Written by Kate Stone.
Every teenager knows how fast the summer flies by, and the summer after you’ve graduated high school goes quicker than ever! Between riding, grad parties, and summer festivities your whole summer feels completely booked! And if you choose to go on to college/university you have that to worry and stress about. If you’re an equestrian who has decided to continue riding in college and own a horse, you will most likely either sell/lease or take your horse with you.
Moving a horse to college
I have chosen to take my horse with me to college and board him at the stable at which my college IHSA team rides. The stable provides lots of turnout, trails, indoor/outdoor arenas, etc. My horse has been boarded at his original barn for over half of his life. He is my first horse, and there is so much involved with moving him. I think I have spent more time getting things lined up for him than I have for myself!
The first thing I did was check with my boarding agreement for the new barn to see if he needed any vaccines that he did not receive in the spring as well as when he would need them. We noticed he needed the Potomac Horse Fever Vaccine. The boarding agreement also noted that he needed a Coggins within 30 days of moving in. I also emailed the barn and asked what grain they feed so I could order a bag and get my horse weaned on it before moving him to help with the transition. Then I checked his vet records to see when he was last floated and found out he was floated last year. When we went through the pre-purchase exam in January ’15, the vet noticed a few sharp spots and noted he would need to be floated again this fall. After doing these things, I called the vet and scheduled the following: the vaccine and the floating. Then I ordered the new bag of feed to help with the weaning process. I will also be scheduling an appointment for a Coggins closer to moving day.
In the boarding agreement, it noted the farrier the barn uses. Make sure to check when your horse is going to be needed a trim or to be reshod by the new farrier and schedule the appointment. Try to coordinate with your new barn to get on a routine with the other horses.
I have been working on a packing list of the things he/I will need at college. such as saddle, girth, a set of polos, saddle pad(s), grooming, blanket(s) (seasonal), etc. Thankfully I will only be an hour and a half away from home so if I needed anything I forgot, I could get it. Pack for the season if possible since you might be limited on storage room.
Unless you own a trailer, you will need to schedule your horse to be trailered by a trailering company or friend who has a trailer. I am also visiting with my college to discuss a move-in day, as well as his stall location and the typical day routine in the barn. A visit like this is also an opportune time to ask any other follow-up questions.
Before leaving your current barn, remember to pack hay from your current barn for your horse as well as grain (unless you have taken the step to wean them on the new feed before the move). Also make sure to bring a copy of their full medical record in a binder or folder to have with you at your new barn in case there was any trouble transitioning. Clear your schedule for the few days after moving in so you can be in the barn or be available if you are needed in case of an emergency. Being around your horse while he/she is transitioning is going to help them as you are the only thing they will be familiar with in the new environment. I will be putting my horse’s hay in a net as that keeps him busy as well as making sure his Nose-It treat toy is in his stall for him to play with. Prior to moving him, I will make sure my horse is consistently worked so he does not have any extra cooped up energy.
Every horse is different, and you know your horse best. If your horse has been moved before they might transition better than a horse who hasn’t been moved, or it could be the complete opposite. You just never know with horses, which makes it important to be prepared. By completing a few extra steps you can help ensure an easy transition for your horse. Moving can be very stressful on both the horse and owner especially when the owner is an incoming freshman!
Plan as far ahead as possible to ensure everything gets done in time. You can even create a calendar to keep track of everything. Make sure to keep in contact and communicate with your vet, farrier(s), current barn owner/manager, and new barn owner/manager.