Roberta Sheffield: How to travel your horses in comfort

Roberta Sheffield: How to travel your horses in comfort

The following blog post was written by one of our fantastic brand ambassadors Roberta Sheffield, Canadian Para-Equestrian Paralympic Team member and dressage rider.


We all want to make our horses’ travelling experiences as comfortable and safe as possible. This means we often choose to use a small amount of bedding in our vehicles. And there are many choices of bedding on the market, some more suitable for horseboxes and trailers than others.

First of all, there are many advantages to putting a little bedding material in the horse area. Bedding helps to make the horse feel more at home so can be useful with sticky loaders or anxious travellers. It helps the vehicle smell and feel like home. In extreme cases, it can be useful to spread a little bedding on the ramp to encourage the horse to consider it a safe place to tread.

For many horses, bedding encourages them to poop and pee rather than holding it in. I have had instances in the past when my horse has felt uncharacteristically tight and stressy at a competition, only for them to relieve themselves and then feel back to their usual happy selves. Access to a familiar bed can often help the horses take that timely comfort break. 

Hygiene in the vehicle is very important. Dust and mould can be trapped in a confined airspace with your horse, forcing them to breathe in these harmful pathogens. Old musty bedding even for short trip can have a serious harmful effect on the lungs and general health. Putting in a small amount of fresh bedding every time the vehicle is used and cleaning out completely after each trip is the gold standard. An absorbent bedding material like Best Animal Bedding’s finely chopped cardboard makes cleaning out easier afterwards as it mops up the wet and traps ammonia smells and it is virtually dust free.

The disadvantages of substandard bedding choices in a vehicle are many. The wrong bedding or no bedding can make the floor slippery. Unabsorbed puddles of urine, slimey wet straw or marble-like dry wood pellets can cause horses to lose their balance. Whatever bedding I chose to use, I like to put a little under the back feet, and the belly of the male horses, only so that the front feet are straight onto the rubber matting for extra grip. With a non-slip bedding such as Best Animal Bedding, this is less important than it historically has been with old fashioned materials.

It pays to use a lightweight bedding as the heavier the load the more fuel you’ll use during the journey. Some beddings especially if they aren’t cleaned out each time, can weigh a considerable amount. They become packed down solid under the hind feet incredible quickly. Chopped cardboard is lightweight without blowing about creating a messy snow effect each time you drop the ramp, shavings I’m looking at you!

If you are often travelling your horses to competitions and training outings then appearance is definitely a thing! There’s nothing more soul destroying than getting up crazy early to make your horse clean and shiny, creating beautiful braids and then them being covered in a dusty film and having a tail full of manky bed by the time you get to the show. The right choice of bedding can stop this horror story, and save you time at your destination.

Best Animal bedding is virtually dust free, lightweight, highly adsorbent, non-slip, doesn’t leave a dust on the horse and is easily brushed out of their tails making it the perfect choice for your horse’s comfort in the horsebox or trailer.

Reading next

Roberta Sheffield: Tips for box resting your horse