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  1. #1
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    Aug. 8, 2004
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    Default Big move - WWYD? - Update

    I'm getting ready to make a big move at the end of this month - 800 miles - and recently I've been wondering if I should take my old mare with me, or leave her here. She's 25, and retired, with some pretty significant arthritis (both hocks, hind fetlock, knee, neck) and I'm afraid the trip may be really hard on her (although she's always traveled OK, it's been quite a while since she's been anywhere, and almost 4 years since she's been hauled more than an hour). We're hoping to return to this area in a year, and even if we end up elsewhere, my husband and I both have family here, so we'll return at some point. I think it would probably be better for her to stay here, but I also feel like I'm abandoning her if I leave her. On the other hand, I would hate for something to happen to her during or as a result of the trip...and I would also hate it if she couldn't make the trip back in a year.

    The barn she'd be at in the new place would be a good situation for her...only problem is that she'd be out with only my gelding, and she tends to get pretty herd-bound, so it might be an issue when I want to ride him. If she stayed here, I'd probably need to find a different barn (I have a few options) due to cost....

    Not sure what to do...advice is welcome!
    Last edited by McVillesMom; Jun. 5, 2011 at 01:32 AM.



  2. #2
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    Nov. 18, 2004
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    Default

    If it were me, I'd want to keep an eye on my oldster, since you note she has significant arthritis. The herdbound thing is annoying but can be managed -- could you just put her in a stall while you ride?

    While the trip could be a bit wearing for her, I don't think that in mild spring weather one long day of travel is going to be so terrible.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  3. #3
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Default

    --never mind -- see below
    Last edited by fordtraktor; May. 9, 2011 at 09:35 AM.



  4. #4
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    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Default

    I had to travel overseas with ex's job years ago. My son was an infant, and at the time it was just too stressful to bring our Lab with us, so I left her with my good friend, her breeder, for the year we were first gone.

    Later when returning overseas, and having more of a handle on things, we brought all our dogs.

    I think if you are truly comfortable with where she will be staying, and if this year will have logistical problems for you, I'd opt for letting her stay behind.

    But if you are not sure about her care when left behind, it is not too much of an imposition on your own obligations in your new place, and you feel she can make the trip comfortably, go ahead and bring her.

    And maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to just take a short practice round trip, to get a handle on how trailering would affect her these days.



  5. #5
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    If you have a really great boarding place for her in her current location, where you know she will be well taken care of and you won't have to worry, think about leaving her.

    If not, I would take her. She mat do better with a commercial hauler with a box stall on an air-ride truck, though.

    Now, if she gets herd bound, you'll probably have some work to do at your new place.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  6. #6
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Sorry -- I didn't see the part where you are coming back in a year. Do you have a trusted friend who can keep an eye on her for you? I might not take her if it was just for a year and I had good people to watch her for me and send me regular pictures/updates.

    I would bite the bullet and pay to keep her where she is though, if she is happy and you know the care is good. That peace of mind would be worth the extra $$. Having options is OK but without being there to check in...IDK. Lots of places look good from the outside but when you get there are not.

    If you have to haul her, my oldster with arthritis/ringbone did well going 600 miles in a stock trailer, loose, with bute before and after. He walked off like he went on and did not get sore afterward. I made sure he could go right out in the field when he got to his destination, I think that is important for oldsters -- something to consider if she is not on grass and is heading to grass, make sure there is an appropriate paddock she can go into without risk of founder.



  7. #7
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    Default

    A little more information:

    If she goes along, she will be riding on one side of my 2-horse trailer. Unfortunately, commercial shipping is not an option at this time. She also can't have bute or any other NSAID due to GI issues (developed colitis on Previcox). I'm planning to give her an Adequan dose beforehand, but that's probably about all we can do. She is on grass currently (well, what grass there is, LOL) but would be on a dry lot in the new location, which would potentially be a better situation for her (she is Cushingoid and presumed IR - never tested her, but she does so much better on a low starch diet that we assume she is). If she goes along, she and my gelding will be together on field board in the dry lot, at least during the summer ($275/month/horse).

    If she were to stay here, I have a few options. Option A would be to leave her at her present barn here in Columbus ($400/month), which would be a stretch for me financially. Option B would be to move her back to her old barn in Cincinnati, which would have several advantages: slightly less expensive ($350/month), and a friend of mine could check on her periodically. Both A and B have excellent care, and I would not hesitate to leave her at either one. Option C would be to move her to field board at a retirement facility which is somewhat close by. I have not visited the farm yet, but it is run by someone with a good reputation (who is also a COTHer!) and would be significantly less expensive (~$200/month). Option C is close enough that the friend mentioned in option B would be able to go check on her a couple of times a month.

    Sigh...so much to consider...



  8. #8
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    Aug. 12, 2009
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    As far as the trip itself I would not be too worried. We just had a 27 year old horse who has quite a few physical issues make a very long trip to be in his new forever home with his owner. He loaded up like a champ even though he had not been off the property for 15 years and made the trip just fine.

    For him being separated from him "mom" would have been more stressful than the trip itself. Your mare may not have that attachment but have you ever left her for a long time? Since you plan on visiting and have family there might not be an issue anyway.

    I would just not let the trip itself be the sole deciding factor. I think the quality of life in general is more important.



  9. #9
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    Oct. 3, 2007
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    How comfortable is the horse? Sounds like she has a lot of issues and can't take much for the pain. I know it is a difficult decision but isn't putting her down a viable option?

    I know you don't want to. But you may want to consider how much stress she will be under when you move without her and she moves to another barn or what effect moving will have on her. It may be the kindest option in the long run.

    But, I don't know this horse. Only you can make that decision for her.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2008
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    UK
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    From your signature, it looks as though you are either a vet, or a vet student. This in your professional future is what you will be having to give professional advice on day in, day out.

    In your professional, objective and unbiased opinion (ie forgetting yourself):
    1. What is kindest for the horse?
    2. Can your horse tolerate the journey with no meds?
    3. Will the change in diet/location/climate be stressful or not?
    4. Is moving your horse to a retirement facility which is going to involve a long travel time and no familiarity (human or equine) going to cause stress or not?

    This really is the type of problem you either see or will see every day as a vet, please think through what you would say if asked this by someone else - and remember how you are feeling now so you remember how hard it is for your clients to come up with the answers.

    you are best placed to make the decision for your horse, but I think you can rule out many of the factors you lay out in your emails - it's not about how YOU feel, how YOUR conscience feels, about whether YOU will come back eventually - horses don't live in the 'maybe she'll come back one day' they live in the here and now. I agree, it's a little bit about how much you can afford, but mainly it's about her - temperamentally, which is best for HER; physically, which is best for her. Please don't think that because a friend can visit her, that the horse knows this, or is reassured by this, that is purely about you and your conscience. Separate the two, however hard it is. It's what you are about to be paid to do when you graduate.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2001
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    Sheridan, IN
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by McVillesMom View Post
    A little more information:

    If she goes along, she will be riding on one side of my 2-horse trailer. Unfortunately, commercial shipping is not an option at this time. She also can't have bute or any other NSAID due to GI issues (developed colitis on Previcox). I'm planning to give her an Adequan dose beforehand, but that's probably about all we can do. She is on grass currently (well, what grass there is, LOL) but would be on a dry lot in the new location, which would potentially be a better situation for her (she is Cushingoid and presumed IR - never tested her, but she does so much better on a low starch diet that we assume she is). If she goes along, she and my gelding will be together on field board in the dry lot, at least during the summer ($275/month/horse).

    If she were to stay here, I have a few options. Option A would be to leave her at her present barn here in Columbus ($400/month), which would be a stretch for me financially. Option B would be to move her back to her old barn in Cincinnati, which would have several advantages: slightly less expensive ($350/month), and a friend of mine could check on her periodically. Both A and B have excellent care, and I would not hesitate to leave her at either one. Option C would be to move her to field board at a retirement facility which is somewhat close by. I have not visited the farm yet, but it is run by someone with a good reputation (who is also a COTHer!) and would be significantly less expensive (~$200/month). Option C is close enough that the friend mentioned in option B would be able to go check on her a couple of times a month.

    Sigh...so much to consider...

    If that place is Tammy's I would certainly feel comfortable leaving a horse in her care unsupervised.

    My opinion--if you have confidence in where you leave her, leave her where she is. I think the possibility of two 800 mile trips in a year on an arthritic horse that can't take NSAID's would be pretty difficult.



  12. #12
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    Jun. 15, 2002
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    I am making a big move to! Out of the country for vet school, so stressed over what to do with my two horses. They can't stay in their current situation. I wish I could take them with me but thats not an option.



  13. #13
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    lcw579 - I know that day is coming, but I don't think we're quite there yet. I'm sure she has some discomfort, but she still seems happy - eats well, is bright and interested in what's going on, and LOVES to be out with her friends. I don't feel that she is in the kind of pain that warrants euthanasia quite yet. But believe me, I know that day is coming.

    Doodlebug1 - I know it's not about me and how I feel, but I am responsible for her, and there's a certain amount of worry that goes along with this decision and guilt if I make the wrong choice (I wouldn't be human otherwise!) And how much I can afford is definitely a big factor, one that I will be faced with every day when I graduate, so please don't be so quick to dismiss that as not so important.

    I asked advice of the forum simply because I have no experience moving an older horse this kind of distance, and I know others have done so. Thank you all for your input - right now, I'm leaning toward taking her with me, but I haven't made the final decision yet. She's a pretty independent girl, so I think she'd be fine without me around, but I may not be OK not being able to keep an eye on her. I still have a couple of weeks to think about it



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2007
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    Over the past year and a half, I moved my 29 yo 800 miles, then 500 miles, then 600 miles to a retirement situation. The first 2 trips I did myself, the last one was with a small commercial shipper.

    Honestly, I was horribly worried about how he'd do on each leg, and every time he was just fine and came off the trailer bright and perky. We took plenty of rest breaks, and on the 800 mile trek I stopped overnight at a barn where he was able to spend the night in a paddock and stretch his legs. While I did give him some meds since he has arthritis, he would likely have been just fine without.

    Only you know how your horse reacts to travel and change, but in general I'd think she'd be fine to go with you.



  15. #15
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    I moved my old guy a couple of times that distance or further. He too had arthritis issues. Does your mare tolerate corticosteroids?

    In all honesty, I would prefer to have my oldie with me. I did a stint overseas where I had to leave my critters with someone and even though I did have someone else popping in to keep an eye on things, I was really disappointed with what I came home to even after just 3 mos.

    If I were at my current barn back then, I'd have no worries. But the "good" places that you can count on even if you're 100% absent are few and far between even if they are well meaning IMHO.

    A few hints on moving cross country:
    -haul water from home
    -have a good emergency kit
    -contact veterinarians along the way before you leave in case you have problems during the trip.
    -consider probiotics. I know the jury is out on this, but I really swear by 'em.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  16. #16
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    Just thought I'd post an update Thanks again for all your advice. The move is complete, and all my worrying seems to have been for naught. Both horses did very well with the trip, even day 1, which ended up being 11 hours or so on the trailer. I ended up purchasing a trailer cam (not designed as such, but worked fine) so I could keep an eye on them while we were on the road. My mare loaded on to the trailer both times like she's been doing it every day of her life, so that was a relief - she's never been difficult to load, so I wasn't too worried, but I'm pretty sure I could have just turned her loose and she would have gone in on her own!

    The horses are currently living together in a dry lot, but the care so far is excellent. They have a nice big run-in shed (12 x 36 or so?) which was a big comfort the first night because it stormed almost all night! Hay in front of them literally ALL the time. They are also allowed a few hours a day in the larger grass pasture, as long as the footing is OK. My mare has been fine so far when I take my gelding out to ride him - calls a couple of times and then goes in the shed to hang out - and she looks MUCH more comfortable in terms of soundness.

    So, all in all, I worried for nothing (big surprise) and things are going very well!



  17. #17
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