Transport and care of horses
The transport of horses must be done carefully.
Horses that have not been trained for transport can be difficult and sometimes dangerous.
Transport vehicle requirements
Ensure that your vehicle (horse truck or float) is strong and secure enough to safely contain the horse and prevent escape – a rigid roof over the length of the crate is desirable.
- Internal surfaces of the float or truck should be smooth and free of obstructions or hazards that could cause injury (protruding nails and clips).
- Flooring of float or truck and loading ramps should be made of a non-slippery surface and if necessary be fitted with foot battens.
- Each horse should be able to stand in a natural position with adequate head room and enough space between horses for air circulation.
- Adjustable partition boards should always be used when transporting more than one horse – partitions should be at least 600mm high and placed at least 600mm off the floor.
- If you are moving your horse using a two horse trailer, a single horse should be tied on the driver's side and the centre partition removed for improved vehicle balance.
- If transporting two horses, the heavier horse should be penned on the driver's side.
- Ensure that the vehicle is not polluting the air inside the horse transport area.
- Ensure that the transport area is clean and dry.
- Correctly fit any protective equipment (rugs, knee or hock boots, bandages, hoods) before loading your horse.
Loading and unloading of horses
Headstalls and lead ropes are usually the easiest way of leading your horse into and out of a transport vehicle and securing them.
- Sticks, lengths of plastic, metal piping, heavy leather belts or straps, and any other objects must not be used to beat horses when loading and unloading them.
- Dogs or electric prods must never be used to aid the loading of horses.
During and after transporting
- Transporting over long distances – check your horse after 30 minutes in transit and then every 4 hours.
- When you arrive at your destination quietly enter your transport vehicle, untie your horse before lowering the ramp and allow it to move out of the transport vehicle at its own pace.
- Horses should be unloaded from the transport vehicle as soon as you reach your destination and offered food and water and a comfortable place to rest.
- If your horse appears stiff from travelling you should walk him or her around gently until movement improves.
Standards for the land transport of horses in Victoria are in the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock. Note that the above Standards and Guidelines have been adopted into Victorian legislation under the Livestock Management Act 2010. They are commonly referred to as the Land Transport Standards and they apply to horses.