Happy Travels

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With the heat of summer comes more miles on the road for many horses. Whether you're traveling to shows, trail rides or just to the veterinarian's, hot-weather hauling requires special consideration.

If it is hot and humid outside, it will be more so-as much as 10 to 20 degrees-inside. Between the horse's natural body heat and the heating up of the exterior shell of the trailer, it can turn into a near-oven inside. Consider giving your horse a small dose of electrolytes (check with your veterinarian) for a couple of days before your trip, so his metabolism will be well hydrated.

If you must haul in hot weather, do so when it's coolest-travel at night if possible or in the very early morning. Open all the vents and windows to allow as much air flow as possible-with one caveat: Don't let your horses hang their heads out of the drop-down windows. This can cause head, neck and eye injuries.

Stop every four hours (in the shade) at a minimum and offer your horse water. Make your breaks at least 20 minutes to allow your horse to rest. Some horses won't urinate when the trailer is moving, so this break will give him an opportunity to pee if he needs to.

If your trip is longer than 12 hours, plan an overnight somewhere en route. Studies show horses arrive less stressed if they've had at least an eight-hour break.