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The inside of a horse trailer can easily become 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature outside. Horses working to keep their balance in such conditions can quickly become stressed, fatigued and dangerously overheated. As you travel this summer, take precautions to ensure your horses stay cool on the road.
- Open trailer windows and vents. But make sure that doing so does not encourage a horse to assume an inappropriate position while you are moving.
- Do not put sheets or coolers on traveling horses, even to "keep them clean." They'll overheat and arrive sweat-stained anyway.
- Skip heavy quilts and bandages on legs and go with lighter-weight shipping boots. If all the horses in the trailer are experienced travelers, you may want to ship with just bell boots on to protect coronary bands.
- If you have to stop en route, park in a shady spot if possible. Offer the horses water before you set out again.
- Once you've arrived at your destination, unload and offer more water as soon as you can do so safely.
For your bookshelf: Trailering Your Horse: A Visual Guide to Safe Training and Traveling
Find more tips in "Your Aging Horse: Trailering" in EQUUS 394, July 2010.