Traveling With Older Horses

Traveling cross-country with a horse can be an ordeal under the best of circumstances.
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Traveling cross-country with a horse can be an ordeal under the best of circumstances. Add in the geriatric factor, and the potential for problems is immediately compounded.

The aging process takes a toll on all horses, and with that war of attrition, the problem potential when traveling rises in disproportional fashion. If the older horse has weak kidneys, problems with its respiratory system, or some past bouts with colic, you might be touching a match to a medical tinderbox when you load him up and head off for a destination hundreds of miles away.

This is not to say that older horses can’t travel many miles and still be fit and healthy at the end of the journey. The key is starting with a horse which has had good care and sound nutrition throughout its life. If the horse’s system has been compromised as the result of neglect, stress, or overwork during its formative and maturing years, it is a poor candidate for most any endeavor, travel included.

A part of the equine anatomy often adversely affected by the aging process, says Gunda Gamble, DVM, of Riverton, Wyo., is the kidneys. Therefore, it is important that the older horse drink plenty of water during the trip

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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