Transport & Equipment

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If you have ever owned a horse that had difficulties loading you know how determined a horse can be to not get in the trailer. It is easy to accuse the horse of being stubborn or obstinate, or we can make excuses for them, especially if they have ever been hurt or scared in a trailer. Unfortunately, sympathy will get you about as far as being frustrated will — basically nowhere.

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Horse trailers represent a significant investment, which is measured in dollars and, more importantly, in the comfort and safety of the horses that place their trust in us. A few carefully planned steps taken when preparing our rigs for winter can eliminate spring headaches, extend the useful life of the trailer, and increase the safety margin for our horses.

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Of the various forms of commercial transport, one of the most demanding is arguably that of horse transport. Strangely, it also attracts the least qualified, the most poorly equipped, and the most fraudulent and dishonest operators. How does one wade through the ethical minefield created by illegitimate wannabes and scammers? I will offer a handful of tips to keep you and your horses safe...

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While one can’t plan for every form of disaster, it’s important to familiarize yourself with any potential risks that could occur in your area and plan for them accordingly. Planning ahead can allow horse owners the opportunity to stay composed and act quickly in an emergency situation.

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There’s Far More To It Than You Might Think - My wife and I recently spent four devastating days in Sumas Prairie, Abbotsford, British Columbia assisting with the rescue and evacuation of animals following the disastrous flooding caused by the “atmospheric river” of torrential rain in mid-November 2021. It’s one thing to watch it on the news — it’s surreal to be on the ground in the middle of it.

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Horses, trucks, and trailers are all big investments, so it makes sense to use the best tools available to help keep horses and drivers safe and comfortable while hauling down the road. In addition, horses are live cargo that moves around when traveling and hauls very differently than “dead weight” cargo.

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Climate change is substantially impacting Canadian horses, horse properties, and their owners. Almost 90 percent of Canadians in recent surveys say they’ve already seen climate change effects in their communities. Horses are increasingly affected by respiratory diseases from wildfire smoke and dust; skin disease and damaged hooves from variable weather; and unforeseen parasites and diseases. Horse owners are struggling to purchase hay, treat unexpected health issues, and adapt to weather-related riding limitations. Meanwhile, property owners are repairing damage from sudden storms, drought, excess water, and wind. So, it’s worth understanding how climate change will affect horses and properties into the future, and what you can do to prepare for these changes.

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With spring just around the corner our thoughts turn to riding, riding, and more riding. While not nearly as enrapturing, save some consideration for that lonely chariot outside, which gets our beloved steeds to and from events, shows, and trails. Every trailer that has been parked or stored for the winter should undergo a methodical inspection and maintenance routine before hitting the road each year. Safety should always be of primary concern, but comfort is important as well – every time a horse has an unpleasant trailering experience, he or she will go through that much more stress on the next trip.

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To help you understand what your horse experiences during transport he might suggest that you stand inside the horse trailer, with your hands in your pockets and your eyes closed, while he drives you around. I knew someone who considered himself to be an extraordinary driver, yet the horses he hauled always had more than their fair share of mysterious nicks and bumps, and every horse that stepped off his rig was sweated. I tried to tell him that it isn’t about handling his rig as if it’s a sports car; it’s about providing the horses in his rig with the most comfortable ride possible.

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From The Horse's Perspective - Until recently, no major studies had been conducted about the effect of travel on horses. The best advice most folks could hope for was to glean some pearls of wisdom from the ocean of opinions and tales of other road warriors.

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