WHETHER you’re getting your thoroughbred to Fairyhouse or Aintree and whether it’s lorries, flights or ferries, travelling can take it out of our horses. Horse Sense called on champion trainer Louisa Carberry to get some good travel tips for arriving in winning form.

“Having spent 25 years putting four travel boots on, plus tail bandages, tail guards and a rug, nowadays, unless it’s really hot, I just go for two small front boots plus overreach boots. The horses travel well and in seven years of training I’ve not had a rubbed tail yet.

Docteur De Ballon got four bandages with a large gamgee underneath, placed from above the knee down to the fetlock and on his hind legs, high above the hock and down. He’s a very bad kicker in the lorry – the fitter he is the more violently he kicks!

“Boots just annoyed him even more and tended to move too. If he travelled with no protection above the hock, he cut his hocks or ‘caps them’ so we went to a lot of trouble to avoid that.

“With the racehorses I find they quickly get hot, so unless it’s below about five degrees they travel stripped. Under five degrees they have a thin cooler rug. If there are two in the box, I’ll maybe even travel them stripped, as the combined heat makes them sweat. The last thing we want is a dehydrated horse on arrival.

Water bottle

“All mine travel with a hay net going racing, some eat, some don’t, but it helps keep ulcers away. I only allow hay nets a couple of hours after a race on the way home. We have had a horse with choke who was fed too soon which can be frightening and leave its mark on the horse. If it’s a really long trip, I’ll try and give them plenty of carrots or apples to keep them hydrated, they often won’t drink travelling but this helps. A sports water bottle is good to squeeze directly into their mouth too.

“All mine are allowed to drink on arrival and pee straight away before anything else is done. If they are travelling for an extended period, and it’s possible to find a safe enclosed place to do it, a quick leg stretch and to get their head down to eat, helps drain mucus and encourage them to urinate, which might prevent problems further down the line.

I think less can be more when travelling.”