Spring is here, which means it’s time to think about traveling with your horses. This series offers travel tips for horses. The second part offers tips about reducing your horse’s stress during travel.
When you are traveling, it is more important than ever for your horse to remain in top condition.
A combination of proper management and the right nutritional support can ensure your horses’ travels are stress-free.
Feed free-choice hay or several hay meals throughout the day.
One of the best ways to keep horses healthy on the road is to keep hay in front of them at all times.
While munching on hay, horses produce saliva that naturally buffers their stomachs and reduces irritation from excess acid.
Eating hay stimulates the thirst response and keeps horses drinking. A full belly of hay acts like a water reservoir and helps maintain good hydration levels.
Ensure a healthy digestive tract while traveling
While keeping your horse on schedule and making feed changes slowly will help ensure digestive health, it may not be enough to ward off stress-related digestive problems.
This will greatly reduce the risk of colonic or gastric ulcers, colic and laminitis.
Protect your horse from dehydration.
When horses sweat they lose precious fluids and electrolytes. The lost fluids and electrolytes will need to be replaced if your horse is to remain healthy.
There are many reasons that traveling horses sweat.
- Enclosed in a warm trailer
A well-balanced electrolyte and trace mineral supplement such as Summer Games® Electrolyte will encourage drinking and replace lost electrolytes and minerals.
Horses should be offered water frequently throughout the trip, especially when being fed electrolytes.
Dissolving electrolytes in your horse’s drinking water may reduce his or her water intake and make it hard to determine just how much electrolyte is consumed.
It is best to dose electrolytes with an oral dosing syringe or mix them in the feed so you know exactly how much you are providing and how much your horse is eating.
Support a strong immune system and healthy neuromuscular functions when traveling.
Fresh green grass is a horse’s best source of the essential nutrient natural vitamin E.
If you are traveling with your horse chances are your horse won’t be spending much time out grazing on good pasture.
Vitamin E requirements increase when a horse is stressed or asked to perform work.
Without natural vitamin E your horse’s immune system works less efficiently, leaving him susceptible to illness.
A lack of antioxidants can lead to muscle soreness, stiffness and even bouts of tying up.
Supplementing with Elevate® Maintenance Powder can help support healthy muscle and nerve cells, and maintain optimal immune response.
What to do when extra energy is needed:
Long days on the trail, tough terrain or a busy competition schedule can mean energy demands increase.
The safest and easiest way to add calories to the diet is by feeding a fat supplement such as Equi-Jewel®.
Horses using fat for energy
- have lower heart rates and lactic acid levels
- recover faster
- are less likely to develop soreness, stiffness and tying up
- stay calm and focused on their work
Fat also creates less heat when being metabolized, an important factor for horses working in hot and humid weather.
Get a printable version of this infographic here.