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Travel Tips

For more great tips on traveling with your horse(s), and a variety of other great horse related subjects, visit Cowgirlclassifieds.com

Plan Ahead

If you plan out your travel route and overnight stays and make reservations well ahead of time, you should find that your trip will go well. Certainly, sometimes plans are not known well in advance but the earlier you try to make contact with your hosts the better. Calling a horse motel when you are "just down the road" from them might lead to disappointment when nobody answers the phone. Horse motel owners have a ranch to run and may be away from the phone for long periods of time. Check out your truck and trailer ahead of time, too. Generally, the horses will do fine on the trip. More problems seem to be caused by mechanical breakdowns of the truck or trailer. Make sure your trailer tires are in good condition. Blowouts are not uncommon with old tires.

Be considerate of your horse motel hosts

The most common complaints we receive are from horse motel owners who have guests who arrive much later than promised or they don't show up at all and don't bother to cancel their reservation. Most horse motels are horse owners' private property and the owners have other jobs and don't have the luxury of having a staff person to answer the phone 24 hours a day like a "people motel" does. Even though waiting up for a late arrival can make a horse motel owner blurry eyed for their work the next day, most are happy to do so if the traveler will be considerate enough to keep them informed by cell phone of their progress. If you are running late, or you decide to drive on through and not stop, be courteous enough to let your expectant hosts know. We travelers want horse motel owners to know how much we appreciate them opening up their private facilities to us and our horses. If we do not respect them and their property, we might find fewer horse motels to choose from in the future.

Care for your horse

1.) It is strongly recommended that you not let your horse out of the trailer once loaded until you are in a safe, inclosed environment, such as your horse motel for the night. Having a horse spook and get loose at a roadside stop in a strange environment by a major road with heavy traffic can have disastrous results.
2.) Everybody has different ideas on how long to travel each day with their horse. In general, most people will "poop out" about the same time, or sooner, than their horse(s). Eight to ten hours should be no problem for your horse. Some people (such as rodeo contestants) haul much longer hours with no apparent problems and other travelers like to travel even less hours a day. Horses tend not to drink in the trailer which is one argument against long hauling.
3.) You can try to give your horse water to drink but don't be surprised if you can't get it to do so. Carrots are a good source of liquid while on the road.
4.) While most horse motels have hay for sale, it may be much different from the hay your horse is used to and it's a good idea to bring along enough of your own hay to last the trip. Sudden changes in hay can cause a horse to cholic.

Travel papers for your horse.

Virtually all horse motel owners and some state border livestock inspection stations will want to see current health papers for each of your horses along with proof of a negative Coggins test. These certificates and papers can be obtained from your local veterinarian and your vet should know what you will need for your trip. Health papers should be obtained within 30 days of your trip. Though not as commonly asked for, some horse motels or inspection stations may want to see a brand inspection for each of your horses, too, so it wouldn't hurt to obtain those papers from your local brand inspector. A brand inspection does not necessarily mean you must get your horse branded. The inspector will fill out a form noting distinguishing characteristics of your horse that readily differentiate it from others.

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