Effects of cross-tying horses during 24 h of road transport

Carolyn Stull, A. V. Rodiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Transportation stress has been implicated as a predisposing factor to respiratory disease in horses. Cross-tying horses individually in stalls is common practice for transporting show and racehorses, but horses also travel in small groups or individually without being restricted by tying. The objective of this study was to compare physiological responses of horses travelling cross-tied or loose during 24 h of road transport. Ten horses were used in a cross-over design consisting of two 4 day trials. In the first trial, 6 horses were cross-tied, while 2 pairs of horses were loose in enclosed compartments. Treatments were reversed in the second trial. Baseline samples were collected on Day 1, horses transported on Day 2, and recovery data collected on Days 3 and 4. Blood samples were collected daily at 0800, 1100 and 2000 h. The mean responses in all horses of serum cortisol, lactate, glucose, α1-acid glycoprotcin, and total protein concentrations, packed cell volume (PCV), white blood cell (WBC) counts and aminotransferase and creatine kinase were was elevated significantly from baseline during the 4 day study. The response of white blood cell counts, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratios and glucose and cortisol concentrations was significantly elevated in the cross-tied compared to the loose group during transport and recovery. This study supports the recommendation of allowing horses during long-term transportation to travel loose in small compartments, without elevating their head by cross-tying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-555
Number of pages6
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


  • Cortisol
  • Handling
  • Horse
  • Lymphocytes
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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