Hey Y’all, today we have a super exciting Sunday article for you. We are going to be talking all about Rodeo, life on the road. I’m sure everyone who competes or loves rodeo has dreamed of traveling on the road full time…going from rodeo to rodeo, to rodeo…to rodeo! Sounds like the ultimate life, right? Well, this fun guide is going to teach you everything you want and need to know about rodeo life on the road. We are going to provide some helpful insights and great tips for making the most of life on the road for you and your horse.
So, whether you are only dreaming of rodeo life on the road right now or are currently preparing for life on the road, this article is going to be a helpful must-read for you!
Traveling full-time with your horse for rodeos
Traveling on the road with your horse can be very stressful, but with the right planning and correct mindset you can turn it into the experience of a lifetime! Today we are going to cover many aspects of travel, and before we begin, we are going to hear from an Equestrian Travel Agent who specializes in show season planning.
“Hey everyone, I have a few quick words of advice on making your show or rodeo season something you greatly look forward to instead of something that is almost a second job in itself. The first thing I always tell my clients who are planning on tackling their own show seasons is that you need to know exactly where you are going to be, what you need, what your budget per person is, look into discounts and frequent use programs, and make sure you have all of the paperwork you need in order and always remember that the earlier you book, the more you save.
Beyond that, have a plan for each show and stick to it as best as you can. During the planning and preparation for each show, I recommend sitting down and planning it all at once so that you can make sure that the whole season will go smoothly and as planned. This way, you can also add in extra activities, special events, fine dining opportunities, or have the time to go see something you always wanted to see or do something you always wanted to do in the spare moments plus have more time to save for what is important during your trip.
The last thing I want to recommend is to KNOW THE SHOW/ EVENT GROUND. Know the manager, where your horse will be stalled (if applicable) and where everything is going to happen. Creating a show binder filled with important information, maps, and even patterns if you need them is extremely helpful. You can even add folders for your horses paperwork, show numbers, extra pins and etc. This can be incredibly helpful for riders who attend large events or are at a facility with multiple show arenas and venue areas.” – Jamie Ridge, Owner of Ridgeway Equine Travel
If you are interested in having Jamie plan your show season, family vacation, business, or etc. travel please contact her at email@example.com for more information. Her services are FREE OF CHARGE!
Here are some of Rafter 3’s favorites for rodeo season:
Keeping your horse healthy, sound, and fit
One of the biggest questions I think many people have is “How do I keep my horse healthy, fit, and sound while traveling all of the time?”
Well, there are quite a few things that you can do. Here are some of our best ideas
For health and comfort:
1.Make sure that your truck and trailer are well cared for
This may seem simple or silly to stress on, but your horse’s comfort truly will depend on your truck and trailer, your set-up, and even your maintenance schedule. Ensure that your truck and trailer are properly cared for, and also make sure your trailer is as clean as possible. This is a great way to make sure your horse stays healthy. Just like you care for your horse’s stalls, go above and beyond that for the trailer. This is especially important if you are practically living out of your trailer.
Check out our book all about trailering, trailering problems, and even truck and trailer maintenance (insights from a heavy diesel mechanic who also specializes in diagnostics, welding, fabrication, and repair work of all kind.)
Also, never forget your pre trip inspections!
2.Keep your trailer well bedded
Keep your trailer spotless, sanitized, and well bedded. I personally like to clean trailers 1-2 times per day if possible, but no fewer than once every 24 hours. I also like to use a mixture of bleach and water to sanitize my trailers with in-between shows and deep cleanings. This also helps reduce the risk of picking up any “gunk” on the way home.
3.Keep up with consistent feed times when possible, use hay bags, and keep up with supplements using advanced planning
Your horses digestive system is under the most stress when traveling or at shows, if you are constantly on the road and competing. This means that you need to be extra cautious of your horses digestive system. The equine digestive system is extremely different than ours, and needs to be treated with care and caution. Make sure you are feeding your horse the right food, keeping hay in front of them as often as possible, making sure they are drinking plenty of water, and are balanced with a proper and effective diet. You may also need to use added supplementation to support your horses gut system, especially their hind gut. Horses can be prone to developing ulcers and leaky gut as well as hind gut issues when on the road.
Another way I pre plan meals on the road for my horses and even while at the shows is with either garbage bags, food storage bins, or even plastic baggies for supplement and feed sorting. You can mark on the baggies and bins what dates and feeding times are for each baggie pack or whatever your routine may be.
Keeping your horse fit on the road:
For keeping your horse fit you will want to make sure that you are optimizing and making the most out of every single ride and training session. There also may be times where you can plan in advance to stay at certain facilities, or even extend your stays after events (if possible) that will allow you to increase training sessions and conditioning. Make sure that you don’t over do it with your horse as their joints and bodies are under a great deal of stress during transportation, but make sure they are staying fit and conditioned. Being fit will also protect them from injuries in the future.
Staying in shape for barrel racing/ rider conditioning
Staying in shape is more important for barrel racers than for most other equestrian sports competitors. Because of the nature of barrel racing, your body is put to the test, as is your horses. What many riders unfortunately fail to understand is that no matter what your body shape is, you need to be fit, because it affects your horse. If your body is off position by even a slight amount, that greatly affects your horse. You may not even realize that this is happening, and it can cause a plethora of issues with your horse from ducking, tipping barrels, lacking speed, inability to rate properly, and inconsistencies around the barrel. (I could include a laundry list of potential issues that riders can cause, but these are some of the main ones.)
If you do not work with a personal trainer, I suggest you use one, but you definitely do not need one. Using free resources like youtube.com to find great workouts without equipment for while you are the road is an excellent way to stay fit. Many times there are a lot of personal trainers and even equestrian specialists in the training field who post free videos or low-paid workout.
Tips for traveling with horses
In this section I am going to break down great tips for traveling with horses. I am going to break it down into two sections. The first section will be for those who have their own trailers and the second section will be for those who will need to have someone else transport their horse.
Horse trailer owners:
For those of you who are fortunate enough to have your own set of wheels for your horse, there are a couple things I would love to share with you. I have been using horse trailers since before I could walk, so I have experienced just about every situation you can imagine (Seriously, both good and bad…)
Here are my best tips:
#1-If you are using your motorhome to haul your trailer, please make sure that your motorhome is set up to be capable of safely towing that amount of weight. Some motorhomes may be capable of doing it, but not safely, due to where the wheelbase is.
“The wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axle, and the longer it is, the safer the vehicle is for towing. If the rear axel is too close, there can be issues with the front end lifting up because of the added weight to the rear. A longer wheelbase will make towing safer and easier on your car.”- Palmengm.com
#2-Stop frequently and check on your horse. Make sure they have plenty of water and are comfortable. If you are using wraps and other stuff on your horses you can check to make sure everything is still on properly. It is important to be extra cautious when using wraps while transporting a horse, always double or triple check to make sure they are put on right! You don’t want a horse having a wrap come partially undone and have them kick through a partition or through the side of the trailer itself. (Both of which were stories my mother told me about when I was a child to stress the importance of properly putting wraps on. They are true stories she witnessed with her own eyes, seriously, be careful.) None of this is meant to scare you from using protective hauling wraps, I love them, just be careful and also make sure that your horse is use to them!
#3-Use defensive driving and stack out of the pack of vehicles. My husband is a race car driver, heavy-duty diesel mechanic and welder/ fabricator. He has years and years of driving big rigs, hauling trailers, and so many other things. When we were writing the book (insert name) I asked him very seriously, what is the best advice you have for someone just learning to drive a truck and trailer or even an experienced driver looking to gain more wisdom? He told me that his best advice is to always be thinking about your trailer and that you need to be watching what other people are doing around you. Stay out of the back and always be planning an exit strategy. People are not paying attention like they should, so you need to be that much more cautious.
Finding reliable horse transportation can be an extremely daunting task. There are loads of horror stories out there regarding the condition of horses when they get off the trailer, and I have seen my fair share of trailer horror stories myself. One of the most important things you need to consider when using an equine transporter or hauler is:
- Are they legal?
- Are they trustworthy?
- What is their reputation like?
Do your due diligence on each transportation company or individual and make sure your horse is in good hands.
Rafter 3 Horse Developments recommendation for horse transportation: Vortex Equine Transportation LLC.
They currently sponsor the famous dressage trainer, Jessica Howington, and have the trust of many of the show jumping and dressage communities elite trainers. They offer private charter and route-trip services in full customizable, meticulously maintained trailers. The other thing that I love about Vortex is that they care more about your horses than anything in the world and the only people who handle your horses are experienced horsemen who have over 20 years of experience in various aspects of the horse industry.
Another option is to talk with your trainer about transporting your horse. They may be able to take your horse in the barn show trailer or have a personal suggestion. Just be sure to check reviews, and always proceed with caution.
Trailer and truck maintenance
When it comes to necessities on the road, truck and trailer maintenance is number one. If you don’t care for your equipment, how in the world do you expect it to pay you back and care for you? Do not take a gamble on your maintenance and stay up to date with everything. Before winter, ensure that you properly winterize your trailer to make sure its in the best condition it can be for the next season. If you want to learn more about truck and trailer maintenance, we have a book available on Amazon that covers everything you need to know…in extreme depth. If you have questions, feel free to reach out! We are happy to answer them. Rafter3horsedevelopment.com, we will respond as quickly as possible.
Interview with barrel racer on the road
Our head trainer, Makala Nerio was able to interview a few barrel racers at last year’s Pecos Rodeo! She spoke with a few ladies who rode barrels for fun and some who did it professionally, here are our two videos with interviews from the Pecos rodeo, and some fun barrel tips and runs as well!
Final thoughts on rodeo life on the road
Well, we hope that this article was extremely informative and helpful for you! Rodeo life on the road can truly be a dream, especially is you plan smart and plan wise. Let us know in the comments below what your thoughts are about planning for rodeo season and barrel racing! Have a great day everyone, and we will see you next time. Make sure you sign up for email updates to never miss another update from us! We have some pretty amazing things planned in the near future, and you are going to want to stay up to date! Take care and God bless you all.
Rafter 3 Horse Development
Check out our brand new Farrier book! This book covers everything you want to know as a horse owner. Written by a well-educated trainer alongside a certified farrier, it gives you a unique insight from both a farrier and trainer. You don’t want to miss out on this one, it’s available on Amazon HERE! Order yours today!
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