Cross Country Shipping Tips

This topic contains 25 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by pheets pheets 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)
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  • lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    My mare is getting shipped from Maryland to Colorado next month, and I want to set her up to be as healthy as possible GI-wise for this trek. She’s a good traveler, but has never been on a trip for more than an hour, so I’m trying to cover all my bases.

    Have any of you used Ulcergard before/after a trip? She’s getting commercially shipped, so I can’t give her any meds during. If I give her Ulcergard before, than how many days out do you typically give it? Do you still get four doses out of the tube or do you give some sort of loading dose?

    Any other tips for traveling would be GREATLY appreciated. She has a box stall and a layover in Texas off the truck to hopefully relax for a few days. My new vet suggested tubing her with water and electrolytes the morning of her trip and giving her bran mash the night before. She doesn’t normally get bran mash, so I don’t want to upset her stomach with something new (she normally handles feed and hay changes without batting an eye lash, but still). Any other thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I would go with the bran mash and not the Ulcerguard, as the bran is a natural thing to give for stomachs. Of course, I am ancient, and prefer the old, tried and true methods. If she is being shipped professionally, surely there will be an attendant, will there not? What does the shipper normally provide?

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    So sorry, Joe-Joe but excited that we finally have a difference in opinion : D
    Different experiences lend different information. You are not anymore right than I am wrong : )

    I would not use bran of any kind (not a bran fan anyway), specifically before a long haul and especially where the mare has never been “branned”, but that’s just me. Bran will draw water out the hind gut: pretty much NOT what you want to do before a long haul.. maybe not WRONG but also maybe not BEST. I admire and support your caution!

    At most, I would just add a little brown cider vinegar to her water NOW so that she is not as easily put off by new water and sources. Diet is a concern, sure, but hydration is KEY. LOTS of hay, less grain for at least a couple weeks before travel time. Wean her off the grain altogether just priour to shipping. It is a short term process, she will not starve. Hay is a natural source and form of fiber and their gut is designed to manage it under MOST conditions. I wouldn’t push electrolytes, either, unless she doesn’t drink much to begin with and/or she is nervous by nature, but I have unique and unpopular views on the current layman’s use of electrolytes. I am also not seeking to defy your vet. If your trust is in your vet, stick with them!

    I suggest not to wrap or boot her other than maybe bell boots (check with shipper as to what they will allow) as the shipper is likely NOT going to re-wrap or reboot regardless of need. Besides that, do you REALLY want someone you DON’T know wrapping your horse?

    Wishing you both a safe and uneventful trip!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Pheets, I don’t think we do have a difference of opinion here. The bran mash will relax her system, and the vet does recommend electrolytes the next morning. While bran will remove “stuff” from the system, it also can help avoid constipation, which is something one wants to avoid (the constipation part). We are just taking a different approach to the same desired end – comfort for the horse. As for wrapping/shipping boots, a lot depends on the shipper. I prefer boots to wraps because they are easier to put on and less ikely to slip or be too tight. Some shippers have really experienced and competent attendants on board for the horses, some may not. They (the good ones) also provide quality hay throughout the journey and plenty of water. If I were Lizzie, I think I’d want to be following the van, or even ride in it, because I am really paranoid. Maryland to Texas sounds awfully long before any significant break to me. It also seems a rather roundabout route, but I know little of geography and nothing about the available roads. I’m not really in favor of tubing either, nor am I generally in favor of giving things horses don’t usually need. One thing to explore would be what do trainers do for racehorses who are being shipped all over the planet. Whatever it is, they seem to do fine. Of course, many of them do fly rather than van.

    A lot also would depend on how much bran is being given – I have made bran mashes for after a hard day hunting, or just because it is really, really cold, but use only about half what is suggested in various recipes. I agree with adding something to flavor her water, but one would need to be certain it would also be added by whoever is caring for the horse on the journey. If it isn’t, adding it prior to the trip might be futile. Most horses don’t really need grain anyway, unless they are working hard, so I totally agree with you on not giving any for awhile prior to departure.

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Adding specifically BCV neutralizes, it does not necessarily flavour. Adding 1/2+ cup per 5 gals H2O now and then to current water, as well as changing the bucket here and there (no BCV) will tune the horse in to ‘different taste…still safe to drink’. Once on the road, Horse is more open to and less offended by foreign water, withOUT the need for BCV. Besides: if Crew is willing to rewrap/boot, I would expect adding provided ANYthing to water NOT to be an issue. Bottom line: In theory at least, train the horse to travel.

    I will only advise that one plans a trip for the horse with the assumption that any extras ain’t gonna happen. Some crews are very good and WILL do as they say, more won’t, most are minimal: hay water rest. Accept that all will go according to contract tho assume it might not. Less demands for Horse gets better care from a commonly busy, tired, more than one horse with demands (if allowed) to care for handler.

    For me, and me alone: boots/wraps are a safety issue (a good one!). With unknown assistance involved, no wraps/boots (other than bells maybe)= no safety issue. Shipping boots are hot and loose by themselves, wraps are technical to reapply correctly, dangerous if come undone and can also get hot. Again, these are simply my reasons for preference based on my own experiences with them, not laws of use or no use. I wrap to the ears if I can haul/monitour the ride myself.

    As for ‘lytes and bran, and with all the opinion we have offered, I am sure that the OP will make the necessary plans. She thought enough to ask here.. I am sure her vet will be assistive as well. I do recall stating she should stick with her vet if that’s whom she trusts.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Thank you both for the advice! The vet that told me about bran/tubing is a new one, so I’m still a bit on the fence about that.

    She is definitely going to get Ulcergard – it’s been suggested I give it to her two days before she leaves and then the two days following her arrival. Has anyone used a similar protocol and had it work well?

    She can’t get meds or anything else on the truck or during her layover, and I’m not planning on wrapping her since she’ll be on it for so long. Like you said, pheets, I’m operating on the assumption that no extras are happening once she gets on the truck.

    Texas isn’t the most direct route, but there isn’t any one route that’s particularly expedient across the country. At least in Texas, she gets a layover of a few days to relax and then do the second leg. Other shippers had earlier layovers that meant a very long haul on the second leg (even longer than the Texas legs). It’s not ideal, but like I said I haven’t found an ideal way to get her across the country short of flying (which is not in my pay grade haha!).

    She loves drinking warm water – she will gulp down a small bucket with no qualms, so I’m thinking about just adding electrolytes and giving her a warm water treat the evening before/however many times she’ll drink. This could be stupid, but the thought of tubing makes me cringe, and I don’t want to add too many new things leading up to her departure. She is normally laid back, but tends to get antsy about going on a trailer if I’ve changed a bunch of things about her routine and she knows something is “up.”

    Thanks for the grain tip – I hadn’t thought of that. She already barely gets any, so it won’t be hard to wean her off of it.

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Best of luck with the trip, and do let us know how she does.

    It is never the horse's fault

    lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Thanks Joe-Joe! Appreciate your help 🙂

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Count me in with the non-branning side of the argument. I wouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary, other than weaning off grain prior to the trip. I’d take electrolytes but not administer unless dehydration was evident. I think your instincts are right on this.

    Re omeprazole (ulcergard) I generally use it alongside NSAIDs like bute if I have a few days of dosing for pain relief. I’ve not tried it as a prophylaxis and cannot testify to its effectiveness as such, but what I have read about it indicates that it can only limit gastric secretions in the ‘human body’ for up to 72 hours, not sure about the horse. As long as hay is available, I’m not sure why you would need it. Since your horse is good on the trailer then perhaps she does not need it? There is little harm (I think the worst side-effect is nephritis and I believe that is after long-term usage) Also don’t administer if your horse is taking St Johns Wort as that causes an amplification of the drug. If the vet recommends it, then do it.

    Good luck on the move, I so enjoyed riding in Colorado, one of my favorite places on horseback. Enjoy!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Thanks, Mapale! I’m going for the “better safe than sorry” route with Ulcergard. She is normally fine on a trailer, but the furthest she’s gone is within an hour radius of the barn. She’ll be going on a semi truck for two eleven hour legs and getting plopped into a completely foreign environment (she’s a Maryland native), so I’m trying to do my best to protect against any GI issues due to stress. I like to think she’ll take it all in stride, but I really nave no idea how she’s going to react.

    When I talked to my vet, she agreed that it won’t do any harm to give her Ulcegard, I’ll just be out $33. I’m willing to pay that if it keeps her from feeling crappy (or at least provides me with a bit of a placebo effect).

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    I would do the same thing, OP. It isn’t expensive and better-safe-than-sorry is always best.

    Just remember that when you get to Colorado there is a significant change in elevation (even flat Denver is a mile high). Give her plenty of time to acclimate (which involves developing increased platelets in the blood) so she can exercise without losing her wind. Higher up in the Rockies the air can be quite thin. Athletes who have to compete in the Mile High, usually come in many days in advance to acclimate.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Yes, thanks Mapale! I forget sometimes how tough it was acclimating now that I’ve been in Denver a few years. It will be hard to resist the urge to ride her around right away, but I know I need to give her several days to adjust. Fortunately, she’ll just be on the Front Range with elevation about the same as Denver.

    I’m coming back from an injury as well, so the silver lining to that injury is that it will help me be patient with my own horse. I’m still working my way back up to trotting and cantering with stirrups before jumping again, and I’m fortunate that the barn I’m joining has a round pen and two big arenas I can work on groundwork in. Slow but steady will be the theme 🙂

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Back in the day, I rode the hills above Central City. That was before it became a modern gambling town. September in the Rockies on horseback is a stairway to heaven.

    Don’t get in a hurry (but I hope you’re well soon!). Keep us posted how you and your mare are getting along! Sounds like your mare is going to a great new home!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    Hi Lizzie! Yes-please do check back in once she is safe & sound in Colorado. I will be curious to hear how she does on her haul & how you felt about the company you used. Also, where/what barn in Colorado will she be going to, if you don’t mind my asking? Just curious because I boarded for 25+ years in the Littleton area; Ken-Caryl Equstrian & Cottonwood Riding Club. I completely understand if you don’t want to give the specific barn name, though. 🙂

    lizziescase Original Poster lizziescase
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Hi Wyo! She will be in Arvada for a few months before shipping down to Colorado Springs. I’m leasing her to the Air Force Academy equestrian team, but enjoying having her to myself this summer 🙂 She will be at Evening Star Farm before going to Air Force.

    I’m using Equine Express and so far have been super impressed with them. They have been friendly, helpful, and on top of things from the beginning and with their pricing I could afford a box stall for her. They helped me coordinate my flights back to Maryland with their “best guess” of when she would get picked up, and so far their guesses have been 100% accurate. They even moved a few things around so that she could definitely get picked up the week my flights were originally scheduled for.

    I will definitely report back on how the trip goes – I should be getting her pick up date any day now! At the risk of being insufferably self-promoting, I’ve been blogging about this adventure at the link in my signature (amateurhoureq.wordpress.com). The anticipation is killing me, I’ve been out here for almost two years without here.

    amateurhoureq.wordpress.com

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