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March 2024

How to Travel with a Horse: 9 Tips for a Stress-Free Journey


Traveling with your horse is a necessary aspect of competing and other equestrian pursuits – and it doesn’t need to be stressful! From what you should bring, to how frequently you should stop and what health precautions you need to take – here are our top tips for a safe and fuss-free journey with your horse.

How To Travel With A Horse In Australia

Traveling with a horse in Australia requires careful planning and preparation. Follow these steps to make your journey safe and stress-free:

1. Pack the Essentials

Packing is an essential aspect of any journey – so it’s no surprise that travelling with your horse starts with getting all the gear together. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’ve got all the goods.

Horse Travel Checklist

✓ Water (enough for the journey) and buckets (collapsible buckets are best if space is an issue)

✓ Horse feed and hay (pack enough for the journey, plus extra to factor in delays) and a feed tub

✓ Horse First Aid Kit (ensure you have bandages, antiseptics and wound care products)

✓ Leg protection (provide extra protection for your horse's legs with travel boots or wraps)

✓ Halter and Lead Rope

✓Fly sheet, fly mask and insect repellent (more so for summer and warm-weather travel)

✓ Waterproof rugs, or rugs appropriate for the season

✓ Hose, connectors, joiners

✓ Shovel, poop scoop and poop cart or tub

✓ Shavings for the float floor

✓ Documents (such as health certificates and permits) to comply with legal requirements if you’re entering a state with restrictions – these vary state to state and it’s advised to check government websites for up-to-date information.

2. Check Your Transport

Selecting the appropriate mode of transportation for your horse is crucial. Whether you opt for a horse truck, horse float, or horse transport service, ensure that the vehicle is well-maintained and equipped for your horse's comfort. Make sure there's enough ventilation, space, and support to keep your horse at ease during the journey.

Transport Vehicle Requirements for Horses
✓ Ensure internal surfaces are smooth and free of injury-causing hazards such as protruding nails or clips.

✓The floor and loading ramps should be made from a non-slip surface, and foot battens must be fitted if required. The flooring should be inspected thoroughly for wear and tear as well.

✓ Ensure your horse can stand comfortably in a natural position, with plenty of space for their head.

✓ If travelling with more than one horse, horses should be separated by a patrician and sufficient space must be between each horse to allow for air flow.

✓ Ensure that the vehicle is not polluting the air inside the horse transport area.

✓Check for any weaknesses and rust at weld sites.

✓ Make sure your tyres (and spare tyres) are in good condition.

3. Plan Your Route

Plan your travel route in advance and consider the distance, road conditions, and potential rest stops. Choose routes that offer suitable facilities for horses, such as rest areas with water and shaded areas. Avoid busy or congested roads to minimise stress for both you and your horse.

Hot Tip

When travelling over long distances, allow your horse a break every 4 hours. You should allow your horse to leave the transport, walk around and graze.

4. Book Horse-Friendly Accommodation

If you need to make an overnight stop, you need accommodations that cater to horses. Many equestrian centres, horse-friendly motels, and farms offer stabling facilities for traveling horses. Call ahead to ensure availability and book in advance to secure a comfortable resting place for your horse.

5. Get Your Paperwork in Order

Avoid any legal complications during your journey by making sure you’ve got all the required permits. Regulations depend on where you are and where you’re going.

Do I Need Documentation When Travelling with my Horse in Australia?

Before moving horses within most states in Australia, you will need to:

✓ Register your property with a property identification code.

✓ Complete an online waybill or obtain a travel permit (particularly if horses will be moving between cattle tick zones).

For the most up-to-date rules and regulations, check with your government department.

6. Take Health and Safety Precautions

Prioritise your horse's health and safety: ensure your horse is up to date with their vaccinations, parasite prevention, and any required health checks. For longer journeys, it’s a good idea to work out where equine vets are along your route should they be required. If your horse hasn’t travelled before, it’s recommended to practice loading them in and out of the horse transport vehicle to get them use to this prior to a journey.

7. Don’t Forget About Food and Water

Provide ample access to clean water throughout the journey to keep your horse hydrated. Pack enough hay and feed to last the trip and ensure you have extra to account for any unexpected delays. Monitor your horse's intake during the trip (be sure to prevent them from over-feeding as this can cause digestion issues and airway blockages) and offer rest breaks to allow for grazing.

Hot Tip

Ensure your horse has a substantial meal prior to travelling. This will mitigate the risk of stomach acids accumulating which can have adverse effects.

8. Wrap Them Up!

Protective travel boots, wraps or bandages provide extra support to their legs. Horses can do themselves damage by kicking or tangling their legs together – so it’s a good idea to prevent this. You can also use a tail bandage or guard to protect their tail.

Hot Tip

Be mindful that horses easily overheat in transport – do not over-rug during travelling.

9. Monitor Them During the Journey

Regularly check on your horse during stops to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed. Look for signs of distress, such as excessive sweating, rapid breathing, or restlessness. Adjust ventilation and temperature as needed to maintain a comfortable environment.

Hot Tip

There are a wide range of supplements available which can help prevent stress during travelling.


Can I travel with my horse without any documentation?

It depends on the state you’re in, the sate you’re going to – and where you’ll be crossing over to get between the two. In some cases, you can travel without any documentation – while in others (the WA border for instance is restricted) you will need proper paperwork. It’s advisable to look up the state requirements for your destination prior to long distance travel to ensure you’ll compliant with restrictions.

How often should I offer water to my horse during the journey?

Offer water every 4 hours to ensure your horse stays adequately hydrated.

Can I transport my horse in any type of trailer?

While different floats or trucks are available, choose one specifically designed for horses to ensure their safety and comfort during travel.

What should I do if my horse shows signs of stress during the journey?

Find a safe place to stop, assess the situation, and provide your horse with a chance to rest. Offer water and monitor their condition before continuing.

Are there specific rest areas for horses along Australian highways?

Some rest areas cater to travellers with horses, offering facilities such as water and tie-up points. Plan your route to include these horse-friendly stops.

Is it necessary to book accommodations for my horse in advance?

Yes, it's advisable to book accommodations with stabling facilities in advance to ensure a comfortable stay for your horse.


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