Camping with your Horse

Shannon Gohr, CVT

Camping with your horse can be similar to camping with a 3 year old child who demands constant attention! As long as things go smoothly, camping with your horse is a lot of fun and very enjoyable. In this blog, we will discuss some tips to keep in mind when preparing to go camping with your horses.

  • When starting to plan your camping trip, research the location you are going to. Check into and read through any requirements and regulations for the area. For example, some places will require a trail pass to ride on the trails; occasionally passes can take time to be completed.
  • Prior to leaving on your trip, research the veterinarians in your destination area and record their phone number in case of an emergency. Create a first aid kit that includes bute and/or Banamine® paste (Banamine® can be liquid but it MUST go orally, NEVER intramuscularly), triple antibiotic ointment, a basic wound care spray (for example: AluSpray®) for minor cuts and scrapes, thermometer, and bandage material (cotton, brown gauze and vet wrap) for deeper wounds.
  • Getting the trailer packed can be a treacherous task. Be sure to pack plenty of hay for the entire trip; generally a half bale of hay per day per horse is sufficient but base the amount of hay off of what your horse typically eats. Don’t forget your horse’s grain. Try to keep as normal of a routine during camping as you do at home. Some horses can be very picky about the water offered to them while away from home; by bringing water from home, it may ensure they stay adequately hydrated.
  • Decide how you will stable your horses on the camping trip. Check with the location you will be staying at; some places offer paddocks for the horses, some do not. Some places do not allow paneling for paddocks to be brought in either, so always double check the rules and regulations before leaving home.

–  Another common way of stabling your horse is to bring along a tie line; these lines need to be secured between two large trees that can withstand tension. Tie rings are then secured in the line to tether your horse with. Hay bags are ideal for this type of stabling; however, do not attach the hay bag directly to the tie ring your horse is tied to. Attach a separate ring specifically for the hay bag. The reasoning for this is because if a horse spooks at something and breaks the tie line, the hay bag is essentially attached to the horse when the same ring is used for both. The ring will fall to the ground with the hay bag and the lead rope, which can scare the horse further and cause him/her to start running. Ultimately, the hay bag is “chasing” the horse which causes an even larger reaction.

Camping 1

  • For all those unspeakable incidents we hope never happen, it is very helpful to bring along a spare halter, lead rope, saddle pad, cinch, bridle, and leather straps (just to name a few). It is important to try and be prepared as possible if the worst is to happen.

Most importantly, enjoy your camping trip. Enjoy the time away and the time spent with your horse and friends!


Plant Week

University of Minnesota Extension

Day One: Waterhemlock

Waterhemlock Flower Identification: Can be two to seven feet tall, with hollow stems that are branched at the top. White flowers that are borne in umbrella shaped clusters called umbles. The roots produce a yellowish fragrant oil when cut. Leaves are toothed edges and grasps the stock like celery bunch.

Habitat: Swamps, lowlands, and along water edges

Signs and Effects: Animals are commonly found dead after ingestion of the roots. In observed cases horses showed anxiety and facial muscle twitching, seizures, and teeth grinding.

Treatment: Animals that ingest the root and survive for eight hours after the onset of clinical signs are more likely to survive. There is no specific treatment for the ingestion of Waterhemlock.

Day Two: Foxtail

FoxtailIdentification: The seed heads look like a bottle brush and are green or light green in color.

Habitat: Found in recently disturbed soils and sandy areas. They can be found in pastures and hay fields after periods of drought or new seeding.

Signs and Effects: Horses that ingest the seed heads may delevope blisters or ulcers on the lips and mouth from the microscopic barbs embedding into the soft tissue. The horses may develop weight loss due to gastrointestinal tract being damaged is large amount is ingested.

Treatment: Removal of the plant and supportive of the blisters or ulcers such as rinsing with water.

Day Three: Field Horsetail

Field Horse TailIdentification: Hollow, wiry, jointed stems, whorled leaves. No flowers are produced; instead a cone like structure is at the top.

: Found in moist to wet soil, usually sandy or gravely in texture.

Signs and Effects: Horses develop depression, constipation, and unsteady gait usually one to two days after ingestion. Clinical signs progress to twitching, going down, paddling, and seizing for a period of a week or more.
Treatment: Thiamine is given for up to five days.

Day Four: Hoary Alyssum

hoary_alyssum1Identification: Stems are grey-green, hairy, one to three feet tall, with many branches near the top. Flowers are white with four deeply divided petals. Seed pods are hairy, oblong and appear to be swollen with a point on the end.

Habitat: Meadows, pastures, and is a common weed in hay fields. It is also adaptable to dry conditions on sandy or gravely soil.

Signs and Effects: Clinical signs are usually noticed 12-24 hours after ingestion. Signs include edematous, swelling of the lower legs, fever of 103F or higher, warm hooves, pronounced digital pulse, stiffness of joints, reluctant to move, “camped out” stance, and very rarely death.

Treatment: Clinical signs usually resolve after two to four days with supportive treatment following removal of the weed source. It may take horses longer before returning to athletic performance.

To get the complete book of poisonous or harmful to horses in the North Central United States you can visit the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Trail Riding Information

By: Ingrid Borkoski, DVM

photoHORSE PASS – (Minnesota State Land) In the State of Minnesota any person, 16 years and older, must obtain a HORSE PASS if riding or driving on DNR state land.  This includes many of the parks enjoyed throughout Minnesota.  Each person needs to have their own signed pass (not each horse) and it must be available for inspection if approached by DNR personnel while on the trail.  Daily ($6) or annual ($21) are available for purchase.  The annual passes are valid for the calendar year, January 1-December 31.  Trail passes may be purchased from DNR authorized vendors (i.e. those that sell fishing licenses), by phone, online or some parks have self-registration on site.  More information can be found at

County parks may also require that each individual obtain a horse pass (separate from the Field 2State of Minnesota Horse Pass). Check the county website in which you wish to ride before heading out. Hennipen County/Three Rivers Park District is one example.  Find more information at .

COGGINS TEST – A negative Coggins test (Equine Infectious Anemia) is required to travel across state lines and at many horse shows.  Some states the test must be within 12 months, others within 6 months or within the calendar year (WI).  Check your destination states requirements before traveling.

HEALTH CERTIFICATE – A certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) is required if you are traveling out of state.  The certificate attests that the horse exhibits no obvious signs of contagious disease on the day of inspection.  In addition some states require permit numbers (no extra cost) on the CVI or additional testing of diseases such as Piroplasmosis.  Each state has different requirements that may change at any time so please check with our office for up to date information.

It is recommended to schedule your health certificate exam no more then two weeks prior to you leaving.  Health Certificates are good for up to 30 days after they are issued.

If you are traveling to Wisconsin from Minnesota a CVI is not required if:

  1. Ownership does not change
  2. The horse remains in the state for no more than 7 days
  3. The animal has a negative EIA (coggins) test from the current calendar year