Trailering for long distances
1.) It is a good idea to use shavings in your trailer to "cushion the blow" of the road for your horses legs and joints, however it is important to remember to wet those shavings down. WHY? Because if you do not wet the shavings down the dust/shaving particles blow around and your horse inhales them or possibly even gets them in their eyes. I like to wet them so that the top couple of inches is fairly damp, but not soaked completely.
2.) If you have a trailer that is mostly enclosed it is a good idea to make sure their is plenty of ventilation so it does not get too warm inside for your horse.
3.) To wrap or not to wrap: (Standing wraps only) I have hauled both ways but find that unless you are superior at wrapping you can actually get into more trouble with wraps so these days even for super long hauls I do not wrap. The only exception would be if I had a horse with some sort of injury that must be hauled for a distance. I am sure to see that the wrap is on properly and properly secured. In addition, if you have never wrapped your horse then don't try it for the first time in the trailer, I suggest practicing at home in the stall first until they are used to wearing wraps.
4.) Horses tend to not drink, even if they are thirsty particularly if they are not accustomed to longer hauls or if they are worriers. To help with this problem it is a good idea to carry some sort of water container from home (with water from home that they are used to) because a lot of places you might stop to get water may have a very different taste and the horse won't drink it. They can typically go for a couple of hours very easily without water, but usually every time I stop for fuel, potty break, or any other reason that would cause me to be stopped for a few minutes, I like to at least offer the water.
5.) If you are hauling a distance for the first time you could always give a stress pak (electrolye paste) which I always carry with me in the trailer. Give this however, before you go because if you try and give it at the first water break, they won't like the taste and therefore won't drink the water. If however, you give it before you go, then by the time you actually stop to water they will likely be thirsty.
6.) If they had a chance to eat before trailering that is always preferable not always easily done, so you could offer hay in a safe feeding bag or manger but I would probably limit the amount of hay until you arrive at your destination and are sure your horse is drinking well.
7.) Always carry a first aid kit in your trailer for just such an emergency. I like to be sure that I have these items in my kit:
stress paks (oral electrolytes)
banamine (usually injectable) but I also carry paste and powder
bute (usually paste0 but I also carry tablets
furizone ointment or some sort of antibiotic ointment
cotton sheeting (thick) (diapers will also work for this)
elasticon ( can get from vet)
duct tape (can work for all sorts of functions)
staple kit (not everyone will have the skill for this, but I carry it)
There are of course other things you can carry with you, but this list gives you an idea of some basics.
8.) Make sure to bring some of your hay from home, so the horse is not prone to colic if you are switching to a hay from a different area.
9.) Make sure to bring your feed/supplements/grain from home as well and most importantly try to maintain your feeding schedule as close to the time the horse is fed at home.
10.) When to stop and exercise? Well, I would say that about 12-13 hours in the trailer is definitely a long day but I have hauled horses that length of time before letting them out of the trailer many times and they seem to do just fine, this is of course making sure that they are fed on schedule and offered water at every stop. So, if you are just driving 5/6/7 hours you probably do not necessarily have to stop and exercise them but you should always offer water.
11.) If you are making an extremely long trip sometimes it is good to break the trip up with an extra day at an overnight horse accommodation. This gives your horse a mental break but also a physical break from standing in the trailer.
12.) Always use some sort of safety tie or safety knot to be able to release your horse in case of emergency. Be very careful to not let a lot of extra lead rope hanging it can be a danger to your horse if they are wrapped up in it but also for those using a stock type trailer if it is too long it can be wound in the wheel axle and that would cause a real wreck.
13.) Always, I mean always carry a pocket knife in your truck easily accessible and a flashlight is not a bad idea along with a few flares in case you are stuck on the side of the road.
14.) Be very cautious not to over blanket while in the trailer particularly in an enclosed trailer with several horses in there. It does not take long before all of that horse flesh raises the temperature inside of the trailer. In most cases I would rather not blanket and perhaps just close a few of the windows to insure that my horses don't get too hot. This of course is not necessarily true for a more open stock type trailer.
15.) Always carry a jack or a jiffy jack in case of flat tire, makes for a quick and easy tire change. I have had many blow outs in my travels and can change my 6/7 horse trailer fully loaded in 15 minutes flat!
16.) Another good idea (which I have learned the hard way) is to carry a spare 5 gallon fuel can full of whatever type of fuel your truck takes and always fill up when you hit a 1/4 tank especially if you don't know when you will hit the next fuel station. Sometimes they are closed and you don't want to run out, especially if you have a diesel motor!
17.) Another thing that most people have never heard of is to make sure you have a properly fitted halter. This goes not only for trailering but actually all of the time. If when your halter is on the buckles on each side of the halter hit you horse on the bone that protrudes a few inches under their eye then you can cause nerve damage, so be sure that the halter buckles are not hitting facial bones or are not too tight. You can cause facial paralysis if the horse is wearing for a long time.
18.) Research ahead of time local horse accommodations or horse hotels in the areas you will be driving through, always a good idea unless of course you have a smart phone and can look it up as you are there, just in case.
19.) It should go without saying, but be sure you trailer is safe to travel with, it should have the wheel bearings packed or in good order, brakes working properly and all lights in good working order.
I also travel with two spares just in case I am a long distance from a tire store and have a blow out. I have been know to have two almost in a row so that I have learned from experience too!
20.) When traveling with more than one horse in the trailer, give some thought to placement in that trailer. ie.. can your horse haul comfortable in the front stall (if slant load) up against the wall, or do two horses not get along as well, is your horse large and may need the rear stall (in slant loads) for more room. In open trailers with no dividers do you have two mares that don't get along together? If you are hauling with a stallion in the trailer, where would he travel best. HINT: carry Vicks vapo rub with you and rub into the nose of your stallion or any horse that might not be a good neighbor because it drastically diminishes their ability to smell the horse next door. Caution, it can burn so use sparingly.
Another very important thing to consider when hauling with a larger trailer is to space your horses based on size/weight out through out the trailer so not all of your heavy weight is at one end.
There is always so much to talk about but this should give you a good guide to hauling safely, good luck and safe travels!