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Taking care of your horse after a long trek

Hi there,
I am shipping my horse across the country (it will take 3-4 days) and am looking for tips for helping my horse recover from the trip and settle into her new place.

Can you share your experiences with me? What did you do to help your horse?

The only experience I’ve had was bringing my horse over from Ireland - his trip involved going from Galway to Dublin, then Holland overnight, then on to NYC for 24± hours and then down to Maryland. My trainer had picked up some immune support supplement from a tack store and I can’t remember what it was but the main thing my vet said was to just let him chill out for a couple of weeks which I did. I don’t know if I even rode him - brushed him and stuff but let him relax. I also had to slam him w/ all the vaccines we do here in the US - Ireland they barely have to give them any. He did great

I tubed and oiled my horses before a 36-hour (total with overnight stopping) cross-country move and gave both preventative doses of omeprazole starting 5 days before and continuing a week or so after. The 25-year old got bute for 3 days (I thought she was going to be crippled after being on the trailer for 2 days, but she surprisingly wasn’t). The younger one got bute after day 1 on the trailer (arrived late day 2).

Nobody got grain the day before, during the trip, or the day after. Everyone got oral paste electrolytes the day before, the 2 days of the trip, and the day after. They got free-choice grass hay during the trip.

We arrived late at night, so I kept them in stalls overnight, packed feet and wrapped legs, gave free choice hay and turned them out early the next morning (they ran around like ninnies).

I had a LOT of anxiety about this (trailered them cross country myself), but they ended up doing great. One of my horses was pregnant and I was CONVINCED she was going to abort, but she didn’t, and she’s fine, and they are happy and healthy and doing great.

Great advice - thanks! I am a nervous wreck about it - trying to remember that I hired professionals to do this and they do it everyday. I appreciate hearing the stories of what others did!

Something you can use to monitor his condition once he arrives and is settling in… borrow the endurance rider’s post-ride checklist of EDPPMF: eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, moving freely. All of those signs being normal, - i.e., normal amount and consistency of poop, normal amount and color of urine, his typical appetite and drinking, no problems moving around, etc. - is a good indication that he’s recovering well from any physical and mental stress.

I give them at least 3 days to “unwind.” Most of all, they need a peaceful, safe and quiet place to SLEEP–lying down. I would of course take note of peeing, pooping, and water consumption, and be alert for signs of fever, but don’t overthink it.

Just remember how you felt the last time your connecting flights didn’t connect and you had to sleep in an airport–and what you wanted is what your horse wants. :winkgrin: