This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Horses and Ponies often have to travel quite long distances to events or races, and, of course, sometimes they even have to travel to across continents - but does it matter which way they face ?
Speaking personally I always feel uncomfortable travelling backwards, and in some vehicles - especially trains, I can even feel nausea. However, studies in horses have confirmed that they suffer less travel-related stress if they travel facing backwards - that is facing away from the direction of travel.
Significant muscle activity is needed to maintain balance during travel in a moving vehicle, and analysis of blood has demonstrated increased concentrations of muscle enzymes to confirm this. In addition, it has been shown that a horse can alter it's body position better in response to outside forces if its hindquarters are facing towards the direction of travel, particularly when subjected to jerky vehicular movement such as occurs in horseboxes, boats, trailers and aircraft.
Finally, travelling compartments should be well padded to prevent injury in the event of a sudden, unexpected movement which can knock the horse off balance.
Updated October 2013