1. Check your trailer. Make sure it is safe for the horse to travel in. Check the floor boards to be sure they are not soft and beginning to rot out. Tha last thing you want to happen is your horse to travel the “Flintstone Style”. Don’t laugh, this has happened with some serious consequences. Next, make sure your trailer, and tow vehicle, is in good overall repair and has been properly maintained. There is enough stress with your moving. You don’t need added stress with an accident happening, particularly with your horse.
2. Get veterinary records. If you are moving to another area, be sure you have the proper paperwork for your horse, especially if you are moving to another state. You should have a current negative Coggins (not more than a year old), and a current vet’s certificate stateing that the horse is in good health. The Certificate should be obtained no more than a week before traveling. Also, make sure your horse is up to date on it’s vaccinations. Check with the state you are moving to to find out which ones are required.
3. Keep medications and food on hand. You should make sure that if your horse is on any medications and supplements, that you have them with you. Also, bring at least 2 weeks worth of grain and hay with you. This way, when you arrive at your new home, you do not have to worry about finding a feed store or farmer. If you are moving for a long distance, do not grain your horse until after you have arrived at your destination. Hay your horse ONLY the night before and the morning of the trip.
4. Prepare a first aid kit. If anything should happen on the trip, you should be prepared. Ask your veterinarian as to what you should include in the first aid kit. Also, include your veterinarian’s and farriers phone numbers in your kit even if you know the numbers by heart. In a panic situation, it is possible the numbers will be forgotten.
5. Wrap the horse’s legs for the trip. The horse’s legs need to be protected. As the saying goes, “No foot, no horse” is true. If the legs are severely injured, you may have to put the horse down.
6. Make frequent stops along the way. You should stop every couple of hours and check on your horse to be sure it is fine. Offer it water and make sure there is enough hay for him to munch on. If you are traveling for more than a few hours, take your horse off the trailer ever few hours so it can stretch it’s legs.
7. Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before moving, ask your veterinarian to recommend a doctor in your new location. Have all the research done before your move. Find one that you will be comfortable with.
8. Prep your new home for horses. Moving, especially long distances, is stressful to any animal. Upon your arrival, make sure you set out hay and water for your horse, and bed it’s stall. Do not grain your horse until you are sure it has calmed down and settled into it’s new surroundings. Make sure it is comfortable and check on it often.
These are basic tips to follow. Each horse will react differently to the move.
Once you have unpacked and settled in, go ahead and enjoy your new home and go for that ride. It will do you both some good. Getting back to a regular schedule is the best thing for your horse.