The Equine Expert

Considerations of Blanketing Your Horse While Trailering
By Bridget Brandon

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Should you blanket a horse when trailering?  Horses are very comfortable in cold conditions, especially if they are directly out of the wind, and most will travel very well during the winter. Adding a blanket to the mix is one more thing that could cause a problem or an injury while on the road, so careful preparation and consideration should be made. Things to consider when making this decision:

The trailer should be well-ventilated to prevent it from becoming toxic from hay dust, shavings and gases from urine and manure. And keep in mind that body heat produced by the horses will build up inside the trailer.

Be sure to keep the horse hydrated, especially in the winter, as dehydration is a common cause of colic. A horse will lose water through perspiration and if they do not drink while traveling or in a new place, that’s an issue as well. A good idea is to take some water along with you as many horses will not readily drink a new source of water.  If the horse is over blanketed, this will cause the horse to perspire.  Combining this with the lack of drinking on the road could be a risky situation.

Depending on the type of trailer and if the horse is body clipped or not will depend on the type of blanket to use or if you should use one at all. If the horse has a full winter coat and the trailer is fully enclosed, you probably do not need a blanket.  If you have a stock trailer that does not have windows that close, a light sheet can protect the horse from the wind. If the horse is body clipped, partially clipped, or has a light coat, he should wear the same weight blanket that he would normally wear and leave the trailer windows and vents open, depending on the weather.

Make sure that straps are secured properly and the blanket is the appropriate size.  You do not want the blanket slipping, rolling or getting caught on anything in the trailer which could cause a horse to panic.  If you are traveling a very short distance, it may not be worth the risk of blanketing at all.  Always check the inside of your trailer for anything that a blanket could get caught or snagged on, including the loading and unloading portion, and be sure to fix or remove any potential hazards before loading your horse.  Should you decide to blanket your horse, twww.theequineexperrt.comaking a few minutes to check the weather for your travel route, checking the inside of your trailer, ensuring your blankets fit well and are in good repair and that you have the appropriate type blanket, will make the trailer experience a much better one for your horse.

Bridget Brandon is President of The Equine Expert LLC, which is a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm. Expert equestrians join together to offer legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. We have consultants offering a wide variety of expertise in most all disciplines in the horse industry to cover liability, business, standards in the industry, valuations, training, showing, sales and most all equine areas needing support in legal and business matters. For more information on their services, email or call 817-454-4537 to schedule an appointment with a consultant.


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