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Cooling down trailer - ice plus shavings?

Has anyone tried adding ice to shavings in the horse trailer and does it actually cool down the temperature? Someone suggested it on Facebook as a way to keep your trailer cool. I was wondering if it would work just as well in a stall except you would be adding extra moisture to the stall. Has anyone experimented to see if it actually helps? I’m wondering if it will melt so quickly it won’t do much of anything.

Rather than add ice to shavings, I’d look at installing fans. My trailer is designed with windows in the nose that open (both sides) and there is a window in the bulkhead that separates the horse compartment from the tack area. Opening all three windows allows a strong breeze to pass through the trailer, over the horses, and out the back windows. The downside, of course, that if one is stopped in traffic there is no breeze. Fans would prevent that.


I agree that fans would be a better way to go. Because cold air falls, ice on the trailer floor would quickly become water without providing any real relief. Another option would be to haul your horse is ice therapy boots. That would keep them cool.

Actually we do ice-in-sawdust bedding in our trailer for long hauls in hot weather. Trailer has stock side slats, so there is a lot of air moving thru. But if air is hot, like a 90F or above day, breeze is not cooling the horses while passing over them. And like in the old days, ice packed in sawdust (ice house storage) does not melt much, despite heated outside temps. Sawdust might get a bit damp, but has never been soaking wet in 12 hours or more of hauling. Ice is still chunky the next day when we clean the trailer!

We put several inches of sawdust bedding down, mix in a couple 25#bags of ice cubes with the sawdust, more ice where hooves will be standing. Sawdust layer on top of ice cubes. Then load the horse. You can always stop at a store and add more ice if you feel it is needed.

Horse standing on cold sawdust cools entire body thru their cold hooves. As body stays cooler during travel, so horse arrives at destination relaxed and perky. Not hot and tired. Unexpected road delays can add a LOT of time in the trailer, so having the iced bedding takes out horse overheating concerns when you can’t move along. Some friends crossing into and out of Canada were held up for extra hours. Iced bedding had all their horses comfortable, happy, waiting in the trailer despite high temps outside. Not stressed while parked.

Never had any horse slip on ice in the sawdust, they just crush the ice cubes as they stand on them. But sawdust layer is several inches thick, not just a dusting of sawdust.

You do want to clean trailer of damp sawdust and ice SOON after horse gets out. The wet sawdust will get moldy fast in a closed, sunshine-heated trailer, which is a bad thing!!


Yes, i’ve done it multiple times and am always amazed at how much it cools the trailer down. Never had a horse slip but i try to do it away from their hooves

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We just hauled back from Oklahoma to Indiana 14 hour trip with a trailer, in mid June, 90 plus degrees, put 3 bag of ice in my Hawk 2 horse slant, 1 horse. There was still some ice 5 hours later when we stopped to fuel up. Husband and I both surprised how cool the trailer stayed with all the vents and windows opened, with screens of coarse.

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My trail riding buddy keeps sending me links to this “hack.” I’m reluctant to try it in my trailer because

  1. It isn’t really that hot here. Not desert

  2. I have rubber mats over wooden floors and I really do not want to introduce any moisture into the floors or trailer

  3. The shavings would get wet and sit and mildew and need to be chucked out

  4. I don’t want ice bouncing around under their hooves

It’s temperate and often humid or rainy here, and I already fight leaks and mildew.

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