Moving a Horse To Florida

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  dc 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • ShilohsGirl Original Poster ShilohsGirl
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 49

    Hey Everyone!
    I am taking my horse to school next year in Florida, and I need advice! He’s a 24 yo warmblood, no health or lameness issues. I will geta thorough vet examination before we leave, but he is super sensitive to bugs, any reccomendations?

    I am currently in CO, and he has lived here his whole life (except traveiling for shows) and I’m worried about the heat. How do you acclimate a horse to the extreme weather change?

    What are my need-to-knows, what blankets does he need (I assume just a rain sheet and a light blanket?)
    He will be living outside with plenty of shade.

    "Think of riding as a science, but love it as an art" ~George Morris

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    You don’t say where in FL. On the coast is one thing. Inland, you might as well be in Central America–heat AND humidity. The bugs are bad. Add a fly sheet to your list, along with fly masks. As for acclimating him, I would wait as long as possible to ship him to FL, so the weather has started to cool off. Winters are very nice. Good luck to you!

    Chris Chris
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 17

    Hope you don’t take offense if I suggest it might be much kinder to an older horse to keep him with a trustworthy friend in Colorado than ask him to take on a climate that’s absolutely brutal in the summer. That said, about 25 years ago I moved my 6 year-old horse from Michigan to SE Texas, so a somewhat similar situation in terms of latitude, heat and humidity. Joan is SO right about starting off during the mild winter season (no earlier than late October or into November if possible)! It surprised me that we managed to find a place where even in a semi-tropical climate, bugs aren’t bad at all (look for even the slightest elevation that drains well and catches prevailing breezes). Yes, access to shade is extremely important and the coolest barns here in Texas are mostly open air. I blanket only a few times a year, when we get a blast from the North that can suddenly plummet daytime temperatures into the 20’s-30’s.

    Even if your horse is a hard keeper I’d avoid grain as much as possible particularly during the summer and rely heavily on good forage and minerals/electrolytes. Be extremely vigilant watching for mold/off-smell in all types of feed–you may wish to look into “Cool Stance” which I really like. This may be your first introduction to Coastal hay and my horse never developed a taste for it, but pasture usually stays green year-around (though little to no growth in the winter). No personal experience with it, but I’ve heard Bahia (bah-HAY-yuh around here) grass/hay is not generally a good choice for horses, being low in nutritional content. Prepare to pay a small fortune for imported alfalfa or timothy, and send along as much hay with your horse as you possibly can to allow a gradual adaptation.

    Being a barefoot trimmer, I’d tell you to expect your horse’s hooves to change shape over the first year or so, perhaps quite dramatically when you go from hard/dry Colorado to wet/sandy Florida. Keep on top of the trimming (watch for excessive wall growth and potential loss of concavity) to avoid “pancaking”, since soft sand creates a very different type of hoof mechanism than solid terrain. Hope this helps…

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Having a horse is Fun … Atleast You can save a lot of fuel 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  mixedchicks.
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Florida has pros and cons for horses and horse-keeping. The prior responses provided good insights. I moved my 2 mares (both in their late teens) to central Florida in 1999 after being in South Carolina for a year after living in Wisconsin. They loved the year-round grass but bugs were an issue. My older mare also developed a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to sand burrs when she rolled in them, right after moving there. Luckily I had a local vet’s number to save her life. It is WONDERFUL being able to ride there in winter when the temps are in the 50s to 80s. My girls rarely needed even a sheet for warmth. You will want to move him to Florida, if you decide that is best for him, between Nov and May, as the humidity and heat are brutal for traveling and adapting otherwise. Have a hurricane plan in place before you go: what will you do with him if a hurricane is headed for your area? We went through Hurricane Floyd and it wasn’t even bad, yet very scary and worrisome as it could have been worse.
    You will need a negative Coggins and current health certificate before shipping across state lines. Take along at least 2 weeks of hay and grain when you move horse homes and have suppliers lined up before you move.
    Coastal or Bahia hay is okay but low in nutrients so you will need to either import timothy or brome hay (very costly) or do a nutrient check on the local hay and feed a supplement to counteract the deficiencies. Ditto if you rely on pasture. Plan on using a fan in front of your horse’s stall to keep bugs away and to keep sweating down (yes they stand in the shelter or stalls and sweat in summer/fall). Use a dehumidifier in the tack room to preserve your tack from mold. Watch for poisonous snakes and alligators when you trail ride, even in the interior land.
    College can be very hectic and energy consuming. Would it make more sense for you to keep your guy in CO and to lease a horse in Florida, to reduce some of the time and stress in managing college and moving an older horse across the country?
    Best wishes!

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