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Trailering a 26 yo horse 700 miles?

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  • Trailering a 26 yo horse 700 miles?

    Is this safe? I just found out my old mare (I don't own her anymore) needs a new home, and I've found her one...but it's in Cali (she lives in Utah currently). Could this be dangerous somehow?

    She's sound but out of shape. Really out of shape, like, not being ridden for a few years.

    If I don't find her a home she'll be put down, and I haven't been able to find anyone to take her locally. Which I understand. Who wants a 26 year old mare?

    Anyway, any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Ask your vet.


    • #3
      I'd do it - particularly after the vet exam you'll likely need to get her a health certificate to cross state lines. You can ask the vet his/her opinion then. But the only reason I wouldn't transport a horse is illness, severe lameness, or an age-related infirmity that would make the horse unsteady and would risk going down in the trailer. So long as you think she can stand, she should be fine. She'll likely appreciate a stop every few hours for some water and some fresh hay and you can do some things to help prepare her for the trip. If she's otherwise healthy and just old, I wouldn't hesitate.
      And I have done it. I have transported several old timers myself and with commercial shippers (both my own personal horses heading to retirement and through rescue work) and all have been fine. On the flip side, I have refused transport young horses who are seriously ill and/or unsteady on their feet. Too much risk they might go down and I'm not willing to add the horror of that to frail physical condition.

      For an otherwise healthy horse, it shouldn't be a problem. Good luck! I hope you get your old horse back!


      • #4
        out of shape pasture or out of shape barn kept?


        • #5
          I moved my 23/24 year old mare to Florida a few years ago and it was VERY stressful for her and she had been EVERYWHERE as a show horse. She was tired and depressed for several days after the two day, 1200 mile trip (we laid over half way for twelve hours) I would break the trip up into as many short pieces as I could if I had to do it all over again. Consult your vet for sure and good luck!!!
          The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


          • #6
            I took my first horse from MA to UT when he was 24, and then from UT to WA when he was 27. He had not been in a trailer since I got him 12 years earlier! He was tired upon arrival but recovered.

            One of my big deciding factors was his easy-keepin' nature... he could be counted upon to eat and drink even in unusual situations. In his decline (post 30) he became a bit more delicate but for most of his life he was unflappable. If I were you I'd consult with a vet and consider how this horse could be expected to handle the trip.
            Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for all your help. I will definately talk to the vet. I just found out about this yesterday so I certainly do need to schedule the coggins/health certificate/brand inspection vet check anyway.

              Glad to hear that a few of you have done the same the and the horse survived.

              Alagirl, she's pasture kept. Does that make a difference?


              • #8
                When you trailer, STOP every 4 hours for 30 minutes - no exceptions. Let her have water at that time and she will be much more likely to pee in a stopped trailer. Don't over hay her since water time is limited.


                • #9
                  If she's historically been a good hauler, I wouldn't hesitate to do it. For hauls of that distance, I do keep plenty of hay in front of them, and mine don't like to drink on the road, because they don't like to pee in the trailer- but it's not an issue if they are well hydrated when they get on the trailer. I do give carrots at the gas station rest stops for a little moisture.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GoodAsGold View Post
                    Alagirl, she's pasture kept. Does that make a difference?
                    I'd think a a pasture kept horse has better muscle tone than a barn kept one. A better base level of fitness.

                    Being sound and not unfit, I would see no problem for her traveling, 26 is not THAT old anymore.

                    I agree on the hydration part the others mentioned, but that, too is not age specific.


                    • #11
                      I had to transport a 21 year old horse with medical issues (huge bladder stone) 800 miles for surgery. I chartered a hauler to do the trip with just my horse, who rode in a box stall. The hauler stopped every hour to check my horse and offer water, and he also stayed at 50mph the whole trip. He made the trip straight at night, when it was cool.

                      This horse had vet clearance to travel, and was given electrolytes, gastrogard, and lots of probiotics for several days prior to the trip, during the trip, and several days after.

                      If your vet thinks the mare is healthy enough to withstand the trip, definitely make sure the mare goes in a box stall so she can move around and turn, and make sure you have a door-to-door estimate of hours your mare will be on the road ---- you don't want her on a trailer that is zig-zagging all over the place to drop other horses along the way.


                      • #12
                        Well if it makes you feel any better, I will be hauling a 31 year old 900 miles at the end of the month.
                        Plan is to hydrate him really will with a mash the night before. Also will hang water bucket in the trailer for him and every gas stop will last atleast 20-30 min. so he gets a bit of rest. He has always been a good traveler so I think he will be fine.