Category Archives: Travel

Welcome to the family

Buying your first horse is an exciting time, but how can you prepare for his arrival? Here are some of our top tips.

You’ve found your perfect horse, and your vet has just called to say he’s passed his vetting with flying colours. Congratulations – the search is finally over and the countdown to your new horse’s move-in date is underway.

With the clock ticking, it’s time to think about what needs to be in place before you unload him in his new home. We’ve put together your ultimate first-time horsey shopping list to help give you and your new four-legged friend the best possible start together.

Food first

Horses spend the majority of their time eating forage – up to ten hours daily, in fact – so enabling this will be an important step in preparing for your new arrival. Find out whether hay is included in your livery package or, if not, ask your yard owner if they can recommend a local hay or haylage supplier.

Even if you plan to change your horse’s bucket feed, ask his previous owner what he eats and stock up on it. Dietary changes need to be made gradually over a couple of weeks to maintain gastric health, so it’s important not to switch to his new ration overnight.

TOP TIP

As with hay, bedding may also be included in your livery package, or you’ll need to make your own arrangements. Check with your horse’s previous owner to find out if he requires a dust-extracted variety.

What’s included?

If your horse comes with tack and rugs, this will reduce the amount of horsey shopping you need to do, although it’s not a bad idea to check all his items over for signs of wear and tear.

If he doesn’t come with tack, you’ll have to get a new saddle professionally fitted by a master saddler.  Ask you yard owner for recommendations, or check the Society of Master Saddlers registry.

If you need to buy or replace rugs, you’ll find a fantastic range on Bridleway’s website, from fly rugs to turnout rugs and coolers.

Did you know?

If your horse’s previous owner is keeping his bridle, why not call out a professional bridle fitter to find his perfect match. For a range of Bridleway bridles, click here.

Bon voyage

The day’s arrived, and you’re ready to pick your new horse up. In order to get him home safely, you’ll need a…

Some new horse owners encounter difficulty loading their horses, but that can be down to having a new handler. Look out for signs of tension, such as high head carriage and attempts to avoid the vehicle, and always be prepared to allow a little extra time coaxing him onto the ramp – rushing a horse who’s showing signs of nervousness rarely ends in your desired result.

Settle down

It can take horse a few weeks to settle in a new yard with new rules, handlers and companions, so it’s important not to put unnecessary pressure on him as he acclimatises to his new routine. It might be that you avoid riding him for a week or so, which may feel frustrating. However, in the future you’ll have all the riding time in the world, so why rush him?

For everything you’ll need for your new horse, visit bridlewayequestrian.com

 

Hit the road – Travelling with your horse

Travelling with your horse can open up a wonderful world of possibilities, from summer shows to horsey holidays. However, it’s important to make sure you’re well prepared so that your horse reaches your destination in good form.

 All kitted out
Before you set off on your journey, make sure your horse is suitably attired. It’s advisable that he wears…

  • travel boots or bandages to protect his legs. Whichever option you choose, it’s important that they fit correctly – too loose and they may slip and become a hazard, too tight and they may restrict blood flow
  • a leather headcollar, which will break much more easily in an emergency. Choose one with padded sections at the nose and poll for extra comfort
  • a tail bandage and guard to protect his tail. For longer journeys it’s often better to just use a tail guard, as a bandage could affect  his circulation if it’s too tight. Choosing one with an attached tail bag will help keep his tail clean
  • a cooler or fleece rug to stop him getting chilly. However, keep in mind that it can get very warm in the back of a lorry or trailer, so unnecessary rugging may make him hot and uncomfortable
  • a poll guard to protect his head if he’s a nervous traveller

Take a break
It’s important to stop at least every three or four hours to give your horse a break and allow him to lower his head. This helps to drain his nasal passages of hay, dust and other debris that might otherwise enter his lungs and cause respiratory disease. However, unless you’re parked in an enclosed area you know is safe, don’t take him off the trailer or lorry – not only is there a chance he won’t load again, but being in an unfamiliar environment with lots of potential hazards could make him unpredictable and put you both in danger.

Suitably refreshed
Your rest stops are a good time to offer your horse a drink. Dehydration is a real danger when travelling long distances, particularly when the weather’s warm, so it’s important that he keeps drinking to minimise the risk of impaction colic. If he’s reluctant, try adding a splash of apple juice to the water or offering him a slushy, soaked feed, such as sugar beet. It’s also important to make sure he has plenty of forage to keep him amused and also provide an essential source of fibre, which helps to keep his digestive system working efficiently. Hang this in easy reach just below his nose.

Good working order
Making sure your lorry or trailer is in good working order is key to reducing the risk of accidents or breakdowns. Before you set off, check your tyre pressure, headlights and indicator bulbs. Breakdown cover is essential, but make sure that your policy covers removing livestock from the scene. Store the details in your lorry cab or towing vehicle, along with other essentials, such as a torch, first aid kit, high-vis tabard, phone charger and battery booster pack.

For all your horsey needs, including travel essentials such as travel boots, bandages and leather headcollars, visit bridlewayequestrian.com.

Off On Holiday? Keep Calm and Gallop On!

Whether heading off on holiday or taking part in a show, visiting a new place can be stressful if you’re worried about keeping your horse calm when venturing away from home. If your horse struggles to adapt to new places or is simply not used to traveling, don’t panic – with our simple tips you could soon be calm and relaxed no matter what adventures lie ahead: –

Stick to your everyday routine
Horses like routine, so avoid breaking it where possible even if you are on holiday or competing. If you do have to make changes, plan in advance and tweak your day-to-day routine while at home to give your horse time to adjust.

Safety in numbers
Why not bring a friend or companion for you and your horse? Having a friend to support you will help you to stay calm and allow you to maintain control if your horse becomes anxious. The same can be said for your horse; a companion horse can work wonders to ease their nerves.

Practice the situation
If you are entering a competition, take your horse to a practice show beforehand so you can learn how your horse reacts in that particular situation and adapt the care you provide. If you’re planning a horse-friendly holiday, why not ask a fellow horse-loving friend if your horses can swap stables for the night. This will give your horse the opportunity to get used to being in a new environment and you will be able to gauge how they feel.

Stay confident
Horses can be spooked if they feel a lack of confidence from their rider. If you are feeling at all nervous, remember the days and weeks of training you have put in with your horse and the strong relationship you have. Simply by taking some deep breaths and walking your horse in figures of eight can calm both of you down and focus any nervous energy on the activity in hand.

Create a distraction with stable toys
Stable toys are a relatively new phenomenon but a great way to maintain your horse’s attention with something recognisable from their home environment. Most involve food and encourage natural foraging behaviour. Footballs are also great toys and some racehorse trainers simply use empty containers filled with nuts to hold their horse’s attention. Generally horses only focus on one thing at a time, so if you can maintain their attention with a toy they recognise any worries over their new environment should soon be forgotten.