Friday, 20 March 2015

Dressing a Horse for Travelling

There are so many opportunities and places to take your horse and pony.  Taking them to shows to compete in show-jumping, cross-country, dressage, games or to long distance rides or even taking them on holiday.  However, if you think about it the way we get them to these events is dangerous!  Putting a horse or pony in a metal box and driving down busy roads with lorries and cars whizzing past.  

So it is a MUST to protect them as much as possible.  Even walking up and down the ramp has the potential for serious injury.  I have seen a horse that slipped off the side of the ramp, not wearing boots or bandages, take all the flesh from the side of his leg down to the bone.  This type of injury takes months and months to repair if it can be fixed at all!  So what must you consider before dressing a horse for travel?

  • Weather conditions: is it hot or cold, wet or windy.  Horses tend to get hot when travelling but will still need a rug of some sort in the winter if they are clipped! 
  • Size of the horse: this will obviously affect the size of the equipment needed.


  • Headcollar and lead rope 
  • Leg protection: boots or bandages 
  • Tail bandage 
  • Tail guard 
  • Rug 
  • Poll guard

Headcollar and lead rope.
If possible use a leather headcollar as these will break in an emergency, nylon ones will not.  Ideally a headcollar with a fastening over the nose should be used as this will help when tacking up on arrival.  (Helping to keep the horse secure at all times).  

Leg protection.
Over the last couple of weeks I have written blogs about
boots and bandages.  Leg protection is vital to ensure your horse does not cut or seriously damage his legs on the ramp or if he kicks himself while balancing.  Over-reach boots may be needed for some horses.  The other type of boots which may be used with bandages are knee boots.  These are fitted after the bandages are put on.  The top strap is done relatively tightly above the knee to keep the boot on.  The bottom strap is left loose and is there to stop the boot flipping up.  If this strap is tight it will affect the horse's movement.  If using boots, which are easier in many ways, ensure that they are long enough to cover the knee or hock and the coronet and heels.  

Tail Bandage.
last week's blog for more about these and their fitting.

Tail Guard.
These will provide extra protection for a horse that my rub his tail.  However, for several types you will need a surcingle or roller for the tapes to fix to.  They are fitted over the top of the tail bandage.

As mentioned earlier the type of rug will depend on the horse and weather conditions.  There are thick cooler rugs available now which will keep a horse warm in the winter but wick any sweat away from the skin.  In the summer you will need a thin summer sheet or a thin cooler, alternatively travel your horse with no rug!

Poll Guard.
These are fitted to the headcollar and are a soft pad either behind and/or over the horses ears.  These protect the horses poll because if a horse bangs his poll hard eg: on the roof or door way, it is possible for them to be killed.  It is a good idea to get your horse used to a poll guard in advance as some guards also go over the horses ears.  

 It is great fun getting out and about with your horse but with a bit of thought and time taken you can make it safer and more comfortable for your horse!

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Until next time!

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