Horse and handlers are often injured loading or unloading a horse from the float. Here's how to do it correctly.
Things You'll Need:
  • Leather Skullcaps
  • Shipping Wraps
  • Horses
  • Horse Brushes
  • Horse Trailers
  • Horseshoes
  • Shipping Boots
Prepare Your Horse for the Trip
  1. Check that your horse has recently been vaccinated and wormed.
  2. Have a veterinarian complete a health certificate and Coggins test, allowing 7 to 10 days to obtain results.
  3. Ask your veterinarian what other tests may be required by your state or country of destination, and allow time for results to come in before your trip.
  4. Give your horse a complete physical exam before you leave (see "How to Give a Horse a Physical Exam") to check for medical problems.
  5. Gather shipping documents needed to accompany your horse, including identification, insurance, health certificate and proof of a Coggins test.
  6. Consult your veterinarian for specific health advice if you plan to travel longer than six hours.
  7. Provide instructions if someone else is hauling your horse, in case any problems should arise.

Take Precautions in the Trailer

  1. Bring a first aid kit in the event an emergency arises on the road. 
  2. Learn how to use shipping wraps or shipping boots.
  3. Put a leather skullcap on your horse's head; this can prevent serious injury if it rears up and bumps its head while loading or transporting.
  4. Avoid traveling during the hottest part of the day, and ventilate the trailer adequately.
  5. Provide water for horses regularly and use extra care with young horses, especially in hot weather.
  6. Avoid stopping frequently. An immobile trailer may allow heat to build up in the trailer. Unload horses mid-trip in extremely hot conditions, if necessary.
  7. Check the horse's physical condition after shipping by conducting a thorough physical exam.
  8. Take any post-shipping fever seriously - it can be life-threatening - and call a veterinarian.
Tips & Warnings
  • Practice loading your horse in a trailer with someone who's experienced. This can be useful even if you have no immediate travel plans, as it can prepare both you and your horse for loading in case of an emergency.
  • Avoid transporting a sick horse unless it's to the veterinarian.
  • If possible, avoid administering tranquilizers to your horse. Tranquilizers make horses unsteady. If you must, avoid feeding tranquilized horses in trailers.