When you are hauling a horse a long distance, it is very important to make sure that you thoroughly check both the vehicle and the trailer before you ever load your horse to ensure that they are both in good condition and safe for the long ride. Once you have done all of the necessary checks, it is time to think about what your horse will need to stay safe and comfortable on the long trip. One last thing that you will need to get before you leave for your trip is a copy of the horse’s registration papers, health certificate, negative coggins, and transport papers if your state requires them. Once you have all of the paperwork in order, it will be time to prepare your horse for the long trip.
The first thing that you should do is allow them to eat normally before you load them into the trailer. They should also have free access to all of the clean water that they will drink. If you are going on a long road trip, you could hang a hay net or bag full of hay for the horses to nibble on during the trip, however, it is very important to make sure that you hang the bag or net high enough so that it will not get tangled around their legs during travel. You should also take water with you that the horse is used to. Some horses will not drink water that smells or tastes different.
Once you have the hay net properly secured, it is time to load the horses. If your trailer has individual stalls, it is safest to tie each horse in their stall using a quick release knot. When you are tying the knot, you will want to make sure that the rope is loose enough for the horse to touch the butt bar or door behind them. This will prevent them from pulling back on the rope during travel.
Once the horses are loaded, you should leave as quickly as possible and remember to start out slowly so that the horses will be able to adjust to riding in the trailer. When you stop for fuel or to eat, offer the horses water, even though most of the time they probably will not drink. You should also plan to stop once or twice to eat a leisurely meal. This will give the horses a chance to rest.
If you take care to ensure that your horses are comfortable during their ride, you will arrive at your destination with horses that are in wonderful condition.
The journey that pigs take from the producer’s farm to the processing plant can be very hard and stressful. If the proper steps are not taken, significant quality can be lost and some pigs may even die during transport. If the proper steps are taken, transporters will be able to reduce the amount of stress on pigs and they will be in much better condition when they reach their final destination.
There have been several studies performed at different farms and the findings of these studies suggest that there are several practices that can be used that would reduce the stress that pigs suffer during travel. One of these findings is that pigs are afraid of shadows and they are much more comfortable traveling with other pigs that they are familiar with. Farmers are encouraged to transport pigs in the same groups that they have been housed in so that they will be more comfortable during travel. Another cause of stress is the process of loading and unloading, so it is recommended to minimize the use of assembly yards and electrical prods when possible.
Transport stress is seen more often during the summer months than any other time of the year. The combination of high temperatures and motion sickness can greatly increase the stress in pigs which can cause meat that is pale and soft or it can be dry and firm. If the stress level is too high, it can even be fatal. The stress that pigs have often begins when they are moved out of the barns and pens. One way to reduce the stress of moving is to eliminate narrow hallways and right angled corners that will slow the pigs movement. It is also important to have a ramp incline that is not steeper than 25 degrees. Anything that is steeper than this will be perceived as a wall from a pig’s point of view.
It is also important to keep pigs cool once they have been loaded into the transport vehicle. Pigs are very susceptible to heat stress and must be kept cool to maintain their health and good condition during transport. If it is possible, the transport vehicle should be bedded down with wet sand to keep the pigs cool during transport. You do not want to use any other type of bedding because it can actually trap heat inside the transport vehicle and increase the pig’s stress instead of decreasing it.
The process of loading livestock can be a very stressful one on the animals because they are going to be exposed to many unfamiliar sounds and surroundings. Many of the animals will never have seen these things before and will be very frightened. Planning the loading procedure well in advance will allow adequate time for the livestock to be loaded quietly and with care. This will allow the animals to be loaded in a way that will reduce their stress level and it will not cause them any injury. One thing to remember is that if you are loading the animals at night, you should use some source of artificial lighting to illuminate the surroundings and the loading ramp. This will allow you to see better and make loading the animals much easier.
There are several methods that are currently used to assist in loading livestock and they include:
- Making use of the behavioral and group characteristics of the particular species.
- Electric prods. These types of devices should be approved for use and should only be powered by batteries or dynamo. Their use should be restricted to the minimum that is necessary to complete loading. They should never be used on young animals or horses.
- A length of cane with a short strap of leather or canvas attached (called flappers) or metallic rattles are ideal because they encourage the livestock to move in response to sound.
- Well trained dogs are also useful to assist in loading livestock. You should muzzle dogs that are known to bite and only use the number of dogs that are needed to complete the task.
When you are loading, it is important to make sure that the doors to the transport vehicle are properly aligned with the loading ramp to ensure the smooth movement of livestock. This will ensure that there are no injuries to the animals and it will also minimize bruising.
It is also important to remember that different species of animals should be separated from one another during transport. For example, sheep and goats should not be permitted to travel together.
All loading procedures should be supervised by experienced stockmen and supervisors to ensure that spectators do not interfere with the smooth loading of the animals. The driver who will be transporting the animals should also be provided with the name and phone number of the owner or stock agent in case of delays or injuries that would require emergency actions.