and down in the trailer and catching their feet in the sack. Generally shipping any of these young horses is good for up to five hours. It is especially important to pay attention to hydration, especially with foals.

Transporting a foal without its mother creates a number of other issues and should only be considered in extreme cases. I am always available to discuss your particular situation. Just call.

Of course, as babies grow, transporting them becomes less and less of a problem.

Enjoy your new babies. And safe travels with your horse.

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