I’m in a bit of a sticky situation and would love some solid advice. I have had horses at my Dad’s house since I was a kid (12 years old). I never lived there full time, but came up every weekend to ride. I’ve never been the decision maker in my horse’s feed or care (despite trying) - it was always up to my Dad. I am pretty horse savvy having worked for vets in the past and at a few pack stations, but I’ve never actually taken over caring for a horse 100%.
My Dad is now terminally ill and my horse is 24 years old. I still ride him on weekends, but he’s been losing weight in the winter and has been in a huge 2 acre pasture since he was 4 years old. He’s also been alone for the last 2 years since our other horse passed. I know he’s lonely, but again - I didn’t have much say in his care. We are lucky our ranch is surrounded by a national park, so there was no need to trailer him to ride. He’s been trailered twice since we’ve owned him - the last time was 10+ years ago. Now I have to move him because my Dad can no longer care for him. I’m excited to take over his care and be able to make the changes I’ve wanted to, but I also know this is going to be very hard on my old guy. It’s not ideal, but it is the reality of the situation. I’ve found a great spot for him 5 minutes from my house. He’ll have a dry 24x24 with a horse on each side. I can turn him out in a large arena every day on my lunch break and do some light trail riding on the weekends. I think down the road this will be an improvement for him as far as interaction and attention.
I am worried about the transition since it will be a 1.5 hr trip to get him to his new home, it will be SO different from where he’s been and his age is a concern. I also want to change his feed to put some weight on him and am looking for suggestions. I’m thinking alfalfa/timothy hay cubes and Safechoice senior (his teeth aren’t the best, but vet doesn’t want to do advanced dentistry given his age). Maybe I’ll throw him a flake of alfalfa or timothy to nibble on as well. What do you think? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with this huge change and want to make it as easy on him as possible. Also how much should I feed him? He currently gets 1.5 flakes of alfalfa am/pm and a scoop of alfalfa/timothy cubes. If I switch to mainly cubes and senior - how much is enough? He’s a narrow chested 16.2 thoroughbred.
Any suggestions about feed, trailering, care, transitioning, etc are greatly appreciated! Sorry for the essay.