Rest and Recovery Breaks During Transport
We make every effort to stop for at least 15-20 minutes each time we refuel (about every 250-300 miles) so that the equine(s) being transported can have a break from having to balance, stabilize, or re-adjust positions and just relax, allowing their muscles some time to recuperate, as well as time to eat and drink since some equines refuse to do so while the trailer is moving. Whenever possible, we will not leave the trailer unattended for any longer than is necessary for the driver to take a break, get snacks or a meal-to-go, and pay for fuel. If the trailer must be left unattended, the doors of the trailer are secured and locked for the safety of the equine(s) on-board.
In order to maintain our "legal" status and compliance with USDOT and FMCSA regulations, we can only drive for 10-hours or up to 12-hours if we are delayed due to unforeseen circumstances such as a traffic or weather related issue. Layovers are required for any transport that is estimated to be longer than 10-hours total, including breaks for fuel, however if the transport is going to be substantially longer than 8-hours (using GoogleMaps) we reserve the right to layover and continue the transport the following day. Even though the map shows the travel time as 8-hours, we always add at least 2-hours to that to account for breaks and unforeseen delays with traffic.
The decision to layover will be made based on the duration of the transport, any unforeseen delays (traffic backups, accidents, mechanical issues, detour, etc.), the overall health and well-being of the equine(s), and the physical ability of the driver(s). If we need to layover during the transport, the chosen locations will either be owned or operated by close friends/relatives, highly recommended by people we know personally and value their opinions, or those we have thoroughly researched and referenced with local veterinarians and equine professionals. Our priorities when selecting locations for layovers are safety, barn/stall construction, sanitation, accessibility for large transport rigs, security, and amenities for both equines and humans. If possible, we prefer to stay at the layover location, in the sleeping quarters of our trailer or in on-site lodging accommodations, which affords us the ability to check on the equines in our care throughout the night. Layovers allow the equines time to truly rest, lay down, move around, stretch, eat and drink to physically and mentally recharge so they are relaxed and ready for the next leg of the transport. If we are aware of certain issues or concerns prior to the transport, such as a transport duration close to the 10-hour time frame or an equine with a pre-existing injury or medical condition, will consult with the client about their preference for either a layover or driving point to point and we will make a decision that is best for the equine while still trying to respect the client's input and maintaining compliance within the regulations that we must obey.
Images: Some of our preferred layover facilities