Top Tips for Travelling in the Dark with your Horse
Travelling in the dark with your horse can be difficult and dangerous. If you think that you might have to load or unload your horse into a trailer after dark, it pays to plan ahead!
Anticipating the Issues
Thinking ahead and making the appropriate checks could save you from a world of trouble. Before you attempt any journey at night, ensure that the lights on your trailer and towing vehicle are all working. Tell someone where you are heading and what time you expect to be back. Charge up your mobile phone and take it with you in case you need to summon assistance.
Nobody wants to think about breaking down at night but the worst can happen. You should arrange breakdown cover and equine rescue just in case you do get stuck. Keep a torch, spare batteries and a high viz jacket in your vehicle together with a high viz rug for your horse. Head torches are useful as they allow you to keep your hands free.
Shedding Light on the Subject
Horses can see better than people at night but they will still struggle in the dark. You can create a more comfortable and safe environment for your horse if you fit lights in the horse section of your trailer. Soft lights are the best choice and will mean that that streetlights and oncoming headlights do not affect your horse so much. Sudden flashes of light can be frightening and cause your horse to spook. Ambient lighting will reduce the likelihood of this happening.
If the inside of the trailer is illuminated in transit, your horse won’t suddenly be thrown into bright light when they are unloaded at your destination.
Organise your Gear
It can be extremely irritating if you have to scrabble around your vehicle looking for things in the dark. The lighting may be poor at your destination and you may not be able to do anything about it. Organise your things so you know where everything is and so that you can lay on hands on everything easily.
Choose Your Spot
Where you choose to load and unload could make all the difference. It is important to park in the safest possible place. That would be somewhere free of obstructions and with a surface on which your horse is unlikely to slip. They may be unsure on their feet after their journey. Try to find somewhere where there is good lighting and if that is not possible, use portable lighting. It will help your horse to negotiate the ramp if they can see exactly where they are putting their feet.
Adopting the Right Angle
A ramp set at a shallow angle will help tired horses to negotiate their way out of the vehicle. Choose a place to unload which is flat so that you can minimise the angle of the ramp.
When in Doubt, Ask!
If you are unsure about what you are going to find at your destination, make enquiries before you start your journey. If you know what you will be dealing with, you can take the equipment you need to overcome most of the issues.