Kat Heart asked in PetsHorses · 1 month ago

Tricks to prevent colic while trailering?

Trying to get my horse I’ve been working on to get used to trailering. He has a naturally queasy stomach when he gets nervous. Before I got him he wouldn’t trailer and was scared of traffic. Now he does well with traffic, and he will trailer but still stresses. While I start working on trailering is there anything, I can do to help ease his stomach and digestion? 

I had the vet check him out before and he’s 'normal' but has normally wet poop. which isn’t ideal but he’s healthy so... okay.

I can’t give him something daily and he is on pasture grass (and does well on it) and he’s got a creek for water (I don't have stalls, so I can't keep track of his intake, but I'm thinking about maybe blocking out a section in the barn with panels), but if there’s something that anyone would recommend that I can give him leading up to trailering or after. He’s never had issues but I would rather be cautious.  

I'm going to talk to my vet too, but I wanted to get others ideas too. I was thinking, apple juice in water, or electrolytes, or ProBio paste (I honestly don’t have a clue)? would something like that be helpful?

All my other horses trailer great and have strong stomachs so I’m in new territory here.


No diarrhea, just looser stool then what I would consider normal for a horse out of spring grass season, and no ulcers. 

He’s just a nervous horse and has had some trauma involving vehicles. I’m asking more about calming supplement brands and digestive supplement brands. And what others do for their horses when trailering (doesn’t just have to be for nervous stomachs). I like to get hands on experience recommendations on top of my vet recommendations, for ideas to keep in mind. 


Update 2:

Thanks for the suggestions about feeding in the trailer and all the behavior advice, but he trailers fine. He does fine loading and he does fine with traffic now. 

Just completely disregard my explication for the situation. I appreciate it but I’m not looking for behavior advice.

I’m asking about brands of things to have with me when I take him places in case I were to get worried about something such as colic or stress. And the most effective/appropriate time/method of giving it. 


5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Kat, your horse sounds like he has a nervous gut, just the way some people do when they are stressed or excited. The horse I just lost this past July (from what turned out to be liver cancer) was also like this, even when he was healthy. If I put him in the trailer to take him anywhere, the first thing he did was poop. And he would poop at shows and during lessons, too- it used to drive my trainer nuts, in fact, because he would poop in her arena, which has super nice footing. Giving the horse apple juice or electrolytes won't stop this from happening. Most of the calming supplements (those that are legal at shows, anyway) won't prevent this from happening either.

    If your horse is naturally a nervous type, then this may be the way he manifests stress- by developing a transient diarrhea that goes away when he relaxes. There's not much you can do to eliminate this problem. One thing that might help is to make sure the horse has hay in front of him at all times, especially while in the trailer. If you're going on a long trip, plan on stopping to offer him water every couple of hours. And don't keep him in the trailer for more than 6 hours on any one day. Once you get where you're going, unload him promptly and take him for a walk before you put him in his stall, so he can stretch his legs and get his bearings.

    Keep his routine as close to normal as possible while you're away from home. That means feeding at the same times you normally would, and making sure that he gets out and gets worked or whatever at the normal time. Horses are creatures of habit, just like people. They like routine, because it's familiar and it gives them a sense of security.

    If you want to keep medications around for first aid purposes or emergency use on the road, the most obvious choice for colic is Banamine. But make sure you know how to give this medication before you ask your vet for a prescription. Banamine must be given by injection- IV, NOT IM. Giving Banamine IM puts the horse at risk of developing life threatening infections at the injection site. You can also ask for a prescription for Acepromazine (or Ace, as it is commonly nicknamed), which is a tranquilizer.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I wouldn't worry about this at all.    You could try round of Bio-Sponge (from Platinum Performance) if it bothers you.   I have a mare that gets loose poops/butt squirts and it works great.   The vet says nothing is wrong with her and some horses are just this way.

    Your horse isn't colicking in the trailer.   He is pooping in the trailer.   That's a good thing. 

    Lots of horse owners will actually load their horse in the trailer if they think they may be colicking.    If the horse poops, problem solved.  If not, it's time to call the vet. 

  • Finley
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It's not easy to colic just due to trailering. If that were very common, then every horse that's taken off BLM land (Bureau of land management)...talking about the wild mustangs... they'd colic as soon as they were adopted and trailered to their new home.

    All horses will poop etc while trailering.

    What you can do to help your horse is exercise a lot, then trailer load. Make the trailer a relaxing place, a place to just stand inside out of the sun. You can give your horse carrots, and some treats while inside the trailer.

    Repeat that, and your horse may begin to think that the trailer is no big deal.

    Also, once your horse loads and unloads just fine, no problems, take him for short trailer rides. Take him to a nearby parking lot, but don't unload him, just come right back and unload him. Repeat.

    This way, you get him used to the idea of trailering and it becomes not scary at all.

    That will work better than any supplements.

  • Snezzy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    "Colic" is a catch-all term that usually refers to intestinal pain from any of various conditions.

    If you are getting loose stool, that's generally not colic, at least as I understand it. The colic symptoms I've seen include these:

    - Rolling, or attempting to roll, even when saddled.

    - Failure to produce manure even when put into the trailer.

    - High respiration rate.

    - Reaching to bite his side. "Mommy, my tummy hurts HERE."

    - Failure to drink water even when obviously needed.

    Those are not what you are describing.

    I think that what you are seeing is fright, in particular from the inability to see other horses. The suggestion that you feed the horse in the trailer without going anywhere is good. We use that method when training horses to accept trailering.

    It is important to make sure the trailer is secure when training a horse to accept the trailer. It should be attached to the towing vehicle or else firmly supported on blocks so that it will not move even if the horse has fits of fear or rage.

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  • Eva
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    By referring to a "queasy" stomach, do you mean that he gets diarrhea when he's nervous? Apple juice or electrolytes won't help that. Some horses never get over being nervous in the trailer, but there's a few things you can try. Feed him in the trailer without taking him anywhere. Take him for short trips. Try a calming supplement or paste before you travel. Did the vet check him for ulcers? There are medications and feeds that can help that.  Does he get upset that he's separated from your other horses when you travel?

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