In my last post, I posed a question about trailering horses in the winter. John and I were considering going to visit my brother in the North Woods of Wisconsin, and taking the horses. From our home in Northwest Indiana, it would be about an 8 hour drive. Temperatures could be anywhere from 20 degrees to zero, and possibly below. In the end, we decided not to go.
I got some great comments from my blog friends, and it was suggested that I do a post with the responses, so here they are:
i would have more than likely come up with the same decision as you did...my horses safety would be my fist choices. Did you consult a vet to see if there was criterea for winter hauling when it is that cold...plus wind chill factored in. maybe you can post again with everyones responses?
I would have first checked the forecasted weather at both locations and the areas I'd be travelling in between. If the weather looked decent I probably would have hit the road.A couple things:A lot of people here have similar trailers and in the winter they use plywood or plexiglass (?) to cover MOST of those openings. Not all as you do want some airflow, especially if you don't have roof vents.If your horses have a good winter coat then use blankets at your judgement. You could always bring blankets/extra blankets along and add them if you need them.Also, if you're returning after riding give the horses a chance to get good and dry first.I haul in the winter and it can get very cold here! If its going to be really cold I don't load up but on those days I do I still crack my windows open a bit. (not all the way, just a crack!)
I probably would have come up with the same decision just because of the temps being below 20 F. However, for winter hauling if you ever need to. I would cover the openings on your stock trailer. They do make plexi inserts for those open spaces. Leave a couple openings at the back of the trailer for some air flow.As for blankets - Do you currently blanket them? If not I would be hesitate to blanket them, it would depend. It gets pretty warm in the trailer, especially if it's closed up. Always take a blanket or sheet with you.Yesterday it was 30 something here in Cincinnati. I put a cotton cooler on Rosie because she was just a tiny bit sweaty when I loaded her on the trailer to come home from the clinic. It was enough to wick whatever moisture there was off her and keep the chill off. Once I got home I brushed her hair back up (against the grain) to fluff it up again as blankets flatten it.
I pretty much agree with everyone's comments; avoid hauling in the really cold weather, but if you must, close off the sides and the gap in the back door, but do allow some airflow. I do blanket on cold hauls, because there is always some wind that gets in, and with a horse that's standing still, they can get quite chilled. However, check at regular intervals to see if they are sweating; you'd have to take the blanket off. A polar fleece cooler is a good option too, as they won't get too hot and it wicks the moisture away, but they are standing there with a damp blanket on in that case, so keep a dry regular blanket handy to use if needed.
I wouldn't haul because I wouldn't ride! If it drops under 50, im looking for a warm blanket for ME. This is why i live in Texas...LolBut I have hauled in pretty cold temps, horses blanketed. Not -20 though. It probably is wise to take them on a training haul with blankets on. Plenty of hay, stops for water.But better safe than sorry, I say. Hot cocoa and horses in the barn. Spring is coming!
Do heated, closed horse trailers exist?
Our trailer is similar to your's and we live in SE Indiana. Not quite as cold as you guys, but plenty cold still. We blocked off the sides with exterior grade plywood painted the color of our trailer. It has worked very well. If it is below freezing I will blanket in the trailer as it is like a fridge in those steel trailers. I try to think what it would be like in their barn with a little breeze and use a blanket weight for that. Horses do move a lot while trailering to keep their blanance and that in itself can make them sweat, so it can work to your good or your bad! I honestly worry less about trailering than I do about road conditions. I checked the weather one weekend, hauled to the Clark State Forest and was ten miles out when it started snowing. I almost didn't get my horse trailer out of that park! The parks don't service those roads during the closed part of the season. Lesson learned. Thanks for stopping by E.G.
Thanks everyone for helping me out! I had to laugh at Breathe -- no riding under 50 degrees for her!
Also, loved Ashlee's query as to whether closed, heated horse trailers exist. I am sure they do, but for the Derby horses! Not for us poor folks in Indiana!
My blog friends are the best!!!