Taking Care of Horses for the Long Haul - Minimizing the Stress of Traveling

Karen E. Davison, Ph.D.

Director, Nutritionist, Equine Technical Solutions

Fuel prices are high but horse owners continue to haul down the road; they may be eating peanut butter sandwiches, but they are still fueling up, loading up and hauling to shows.  One survey reported that horse owners transport an average of 2.4 horses on 24 trips per year for roughly 240 miles per trip.  This averages out to a 5-hour trip every other weekend.  Many horse owners and horses spend even more time than that on the road.  
For horses accustomed to travel, being transported under optimal conditions (in a safe trailer, in moderate climate conditions, for short trips, down good roads and being hauled by a careful driver) doesn’t create much stress.  However, change any part of that scenario (haul inexperienced horses, in an unsafe trailer, down rough roads with an inconsiderate driver, and make it a longer trip in extreme weather temperatures), and you create a stressful situation for horses.  Stressful hauling can impact a horse’s health and ability to perform at the end of the trip.
When being hauled long distances, horses should have continuous access to hay and be offered water at least every 6 – 8 hours.  Since many horses drink less water during travel, or don’t drink at all, they should be checked for hydration periodically.  If there is any indication of dehydration, a veterinarian should be called as intravenous fluids may be required.  Reduced water intake is one of the biggest concerns with hauling horses on long trips because lower water intake can increase the risk for impaction colic, dehydration, heat stress and reduced performance.  Purina® RepleniMash® is a great new product that can help make traveling long distances less stressful for the horse and horse owner. 
A palatable mash that nourishes your horse and their digestive system, RepleniMash® is much more than a mash.  RepleniMash® is nutritionally balanced and made with wholesome ingredients your horse is accustomed to and contains Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement plus a science-backed serving of electrolytes in every pound.  RepleniMasht® is a tasty mash that promotes hydration, gastric comfort and intestinal health and can be supplemented daily, any time a horse needs the additional support or simply needs a treat.  Watering horses in the trailer can be difficult but they love RepleniMash® and can eat the wet mash out of a bucket or a manger in the trailer.   
Some horses may tend to drink less water away from home because it tastes or smells different from the water they are used to but they readily eat RepleniMash® when made with the same strange water they may have refused from the bucket.  The mash can be made as wet as needed and can help encourage horses to drink the local water.
RepleniMash® is also an excellent warm mash in the winter when cold weather may cause a reduction in water intake.  Horses clean up ReplenMash®, even when mixed with oral supplements or medications that they may not readily eat when top-dressed on their feed.
Many horses spend as much time on the road and in unfamiliar locations as they do in their own barns or pastures.  Horses do get used to traveling, and most do quite well with good consistent care and management throughout the trip. 
For more information on the new Purina® RepleniMash® see your local Purina® Horse Feed Retailer or visit Purina® RepleniMash® Product - Horse Mash.