Trailering (Long winded discussion)
I'm not sure what category this really falls under so this fits the best. So I'm moving my horse on Sunday, and just starting to run though everything in my head, getting myself nervous lol. I already know that I'm going to have to sedate her, so I have that ready, but I know that she gets very nervous around other people, especially those she doesn't know. She honestly wasn't that concerned about the trailer when I worked with her today, she was just very nervous about everything going on around her outside the trailer. From getting to know her the last couple of months, and knowing the guy who's going to be helping me trailer her for almost a year, I know that they probably are not going to get along, which makes me a bit uptight about making sure that she's happy and okay with everyone around her. I also know that I'm already gonna make her upset because I have to give her the sedative, and as we found out today she is definately not fond of needles at all. Hopefully she'll be more comfortable in her stall, but I can't rely on that. I'm just nervous because she's my baby, and even though I know that this isn't going to be the best experience of her life, I still want to make it as nice as possible for her sake and everyone elses. I just hope that it all works out, and she gets to my ranch safe and sound.
Have you sedated her before? With the same drug you will be using? Asking because some horses actually don't respond well to some sedatives, and this can make things much worse.
Also, there are oral herbal remedies that work nicely to calm a horse. You might give those a try as well.
Why won't she get along with the guy that will be trailering her? Could he not make an effort to make her trip comfortable?
I know I'm not offering much advise for you.
If you load her and unload her why will she even interact with the driver? What is the reason that you are sedating her? I have handled horses that were pretty rough and I have never sedated one to trailer it. Not getting a horse comfortable with other people and things it comes in cantact with is almost as cruel as beating them into submission. No animal wants to live in constant fear regardless of the reason. Make sure that you are not using the sedative as a crutch. Horses rarely die from being nervous or uncomfortable.
Sort of agree with kevin. My vet has no qualms with giving me sedatives, she told me after a few times being calm and sedated the horse might be ok without it. If you give her a sedative to relax a few times, she might be calm enough to understand nothing is actually hurting her. I dont give ace, it dosent do a darn thing for my horse. I usually give a dermosidan mix. Shes good at resisting the effects of a sedative. But this is powerful stuff so you have to be careful not to over dose.
Also I always teach my horse to load/ unload before I expect them to trailered anywere. My mare has to walk right on and off before I take her to a show. Otherwise we could be stuck at the show grounds, because we havent properly trained her to load.
We have never trailered a sedated horse. I think your going to have more of a chance of injury by doing so. Any time our girls have had to get loopy at the vet we always walk them out for at least 30-40 minutes after the sedation before we put them in the trailer and drive down the road.
They are very clumsy and unable to keep their balance when sedated. Its hard enough for them to keep upright while going down the road sober, it would be a disaster if they were drugged.
If you feel you must, I would go with a feed on herbal calming med. or a very mild prescription sedative. That's after you worked extensively with him on trailer loading and moving. Loading is only 25% of trailering a horse. Getting them their road legs in a moving box is the rest.
Who or what is pulling the box is unimportant unless they drive like morons :wink:
ETA if this is a one time thing, I highly suggest you get a head bumper and shipping boots. They will cut the chance of injury while going down the road by half at least.
Ive had more problems with loading then moving. I guess my horses are just weird. They get very anxious to get going, as soon as I start moving they stop figiting. I usually leave the engine running so I can just hop in and drive off.
I dont think my horses like when I drive hehe. I usually go half the speed limit because I am paranoid. My boyfriend wont let me drive the trailer anymore lol.
At this point I am moving her because I want her at my ranch where I am better able to spend the time that she needs to work with her through her nervousness, and I don't really trust some of the people where she is currently located, so I will sleep easier knowing that she is a 2 minute walk down the hill from my trailer. I talked with the vet extensively before deciding to go the sedation route, but he thinks that for her safety it will be better to give her something just to calm her down a bit, but definately not make her "drunk". He gave me detomidine. I personally don't like ace, and will never use ace myself. I have already worked her with a trailer, but as I don't own a trailer, know how to drive one, or know anyone close enough to where she currently is to really be able to work with her right now, I am doing the best that I can with what I have available. She doesn't have many qualms about the trailer itself, though she was a bit nervous about the unstable feeling when she put her feet in to begin with, she is just very nervous about what is going on around her, and the fact that she's leaving her buddy that she's spent at least the last 6 months hanging out with. The guy won't necessarily be helping me, but he is going to be around, and even though I know that he'll make an effort to get to know her, and get along with her, he's just got very different ideas of how a horse should behave that I do, and is a pretty forceful and in your face kind of person. Honestly I don't think that feeling the need to use a calming anything will be in any way long term, she is just a 4 year old arabian that for her entire life aside from being moved from stall to stall has had little to no human contact, and has never had a chance to be turned out, and allowed to be a horse, so she is understandably nervous, full of energy, and unruly. In just the 2 short weeks I've been taking her out and walking her around, she is already 10 times calmer than she was to begin with. If I had the time and resources to be able to work on her trailering where she is currently, I would, but unfortunately I don't have either, as its an hour drive from where I live, and obviously the not having a trailer ect. And I need to have her moved for her safety and my peace of mind, as I can not say with any confidence that she will not be messed with and probably traumatized and hurt when I'm not there, otherwise I wouldn't even consider sedating her, I would just work with her until she walks right in, and out with absolutely no problems. And yes I have sedated her before, and it definately wasn't to do more than calm her down a bit, like I will do Sunday, so she could get her vaccinations and microchip, and she honestly was definately calmer, but still alert, and was far from being loopy. So I am not sedating her for the first time and hoping that it works okay.
It sounds like you have everything under control except your anxiety over her well being. Trust me I understand that completely. Just try to stay as calm and helpful as you can to get her home. Its going to be a traumatic experience for both of you no matter how you do it. I wish you the best and hope the trip goes smoothly. Just take your time and don't get overwhelmed or rushed.
I would look into the head bumper if you have the time to buy or borrow one by Sunday. Most injuries that have happened when we have do first trailer rides, seem to happen in the head area.
Be sure to let us know how it goes.
She did pretty good. She wasn't really concerned about the trailer, but was nervous about what was going on around the trailer. She was pretty disconcerted when we got her home, and she is still not eating much. She is enjoying having an actual water bucket instead of her small automatic waterer. She's been playing in the water much more than she's actually drinking it. I've gotten her out a couple of times and turned her out, but a big storm came through the day after I moved her, and it still hasn't completely dried out enough to work her, and its getting rainy again. I am hoping that she'll start to eat more once I can actually get her out and do more with her than just trot her around, and have her pacing in her stall.
There is a video on youtube of monty roberts trailer loading a horse. The owner placed a bet that he wouldn't be able to do it, and then seemed pissed when she did with no problem. I love that video, and used that same technique when I trailered my horse on the 1st of this month. It was hilarious. It's here :
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