I moved to California from Virginia a couple years ago for grad school and now that I have graduated and am working, would like to have my horse shipped out to California. He is a 16 year Appy with a history of arthritis and lameness. He tore two ligaments in his fetlocks and was diagnosed with ring bone when he was 6 years old. Is it too risky to ship him? Will he be able to adjust from open pasture Virginia life to the pipe corral life of Southern California? I know that for the price of shipping him, I can get a younger horse without the lameness problems, but I really just want him, not another horse. Any suggestions? My family thinks the trip will be too hard on him and I should just give him away and let him live out the rest of his life in Virginia. Is that the best idea?
I think its wonderful you want to keep your horse and give it the best life he can have. If your concerend about the trip I would consult with your veternarian and ask them what you can do to make him more comfortable.
If you really want to ship him out to CA I'd start him on a joint supplement and give that several weeks/months to reach therapeutic levels. That way he'll be as comfortable as he can be on the trip. If you can, during the trip, I'd give banamine or bute to keep him comfortable, that's a long trip for an older horse with arthritis and ring bone and torn ligaments. No matter how carefully he's hauled, I'd expect the trip to be pretty hard on him and I'd expect him to be pretty sore for a while after he gets to CA. Is he at all ridable now? Because if the answer is no, I'd think about either giving him away (risky) or euthanizing him if you can't afford to keep 2 horses, and buy another horse without his issues.
Agreed, talk to your vet and ask what they think, there may be something he/she can give the horse to help, and they may suggest bute for the trailer ride, but if you do, they need to be properly hydrated, like every hour water offered, or even in the trailer, but given to dehydrated horse, bute can cause kidney damage, so I would not give bute unless that is what the vet says.
Kudos to you for wanting to keep your horse, despite lameness issues!
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