Darling Downs Horse TransportDarling Downs Horse Transport

Horse-Care Protocols at Darling Downs Horse Transport

Many studies have been done in recent years into the effects of long distance/long duration transportation on horses and into the connection with so-called “travel sickness” in equines.

Some important findings have been uncovered and DDHT follows the recommendations outlined below.

DDHT also complies with the transportation guidelines published jointly by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the RSPCA. We are happy to provide a link to this lengthy information upon request.

Loading a horse on to the Darling Downs Horse Transport truckGeneral factors influencing horse welfare during transportation include;

  • Orientation (direction of travel);
  • Head posture;
  • General truck environment and humidity;
  • Dehydration;
  • Salmonellosis (enteritis and diarrhoea);
  • ‘Stress’ and general care and monitoring of horses by experienced transport staff.

Generally, horses travel with least stress when they can brace themselves against the direction of forces experienced during travel.

This is one of the main advantages of travelling in a large truck; the horses travel on a reverse angle, which enables them to keep their balance more easily and therefore reduces the stress they experience.

The bays on Darling Downs Horse Transport have full-length grilles on the stallion dividers for optimum safety, no square or sharp corners, no troughs, waterers or other potential hazards that might hinder them lowering their heads or pose a risk of injury and heavy duty rubber sheeting to minimise the risk of injury to legs, the sheeting is solid enough to keep the occupants fully segregated. The bays are fully size-adjustable to accommodate any equine.

Due to the outstanding safety of the bays, DDHT can allow horses the freedom to move their heads up and down, which studies have shown is the single largest physiological factor in reducing the incidence travel pneumonia, lung abscesses and pleuritis, commonly referred to as 'travel sickness'. Postural drainage of the airways is of critical importance to horses, especially so if travelling for long periods of time.

The internal truck environment is well-designed by a horseman; it has no sharp edges; excellent ventilation throughout the truck, including roof vents, louvres and higher ceilings to lessen a horse's natural tendency towards claustrophobia and the pathogens that thrive in a humid, ammonia-rich environment; a non-slip and shock-absorbing rubber floor; ramps with minimal incline and louvres placed so that the majority of horses have a clear view outside the truck. Darling Downs Horse Transport does not travel horses head-to-tail to avoid them inhaling urine and pathogens; they travel head to kerb and on a light bed of shavings to absorb ammonia and help keep the environment fresh and clean. The truck is meticulously maintained; being thoroughly cleaned before, during and after trips. The air-bag suspension minimises stress on horse's legs and makes the ride much more comfortable, thereby minimising general stress levels as well.

To minimise the risk of salmonellosis, dehydration and general stress factors, Darling Downs Horse Transport feeds only good quality roughage to horses in transit as recommended. All horses are unloaded, stabled, watered, fed hay and rested overnight during their journey. During the journey, horses are monitored carefully by our experienced staff via the CCTV. Our experienced staff monitor all the horses in their care closely to ensure they step off the truck at all stages of the journey looking bright and alert and well-hydrated. They are watched to be sure they are eating and drinking normally and not showing any signs of impending illness such as depression, inappetence, a soft cough or increased respiration rate or temperature. Veterinary attention is sought immediately if required and the owner contacted.

Darling Downs Horse Transport only employs experienced horse-handlers with a calm and confident approach. More than truck drivers, the staff are involved in horses in their own everyday lives and take that extra care in monitoring the health and well-being of the horses in their care. The studies have all concurred that this factor is the single most important practical element in safe transportation of horses.

Your horse's welfare is paramount to DDHT. DDHT understands your horses are your pride and joy, possibly your livelihood and that in the horse industry, reputation is everything and hard-won. Both are treated with the utmost respect… we stand by our service and our excellent reputation from eight years of operation. The difference is we care.


Darling Downs Horse Transport, Toowoomba Australia