Tell Me About: Shipping

When it comes to shipping horses, there are so many different options as far as boots, wraps, padded halters, etc. Right now, I don’t actually have any shipping boots, so all Val gets is wrapped in standing wraps for the trip home after a weekend of showing. But I’m kind of paranoid when it comes to shipping, and that has definitely gotten worse now that Val is mine. So I’m looking at some options, and I want to know, what kind of protective measures do you take when your horse is being hauled somewhere?

It’s pretty hot down here, so whatever I get, it needs to breathable which is tricky. Dover has some shipping boots with mesh, but I don’t know how much difference that makes. I’ve also seen boots that were specifically made to be hosed off before you ship to keep them cool which is neat, but I can’t seem to find those again. While standing wraps provide pretty good protection, I’d prefer something that covered the whole lower leg, pasterns and all, with velcro for easy on and off. I’m one to boot for every trip with my own horses at least, just because accidents happen getting on and off as well as in the trailer.

I’m not currently planning to get a shipping halter that has fleece all over it, but I do make a point to only ship in leather. I don’t give Val anything for his tummy either, since he seems to do pretty well, but I also haven’t looked much into the benefits of doing so.

So tell me blogosphere, how do you protect your precious ponies when shipping? Does it vary based on the length of the drive or what you’re planning to do when you get to your destination?

14 thoughts on “Tell Me About: Shipping

  1. Steffi

    I don’t have much input – since I got to Texas the motto has pretty much been throw ’em on the trailer and hope for the best… but I’m interested to hear what others have to say. Back on the west coast I always shipped with shipping boots and a padded halter.

  2. Jenn

    My trainer/BO’s rule of thumb is: any trip under 30 mins gets the full set of open-front boots with bell boots on the front. Anything longer than that gets standing wraps on all four with bell boots on front. And usually, any trip coming home always gets standing wraps, regardless of the trip length (I know the way I’ve written this sounds confusing haha) to reduce any swelling and whatnot after a show. I don’t think anyone at my barn has actual shipping boots; I had a set for a minute and ended up giving them to Amanda because I never used them. Because Roger was a racehorse, he actually loves hauling and is generally really good on the trailer, so I don’t worry about having a bumper or needing anything other than standing wraps and bells on his legs. But, that’s just us!

  3. I will only do a leather/breakaway halter. When I used to ship on my own, I always wrapped my horses w/pillow wraps. I really SHOULD do that now, but as you know we don’t often meet our trainer before/after the trip so it doesn’t work out. When I’m in type A mom mode, I will feed gastrogard at the horse show after shipping to help tummy. For a long trip, I absolutely would do a shot of gastrogard.

  4. I ship in bell boots only and a halter that will break. My horse has a serious aversion to shipping in wraps or boots and will kick the living shit out of the trailer the entire time if he has anything on his legs, so he’s won that battle. Otherwise I’d prefer to ship in boots, unless it’s particularly hot. I DO always always always dose with Omeprazole while traveling and while away at horse shows, though. I start the day before and go all the way through the day we return. As with most things horse related, I don’t think there’s one right way to do it. A lot depends on the horse, the journey, the trailer, etc.

    1. Hot is definitely an issue, at least around here. That’s weird that he’s so anti-boots when shipping, but that’s horses. I guess that’s why there are so many options out there.

  5. Depends on the length of the drive. My trips are generally short, so I don’t do much. I also haul my horses myself, so I know what the trailer is like, what the drive will be like, etc. If I were sending my horse on someone else’s trailer for a long haul (which I would NEVER do because of the horrible things I’ve seen), then I would invest in shipping boots.

    I guess the question would also be what is the purpose of the protection? Stepping on himself during the ride? Stocking up? I never thought I’d have to consider protection from road rash, until one of my boarders was hit from behind on the highway by a drunk driver. Horses came out of the trailer… In that event, no protection can help. ­čÖü

    I’m sure standing wraps on all four legs would suffice for Val on a longerish trip.

    1. My horse is an easy shipper, so I’m mostly worried about the weird, unplanned scenario like a wreck or slipping off the side of the ramp while getting of the trailer. I too would probably never trust a professional hauler for long drives that didn’t come with personal recommendations. Way too scary!

  6. My horse is not on the trailer for more than an hour or so, even less, in most cases, so I just ship him in bell boots, and quilts & standing bandages. He wears a leather halter with sheepskin on the crown to ship in, too. I used to hate shipping boots, but the newer styles seem a lot safer. If he ever needed to go on a long haul, I would only go with well-known, recommended, reputable shippers that offer layover options and off-trailer breaks–in that case probably just bell boots. I don’t give Ulcergard or anything like that, but he might get extra Probios cookies.

  7. I did a post on this a while back! So many options. I generally use shipping boots with B, all the way to hocks and knees, now that he tolerates boots in the trailer. For longer trips (2+hrs) he gets wrapped in standing bandages and a tail wrap since he leans on the butt bar. Also full padded shipping halter and what I like to call, the “dunce cap”.

    I’ve never shipped a horse and refuse to. I cant ever forsee a situation where I would need to ship them off, and based on the absolute horror stories I hear–no thanks. Though I hear Brookledge is a great company. Still, I would rather do it myself and have made several 8+ hour trips myself.

    1. So far all of my shipping experience has been with whatever trainer I was riding with, so even though I’m paranoid, so far I haven’t actually had any scary experiences fortunately!

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