By Hayley Kruger
Boxing already has a degree of risk involved, so as responsible horse owners we should make every effort to make the process as safe as possible. Things to look out for include:
- Making sure that there are no sharp edges in or around the trailer: The trailer should be free of sharp edges inside, around the doors and frames, and around the ramp.
- Horse-friendly bars: The bars at the back of the box need to be easy to use for the handler (to avoid pinching or getting stuck) and need to support the horse should he lean on them while travelling.
- Partitioning: The partition in the box should be able to move from the centre to the side when loading/unloading and should be made of strong and supportive material.
- Safe doors and ramps: Ensure the doors and ramps of the box are in proper working condition, and that they are secure.
- Try to make the box as light and airy as possible: the horse will find comfort if he can see more easily what he is getting himself into.
- Safety equipment: Try to cover the horse’s legs with boots that he’s comfortable with. Horses are likely to do something more drastic when they cannot feel their legs properly. If your horse is comfortable with boxing boots, use them. If he’s more comfortable with medicine boots, then use those. Some horses do not like having thick boots or tail bandages on, so identify how your horse is most comfortable to travel. A poll guard is a good idea to protect his head; however, some horses do not like things on their heads or feel claustrophobic, and are likely to shake their heads more with a poll guard. So in that instance, it is probably best he travels without it.
- Peace when loading and unloading: Try to load and unload in a quiet area with as few people as possible interfering.
- Sensible parking: Park your box on level, sturdy ground with plenty of space around.
- Remain calm and confident throughout the process: your horse needs to be able to trust you.