Travelling an emaciated horse

silverbreeze

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We sold one of our horses about 3 years ago and we went to see her yesterday; she is a long way away from where we live.
She was in a terrible way and we have persuaded them to sell her back to us as they just obviously can’t cope with the number of horses they have.
She is an old mare but all of their horses look like hat racks and once I have mine back in my lorry I will be reporting the others.
We are picking her up Sat but it is a 4 hour drive for her and I am really worried about how she will cope. A few things I am thinking and I would appreciate any input as I know a lot of people on here have rescued horses:
1. Do we travel her with partitions to give her support or if she is weak could she drop and get tangled in them, so would she be better without partitions and loads of straw?
2. We are planning on stopping every half hour for 15mins; is this enough?
3. Can we give her glucose water or something for energy or will that be too much for her incredibly run down system to cope with?
4. Obviously plenty of water if we can get her to take it and she will have a small net of well aged hay or should she have nothing food wise whilst she is travelling?
5. Anything else I have missed?

The rest of her rehab is going to be consulting with the vet and any advice any of you on here could offer would be greatly appreciated. We really feel like we have let this girl down and I ma hoping it isn’t too late for her.
 

Ruth_Cymru

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I'm really sorry to read this. I'm afraid I don't have any advice on travelling her, just wanted to say I know how you feel about letting your horse down, I was in a similar situation to you a couple of years ago, and am so glad I took my boy back. I wondered myself if he was just too thin to go on, but he fought back and gave me just under two years of happy ownership before he left me. All I can advise is take it slow with building her back up, and get her on a good field of grass. Good luck
 

kerilli

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i'd say no partitions, huge bed, not a tight rope, so she can lie down if she really wants to. very unlikely, but she might. (foals do for e.g.)
if it's in a horsebox i'd prob leave her loose actually.
i'd give her a haynet of haylage or soaked hay to nibble at, and maybe a few tiny feeds of soaked Graze On or Readigrass when you stop.
well done for getting her back, hope she recovers totally. i'm sure you know that you have to introduce good feed slowly etc.
very best of luck.
 

Theresa_F

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Years ago I bought home from Devon to Essex a very skinny - toast rack 23 year old TB. She was so skinny and down that they had finally stopped riding her and she did look terrible. I only had a single horse trailer to bring her home in as was getting future father in law to tow with his car.

People said I was mad, but I had ridden her several times when on holiday in previous years and she was so sad but honest and I wanted to give her a chance.

I put in a thick straw bed and plenty of hay and did offer water, which she did not want. The journey took about 6 hours as we drove slowly.

She coped very well and was actually quite perky on arrival. When I got her home, I gave her a leg stretch and put her in the stable with just hay. The vet was booked in for the next day to give her jabs and a check up. He was shocked when he saw the state she was in.

She was given ad lib hay, nothing else on the vet's advice. He advised to just give her ad lib good quality hay and grass for the first few weeks, being skinny would not kill her, but too much food could.

Slowly she went on to conditioning cubes, chaff and sugar beet with a good vit and mineral supplement. She was wormed, teeth done and given time to build herself up - it took 8 months as she turned out to be a good doer.

Best £200 I ever spent (I bought her for meat money) Breeze recovered and went on to give me 6 years of fun and pleasure doing everything from hunting to showing and took me to our wedding - she died in 1996 at 29 due to being kicked and her leg breaking and I still really miss her.
 

Spook

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Like others I,d give her a deep bed, but if possible I'd travel her loose without partitions. Good luck, hope all goes well.
 

Farrieress

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Bristol UK
I think you will be suprised at how resilliant horses can be. I wouldn't stop every half hour as this will increase journey length, perhaps stop half way to check and offer water.

Leave her loose and no partitions obviously shut top doors incase she tries to jump out unlikely I know but i rescue many sick animals and nothing suprises me anymore! Make sure ever window vent etc is open, if you are putting a haynet up wet it first she can take moisture from that and make sure you tie it high and put in a deep straw bed.

Good luck hope all goes well
 

silverbreeze

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Cheshire
Thank you for all of your advice. I think it will definately be a partitionless journey and the fact that we have a waggon will alow me to keep an eye on her without having to stop unless necessary.
Theresa_F, your story makes me feel more hopeful and I am sorry you miss your girl
Fingers crossed it's not too late for mine.
 

bailey14

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My first instinct would be to break the journey into three so stop after say an hour, then an hour and a half, then maybe another hour, and then all the way home. Offer her water when you stop, and maybe flavour it with apple juice/concentrate or sugar beet water to encourage her to drink. Keep her tied up if you are travelling in a trailer (cross tied if using no partition) so she doesn't put her head under the breast bar. If its a horsebox I would take out all the partitions but by law you need to provide a breast bar in a trailer. If there is no breast bar and you need to do an emergency stop a thin layer of aluminium seperating said horse from boot of car is not going to prevent your horse from smashing through the front of the trailer. Contary to popular belief a partition will not really offer that much support , she is better to have room to spread her legs to keep her balance, - if you are on a moving bus and you are standing you would spread your legs to keep your balance not keep them close together. Make sure the floor is padded well inside with a layer of straw on top of shavings, or just shavings if you think she may eat the straw (if loose in a horsebox). Bandages would be preferable to boots, especially if travelling in a horsebox (in case she gets up and down during the journey). Supply her with a soaked haynet but make sure it is tied up well and high with bailing twine just in case she does get stuck in it. Just because she is emaciated doesn't mean she will not travel well, nor does it mean she is any less able to cope than another horse, although she will admittedly be weaker so there is more chance for her to become dehydrated. Make sure she has a quiet deep litered stable with plenty of hay and water for when she arrives, and try to keep noise to a minimum. Keep her in a routine so she will settle easier. At the end of the day you might prefer to hire a professional horse transporter. If you decide to go down this route please make sure they are a reputable company as I have had terrible dealings with a transport company previously (please PM me if you decide to go down this route). Finally, I wish you good luck, and bon voyage xx
 

luckilotti

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Lancashire
i am another who is of the opinion to make the journey as short as possible, hence less stops, maybe just stop the once to check on her, offer water?
hope it all goes well and i'm glad shes returning to a fab owner!
 
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