I’m thinking of Jeanne, my blog muse, right now. I just asked myself “What should the next blog be about?” and my answer was: “What would Jeanne want to know?”
Jeanne would want to know how I dealt with moving my horses to new situations and traveling. She would want to know the details about how I sleep at night knowing that traveling is a risk and can be slightly worrisome with horses in new places. What do I do to minimize that risk?
So, here it goes!
Traveling with horses IS a risk!! Let there be no bones about it. Letty and I passed several signs for RENO… and we didn’t take them. So, I am not prone to gambling with my horses.
Ahead of the travel date:
- Convert the horses over to wet beet pulp with their grains. Wet beet pulp adds extra fiber to the diet without increased simple sugars. The mush also allows me to add electrolytes and other additives into the grains and the horses can’t avoid the stuff at the bottom of the bucket.
- Give Gastrogard to those horses who you know are slightly stressed with life. That would be ALL my horses. Lear is by far the most fidgety and worried about travel (I now know this because of the camera that allows me to see his flipping head for 10 hours straight). Panda is Panda. And if he can hurt himself, he will. So best to take ulcers right off the list. Archie is on the biggest trip of his life, so that will make him chew his nails off. And Toby doesn’t belong to me, so I’m being super careful with him!
- Train the horse to Yummy Water!! This is a secret concoction of grain and water in a bucket. Two weeks ahead of the travel date, we offer the bucket with YW to horses right after they have worked, when their thirst drive is strongest. You literally train a horse lead to water and drink. It’s simple. Send a check for $100 to me and I will give you the secret recipe.
- Be super careful about adding new hays to the horse’s diet. Even when you travel to California and timothy is $249 per bale, whip out your Visa and buy it. It will still be cheaper than two colic exams by a visiting vet and the subsequent drive to a clinic for observation, all because you tried to save money and buy Bermuda grass hay for $17 per bale.
- Put all horses on LMF’s hind gut stuff: 911. It is fantastic and takes a horse who gets the runs back to normal asap.
- Check the horses frequently and often. Monitor poops and water intake and output, not in that order. Even if something takes a little effort, do it, if it’s the right thing for the horse. Live by the rule: Can you afford to not do ____? The answer is usually nope. I use this rule daily in my life, no matter where I am. Can I afford to not double check the tire pressures? Can I afford to not check the lights, hitch and signals? Can I afford to not go investigate that sound from the stalls that woke me up (we sleep near them in the van, so it’s easy to hear any kicks or thrashing). Did I check that Toby, the hippopotamus, has enough water for the night? Go do it. I can’t live with myself if I put my own needs in front of the horse’s needs. They can’t serve themselves, so I better darn well do a good job at it.
- Offer YM whenever you can to the horses on the road or at the new stalls.
- Finally, get to riding as soon as you can. Lots of walking and work help the horses be on a routine and get back to normal leg and gut circulation. Emphasis on lots of walking!
I hope this helps and if you have any questions, post them! I’m happy to answer.