Contributed by: Valerie Mellema
As my mare Abra Joy nears the end of her pregnancy, we will soon need to be hauling her to the next stallion after the foal is born. The stallion, however, is in Louisiana, so we will be needing to haul mare and foal together about 7 hours away. Many people also need to haul to shows, inspections or to the vet.
There are a few different options for hauling mare and foal together depending on the type of trailer you have. The key, however, is that you are able to remove the dividers on the trailer to create a box stall.
Fortunately, on my two-horse trailer, I have the option of removing the divider and making one large stall. My trailer is Warmblood style to accommodate my tall Thoroughbred and is a bit wider than most two-horse trailers as well. Saying that, if you have a two-horse and you can remove the divider, then that will work perfectly.
If you have a larger trailer, either bumper pull or gooseneck, you have a couple of options as well. One is to remove a divider and then close the second divider to make the large stall. However, on some trailers you’ll have an issue of the space between the divider and the floor. One solution to this is to use the stallion divider that many goosenecks come with. These are solid dividers and work perfectly to create the box stall you need for hauling a foal. Another option is to put on your carpenter hat and install a piece of plywood to create your own solid divider.
To Tie or Not to Tie
Foals should never be tied in a trailer. They are simply too young and untrained. They should be allowed to move freely and lie down if they want or stand to nurse. However, it’s up to you and the disposition of your mare as to whether or not she should be tied. Many broodmares spend their lives out to pasture and they don’t have to deal with things like tying and hauling on a regular basis. Because of this they can be a bit nervous when it comes to hauling and tying in a trailer. If your hauling a mare that you don’t know or is unreliable, the safest bet is to leave her untied. Both mare and foal should have sturdy halters on however.
If your mare is an old hand at all this hauling and tying business, then you may want to tie her just to provide yourself some stability while hauling. Tying will keep her in one place and not moving around too much in your trailer. This also ensures she won’t accidentally hurt the foal if she were to lose her balance while moving around. But again, tying is really personal preference here and do what you think is best based on the mare.
Bedding & Hay
Foals will make most of the trip lying down, so it’s important that they have ample bedding either straw or shavings for them to lie down on and to prevent them from slipping on manure.
The mare should have a hay net tied high enough for her to reach and safely out of the foal’s way. If you have a large trailer, you may choose to put the hay on the ground and not use a hay net at all, assuming the mare can reach the hay with no problems.
Before loading, be sure that the interior of the trailer is safe with no sharp edges or anything that the foal could hurt itself on. Do not wrap the mare’s legs, as it could be very dangerous for both mare and foal if they were to come loose.
If you’re hauling a long distance, stop every one to two hours to check on them and offer water to the mare and give the foal a chance to nurse if he wants to.
If you have experience hauling mares and foals, feel free to share your tips and suggestions!
Valerie Mellema is the Founder of Gray Horse Publishing and Marketing. You can follow her on Facebook or her Blog. She also has books on popular topics, such as lameness in horses, horse care, and more. Her portfolio is also available at www.grayhorsepublishing.com.
Valerie Mellema has been published on a variety of equine websites, but has also authored several published and self-published titles. She has also been published in The Score, the National Team Roping Horse Association’s membership magazine.
Valerie has been an avid horsewoman since she was a young girl. She began riding Western at the age of 5 and later moved on to training young horses as a teenager and through college.