Study: Sedation And Whip Use May Lead To Trailering Trouble

Trouble getting a horse on a trailer is common; it often takes time and patience to get a horse to the point where he will load and travel well. However, if the horse needs to get on a trailer and there isn’t multiple hours or days to work with him, there are quite a few tricks horse handlers can use, employing everything from feed to brooms to whips to sedation to get him in the trailer.

Nearly 14.5 percent of responders to an Italian study indicated that they had issues loading horses in their care onto trailers within the last two years. The 37-question, online survey was sent to people who were directly involved with the transportation of horses, either for recreational or professional purposes. The survey aimed to identify risk factors for problem behaviors and injuries.

The study team, made up of Drs. Francesca Dai, Martina Zappaterra, Michela Minero, Francesca Bocchini, Christopher Riley and Barbara Padalino, received 148 responses. The questions they asked related to the handler’s equine background, vehicles, practices and experience. They were also asked if horses they handled sustained transport injuries within the last two years.

The most common problem behaviors were related to fear and anxiety before loading, including kicking and refusing to get on the trailer, and loss of balance while in the trailer. They discovered that the probability of the horse displaying an issue were:

  • three times more likely if the driver didn’t check the brakes before hauling
  • five times more likely if the handler was female
  • five times more likely if the horse handler used a whip at loading
  • five times more likely if the vehicle wasn’t designed for horse protection and if the trailer didn’t have shavings as bedding
  • 13 times more likely if the animal was sedated,

Nearly 11.5 percent of respondents said that their horses had injuries directly related to transportation within the last two years. The researchers determined that sedation and coercive equipment, like using whips, were major risk factors for injuries. Though sedation may be helpful to get a horse on a trailer, it can affect the ability of a horse to balance once the trailer is in motion.

Horses were more likely to be injured during travel if the trailer brakes weren’t checked before transport, there was no padding on the chest bar and if there were no rubber mats on the floor. Horses that exhibited problem behaviors during loading and transport were more likely to be injured.

The study team concluded that transportation is a risk to the wellbeing of both the horse and the handler, and suggested that more research is needed.

Read the full study here.

Read more at HorseTalk.

The post Study: Sedation And Whip Use May Lead To Trailering Trouble appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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