Travelling With Horses

Travelling With Horses

Horse Crazy in the Upper Highway

With Shongweni, Crestholme, Drummond, in fact, all areas of the Upper Highway Area being popular horsey destinations it is essential to consider the safety of transporting horses to and from shows or for whatever other reason you may have for travelling with your horses. So we met with the leading horse industry experts in Hillcrest to find out more about travelling with horses.

Travelling with horses…

This article is proudly sponsored by Choice Carriers 

Whether you are a seasoned rider with many trips under the belt or are transporting a horse for the first time then this article is for you.  If you have your own box or need to make use of a horse transport company, each journey has its challenges, every horse is different, and being properly prepared can make the experience less daunting.

Proper preparation prevents a bad experience and horses need more preparing than their human counterparts!

Whether you need to move your horse to a different region or get him to a competition, there are several things you need to consider over and above preparing yourself and your horse for the journey. By taking these tips into consideration and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring the trip goes as smoothly as possible for both you and your horse.

We have included expert advice from local industry leaders to ensure that you are well equipped for your next equine trip!

Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

Life is fast-paced and we often don’t realize how quickly time is zooming past, be sure to book and plan the trip as well in advance as possible to avoid any disappointment or delays. Often things like travel insurance are completely forgotten about and things like travelling boots get far too much attention! Generally, leg wraps are not recommended. Also, keep in mind that if leg wraps or shipping boots come loose during transport the driver will not risk injury to himself or the horse to reapply them.

Top 10 Preparation Tips 

Tips 1 – 6 supplied by Dr Megan, Summerveld Equine Hospital 

1.  Ensure your horse is familiar with the horsebox. Spend time training them to load and unload, desensitizing them to the horsebox. This makes the experience a lot less stressful for the horse.
2 If the horse is very high-strung or nervous, consider getting a vet to mildly sedate him before loading.
3.  Only place boxing boots, poll guards and rugs on horses that are well accustomed to them. Placing them on a horse not used to them can be more of a danger than a preventative.
4.  Keep them Hydrated. Horses need between 30 and 50 litres of water a day. Ensure the horse drinks adequately before travelling and stop every 4-6 hours on the trip to offer him water. It may also be worthwhile getting a vet to give a pre – and/or post-travel drench with electrolytes for long trips.
5.  Be ready for an emergency. Carry a basic first aid kit and keep the contact details of the local vet on hand.
6.  Monitor your horse for any signs of illness prior, during and after the trip. Signs such as a raised temperature, depression and inappetence may indicate a problem and a vet should be consulted prior to travel.

Tips 7 – 10 supplied by Mark Lotter, Assagay  Feeds

7.  Carry a spare head collar and lead rope, you will be grateful that you did!
8.  Don’t feed your horse an excess of concentrates before travelling. It is recommended that you don’t feed any grain at least one feeding before trucking or after delivery. We recommend that you feed horses a high roughage diet before and during the trip, especially over long distances, to ensure they have access to good quality hay.
9.  Make sure the hay net is tied high enough in the trailer so that the horse doesn’t get its leg tangled in the hay net
10.  Take an extra bucket and sponge to cool an overheated horse or clean any wounds

As they say… “you can take a horse to water but can’t make him drink” but you can make him thirsty and encourage water intake! Hydration is one of the biggest health issues to consider when travelling with horses

Get Insured! 

It is well worth getting insurance for your horse, if your horse is not already insured then it is highly recommended that you take out travel insurance for your trip. Sports Horse mortality insurance is the most common type of insurance purchased by horse owners. Mortality coverage is similar to human life insurance and is for the value of the horse, should it die. The policy will insure the horse for 100% of its insured value.

Lifesaving surgery insurance is another type of insurance to consider. Any surgery required to save the life of the horse is covered to a maximum value per event.

If your horse kicks or bites someone and you want to avoid paying high litigation costs, you may consider obtaining Public liability insurance. This type of insurance protects you should your horse cause damage or injury to a member of the public.

Contact Jodi Pieters at Kuda for more info on insurance for your horses.

5 Important Questions To Ask Each Time You Travel With Your Horse 

Offer yourself complete peace of mind when travelling by ensuring you have asked the transport company/driver these important questions. If you have your own horsebox then be sure to consider these questions every time you travel!

1 – Will your horse be comfortable and safe? Can the horse easily drop his head during the trip so that he can clear his respiratory system from unwanted waste? Being able to drop their neck and cough is important for a horse as trailers are dusty from the hay and the shavings or straw used to bed them. The air quality is poor under the best of circumstances as it is contaminated by noxious gases from urine and manure.

2 – Will there be regular breaks on a long-distance journey? A well rested and a hydrated horse is a happy horse! Ideally, you should pack one bag of hay for each horse on the trip. Water is also important to make sure that they will have fresh water available to give the horses at every rest stop. Regular breaks to rest the horses on long journeys is essential.

3 – Estimated Time of Departure and Arrival? Delays can, and do occur, but all parties involved should be informed as to when the horse will be leaving and what the anticipated arrival time/date will be. The driver should have a cell phone with your contact information as well as the contact information for the person at the location where they are picking the horse up as well as contact with at the delivery location.  Having an ETA  will ensure that your horse is safely unloaded and settled into his new stall or paddock upon arrival.

5 – What paperwork will you need?  Check your horse’s passport meets the requirements for travelling. Be sure to find out what other paperwork you will need in addition to his passport.


Looking for a reliable transport company?  


Choice Carriers is an equine transport company, founded by Peter Choice, a natural horseman who is a perfectionist in everything he does, and whose passion and hobbies, are horses & trucks. Based in Mooi River, in Kwa-Zulu Natal as well as Joostenbergvlakte, in the Western Cape. They have been offering transport services to customers since 2000, for over 17 years, always achieving an efficient, safe & reliable service. They have handpicked the staff to ensure that from receiving your phone call, or email, to picking up and delivering your horse/s, the utmost care and attention to detail, have been met satisfactorily by yourself.

All drivers, and grooms, are experienced horsemen who really care about your horse/s comfort and safety. The trucks and equipment are clean and well maintained, which guarantees the safety of drivers and grooms and most importantly your precious horse/s.

Polocrosse South Africa – Photo by Neville Bailey

They use Bains Equestrian in Bloemfontein, a well-recognized establishment, as a stop-over between major routes, for a few hours, allowing horse/s to feed, water and do what is natural.  Providing equine transport services for all sporting codes. Transport routes are between Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. They do however facilitate transport between smaller cities. You can rest assured that your horses will receive the best care while in the hands of CHOICE CARRIERS Transport. Whether one horse or more, they promise to deliver, a happy, healthy horse…

Choice Carriers – Head Office – KZN | 033 263 1188 | 033 263 1790 | Email:

Lastly… Don’t forget to pack the carrots

Thank you to CHOICE CARRIERS for sponsoring this article and a special thanks to Summerveld Equine Vets, Assagay Feeds and Kuda Insurance for their contributions to this article!


These articles are intended for general understanding and education. We encourage you to chat to the knowledgeable team at Assagay Feeds for more information on animal feed, medical products or any other queries you may have. Nothing contained in articles is or should be considered, or used as a substitute for, veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment; please always consult your vet.



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