Recently my friend, Claudia and I took our horses on a long 14 hour drive from Montana/Idaho to Arizona. It was our first time making a trip this far with horses and we learned lots of things that I wish I would have known or planned for before hand.
For all those first-timers traveling aways off with horses, hopefully by reading this, you'll get some insight and learn some valuable things.
First thing we really had an issue with was finding places to keep our horses at night during the travel to Arizona. While we tried doing some research before hand, we didn't have the best of luck finding much and we didn't want to pay and arm and a leg for fancy boarding and a lot of the towns along the way didn't have them period. We did bring panels, but also didn't want our horses to be in such a small space and not be able to stretch after sitting in the trailer for hours on end.
What quickly became our saving grace was "fairgrounds". Most rodeo/fair grounds have public stalls for people traveling with horses. Some of the places may require a reservation before hand and it could cost you around $20, but fairgrounds commonly have stock pens which work just as great as a horse stall - if not better. That's what we ended up resorting to.
Also buying locks to be able to lock your horse in a stall is a smart idea. That way there's no chance of them getting out or getting stolen.
Another thing that we didn't think much of until it was a problem, was water. Especially in Arizona where it's basically a valuable thing. One of the fairgrounds we stayed at in AZ didn't have workings spickets or really any public water for that matter. Thank goodness Claudia had large plastic water buckets and we ended up resorting to filling them up at lakes/creeks on our way to ride and hauling them back. Luckily the water didn't splash out too much! We even resorted to buying cases of water bottles for each of our horses and spent time dumping bottles of water out into the water buckets.
One thing I did make sure to research is water sources while out riding. I studied hard on my OnX map app and found creeks, springs, troughs, rivers, lakes, etc... anything that possibly had water in it and marked them so our horses would be able to hydrate during the day of riding.
Water is important! So make sure you prepare for whatever it takes to keep your horses hydrated.
Traveling long distances to go riding in the mountains shouldn't be taken lightly. Make sure you are doing as much research as you can before hand. Get some form of GPS and look at where you are going. Save downloadable maps for places with no service so you can still access the map and see the terrain/trails there might be.
With your online map, mark where the truck is and even track your ride incase you get turned around. Then you'll be able to know where you've been and follow your track back out.
Also while out riding, we rode with halters underneath our headstalls, as we tied up the horses and hiked a lot of the steeper/thicker terrain that wasn't suitable for horses. You should never tie a horse up by their headstalls and reins. ESPECIALLY for prolonged amounts of time.
Making sure you have plenty of water and food for both you and your horses is necessary. Have more than 1 spare tire and all the tools you need for the truck and trailer. Let others know where you are going as you never know what could happen. Carry some form of self defense weapon if possible. My friend and I both traveled with 9mm's and a 38 special.
Also be sure to have lots of equine first aid supplies and your horses health certificates and Coggins. You will more than likely be passing lots of "check points" passing from state to state that may require you to stop and have your livestock trailer checked.
It's always a learning lesson traveling far with horses. Hopefully this short blog gave you some form of information you otherwise wouldn't have thought of. And I am more than willing to answer any other questions you may have about traveling long distance or riding horses in the mountains in search of sheds.
Thanks for reading!