March 17, 2011

How to haul a horse to Montana :)

The vet was out yesterday to do the barn's vaccinations and worming. I didn't know that they would be out yesterday when I called them to let them know...


I am so excited, that I can't even communicate my level of excitement through writing. Anyway, as it turns out the vet was already scheduled to come to the barn yesterday, so in addition to her vaccinations they would pull a coggins and work up Rose's health certificate while they were there. She also got her feet trimmed yesterday, so I decided to give her the day off, since she was poked and prodded so much in one day. Overly nice concerned owner = yes.

How do you haul a horse into Montana anyway? 
That's the question that immediately crossed my mind and so the research began. If you don't know, Montana is one of, if not the most difficult state to haul a horse into. Given that Oregon doesn't require brand inspection anymore, the potential move was one of the many reasons I got Rose microchiped a few weeks back. Just one more level of  "yeah Mr. State Trooper Person, she is legally MY horse, why don't you scan her microchip?". Not that that is enough, or even a requirement. You have to have a current coggins, health certificate done in the last 30-days, brand inspection if you have one (and you have 30-days to get a MT brand inspection once entering the state) and/or bill of sale. In addition, all the info that goes with the coggins and health certificate must state the days of travel, day of arrival, location of arrival, and local contact information. Luckily, I'm good at moving, I've done it A LOT, so we already have all those details nailed down.

How do you haul a horse on a long trip?
The reality of it is that I'm more worried about the actual act of hauling her than crossing the border. We've never hauled her anywhere for longer than 1-hour, so 12-hours is certainly going to be a trial for her. In addition, I've never hauled a horse for that long either. So, new experience for us all. Luckily spring is here, and we won't be hauling her over snowy passes in negative degree weather. One less thing to worry about.

The plan is to:
  • Haul her loose (we have a big 2-horse slant) I need to put down shavings?
  • Stop every 2-hours for a 20-minute rest break and water (with apples cut up in the bucket to encourage drinking). 
  • Break the drive up into two days with an overnight at the halfway point in the Spokane, WA/Post Falls, ID area. I think we have a place figured out, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear it.
  • Hard wire our "Trailer Eyes" video camera to the trailer/truck so that we don't have to replace the 9V battery every two hours.
So that's the big news and the beginnings of our moving plan. It will be so nice to live in our big old house again. Three years paying on a mortgage for a house you aren't living in is not my idea of a good time and I don't suggest anyone try it. Unless of course you are independently wealthy, then go for it! It was fun to pretend that we had a "vacation home" for a while, but really, when you do the math it's much better to rent a condo at the ski hill when you actually go on vacation. Way less maintenance, bills, headache, etc.

Happy St. Patrick's day everyone...I hope you are wearing green!

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  1. AW YAY! that is sooo sooo soooo excited!!! I think your moving plan sounds like a great one! She will appreciate the overnight stay and the frequent stops. You are such a good horse mommy.
    On a side note, I will be sad that you won't be around when we make our Oregon trip to meet Gatsby (if we can get her prego!). But it's completely understandable! lol

  2. How exciting!! So glad you get to go home.

    We put down shavings for every trip over 3ish hours. I don't know if it makes that big of a difference for the horses, but it's something.

  3. I'm so excited for you! And it sounds like you have a solid plan. :)

  4. How exciting! I love Montana!
    Since I have quite a bit of experience hauling horses extremely long distance's (5-48 hour trips), here is what we do:

    We use shavings, and lots of them. Some people don't like too, but it does help cushion the floor plus soaks up pee!

    We haul so many horses, so they are all tied. We keep hay AND water in front of them at all times. Every stop we make we refill the water buckets and hay bags, and we stop every 2-4 hours for approx. 20-30 minutes each time. Horses before humans!

    Certain horses will go on Ulcer medication 2 days before we leave and also during the trip.

    We only layover on the really long trips, where the horses get unloaded and stay overnight in a stall, other then that we haul straight through.

    We keep a med trunk in the tack room of the trailer easily accessible with almost every med you can think of. We rarely have to use anything, but you just never know.

    We have never had any serious problems hauling long distances, and the horses all do really well.

    I am sure everything will go well, and sounds like you have a really good plan! Any other questions, shoot me an email!

  5. I've hauled two horses now from the Northwest. I bought my filly from the Portland area and hauled her back as a 6 month old weanling. We hauled her loose with shavings. We overnighted in Spokane at the big Sporthorse facility there and it was very nice and very reasonable. We also stopped for breaks along the way and she did great.
    I got my TB from the Seattle area and did that trip back in one day. It was a bit too long. If I had to do over, I would have overnighted in Spokane again. We closed the TB up in the front of the slant load trailer because the previous owner thought it would be easier for him to ride with the support and something to lean on. He rode great but didn't drink a drop until we got home. And he was really ready to get out of that trailer! Again, I wish we had decided to spend the night in Spokane. But, he did fine anyway. It's probably a good idea to carry some banamine and butte and maybe some Ace along with you. I never needed it but better safe than sorry.

  6. Thanks HeartLazyH! We've coincidentally booked at the Sport Horse place in Spokane, so it's good to hear a good review as I've not visited the barn. Knock on wood/barring any travel complications (, we'll be home in Bozeman this time next week. Can't wait!



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