Moving to Florida for the Winter?
Are you relocating your horse to Florida?
Are you moving your horse to Florida for the winter? You’re not alone. Florida’s mild winter weather, along with significant events in Wellington, Ocala, and Miami, make the Sunshine State a popular destination for equine enthusiasts this time of year. To help facilitate a smoother transition, we’d like to share a few tips with you.
Prepping for the Move
In the days leading up to the move, feed your horse more forage and less grain. You may even consider removing grain from his diet for a few days right before the trip. This ensures a good supply of fiber to keep his gut full.
While trailers are designed to protect your horse from the elements during transport, you’ll need to take a few steps to ensure your horse’s comfort.
First, check the ventilation. Air should be able to circulate, but the trailer shouldn’t feel “drafty.” Next, check the sliding windows to ensure they slide smoothly and close completely. When you’re traveling, you’ll want to use both the windows and the vents to control the temperature inside the trailer; you may want to reverse the vents and open the windows to cool things down if the trailer seems particularly warm.
To Blanket or Not to Blanket?
As the weather cools down, many horse owners automatically blanket their horses while transporting them. However, this can lead to overheating. Consider your horse’s coat: if he has a heavy coat, he may not need a blanket, but if he’s body-clipped, he’ll likely need something for warmth. Also, remember that if you’re transporting several horses in a trailer, their body heat may build-up and keep the trailer warm enough. Overall, you’ll want to check the trailer’s temperature at every stop to ensure your horse’s comfort.
Hydration is Essential
Once temperatures start dropping, some horses are less likely to drink water on their own, even in the comfort of their stall. Once you put them in a trailer, they can be even less likely to drink enough water to stay hydrated. As you’re planning your route to Florida, map out stops every 3-4 hours to both check the temperature of the trailer and water your horse.
A Smooth Transition
Once you’ve reached your destination, it’ll take your horse a little while to acclimate to the local forage. You can help make the transition easier by planning: bring hay, chaff, or other forage from your stable and mix it in with the new local hay for a few days. Have the hay in your new locale tested to ensure it has similar protein and mineral levels as the hay your horse is accustomed to.
Enjoy a Healthy Winter
Relocating your horse to Florida is a great way to continue eventing over the winter. We hope the tips we’ve offered help ensure a healthy transition for your horse, and lead to a successful season.