What does my horse need to wear on a trailer ride?
We love to dress up our horses. Most of the time, what we put on our horses has a purpose. Saddle pads, coolers, leg wraps are more than just a “fashion statement”. Protective clothing helps your horse be more comfortable and safe. The same is true for a trailer ride. Let’s dress our horse from the bottom up for a trailer ride. What does each part of your horse need?
Hooves may need bell boots. For the barefoot horses out there, it’s not AS critical. Bell boots on the front (and maybe back) protect the heel bulbs, hooves, shoes, and part of the pastern from knocks, bumps, cuts, scrapes, bruises. Your horse may never ever kick or stomp in trailer, but he may still step on himself.
Next are the legs. Two common (and very good choices) are standing wraps over quilts or shipping boots. Standing wraps envelop the legs, and may be a good choice for the horse that stocks up or wears them regularly. Shipping boots are a good choice for the horse that kicks. Most shipping boots cover the front of the hooves, knees and hocks.
These shipping boots cover the knee and back of the pastern - they are even reinforced! You may still have room for bell boots also.
I can hear you guys now ... why bother for a five minute trailer ride? I watched a horse unload after a five minute trailer ride. He was naked, his leg slipped off the ramp and he de-gloved his entire lower leg. It’s not always being on the trailer as much as it is getting on and off.
Head bumpers! I always suggest a head bumper. This goes double for the tough loaders who like to pull back and try and back out of the rig. This goes double for the tall guys on the short trailers. Head injuries in horses are very dangerous. Again, the length of the trip doesn’t matter.
Where are we going??
Fuzzy halter covers. These are, among other things, super cute looking on a horse. They can protect your horse’s skin from rubs and bonks on the sides of trailers. You may need to adjust your halter a bit larger to accommodate the fuzzy covers.
You can buy fuzzy pieces that velcro on. Some horses don't tolerate them on their cheeks, some horses do. Keep vital buckles easy to access.
Also think about a fly mask. Because of the ventilation that your horses need - you have some wind! Fly masks help protect the eyes from dust, hay bits, bugs.
So what about blankets? There is usually not easy to decide if you need one. Remember that no matter the outside temperature, the trailer must have ventilation. Also that in the rig, your horse is using all of his muscles to stay balanced, all of the time. This creates a fair amount of body heat. In the winter, you have outside temp to deal with as well as your horse’s hair coat. If he’s clipped, for sure he needs a blanket. If he’s hairy, he may be great without a blanket or he may just need a sheet to break any wind. In the summer or during major heat, limit any extra clothes that your horse may wear. You can always purchase a thermostat for the trailer whose readout can be in the truck cab with you. On a longer trip, stopping every 2 hours or so for water is a great chance to check your horse’s condition and adjust accordingly.
How does your horse get dressed for a trailer ride?