I’ve never traveled this far with a horse before, OR used a commercial shipper, so any advice is greatly appreciated!
Prep ahead of the trip
– Tris is gradually getting used to wearing his Back on Track products for longer and longer periods of time; that’s his bell boots, front leg quick wraps, and sheet. My plan is to ship him in the sheet and bell boots, and mayyyyybe the quick wraps? The bell boots will also come in handy post-surgery, as they are meant to increase blood flow to the hoof.
– I’ve got the go-ahead to hand walk, and so every day we are going to do a deep groom, 20-30 minutes of hand walking, some stretching, and start practicing some of our in-hand trailer loading skills. It’s been 4 years or so since he last loaded on a trailer, and he’s never been great at it. The idea is to keep up his muscle tone and overall movement even though he’s not in work, and to work especially on his “step up” in hand, his cue to take one step forward at a time, which was key to his previous trailer loading. (I had it so ingrained that even when he was overall refusing life, I could usually get him to take a step forward; string enough of those together and he’s on before he knows it.)
– This weekend I’ll pull out our old travel trunk and empty and repack it with things we might need on the trip. That will probably travel down with me in my car, since it’s more “nice to have” stuff than stuff he will need on the trailer itself. In there will go things like a backup halter and lead, any other blankets I might want to bring, grooming tools in case they let me in with him, that kind of stuff. (I am guessing New Bolton will have far stricter rules than our local equine hospital, who let me take my book into his stall with him.)
– I’ve started shifting money around in and out of various savings, ugh, and stopped spending on anything not absolutely 1000% necessary.
Still to figure out
– Exact shipping dates, and I know this is the way the world works and I know everyone else deals with it all the time but WOW, I can’t even express the heartburn of doing a major trip in two weeks and the plan for shipping being “sure, we can do something around that date, let’s touch base five days out.” I HATE IT.
– Exactly what the hospital needs/wants for him to have while he’s there. Am I going to be that person that brings his hay from home? TBD. How to pack up grain, supplements, etc? Does he need his own buckets? Do I need to label all of his stuff in a specific way?
– I think I have an AirBNB picked out but I need to decided how many days to get it for (see above re shipping) and whether I really need something nicer but a touch further away from the hospital? Pursuant to the questions about the hospital, they’re probably not going to want me sitting around all day (again, bless our regional folks who let me camp out in their waiting room with my work stuff for two days).
– Waiting on a conversation with the surgeon for some last questions, and the one I haven’t asked yet because I can’t quite emotionally wrap my brain around it is prognosis for soundness. All signs point to yes, but ugh, I just can’t quite get there yet.
Planning for aftercare
– I’ve started organizing up all my medical supplies, and bought new stocks of my favorite duct tape (yes, I have a favorite, I have zero shame about this) and Elastikon. God, do I wish something else worked as well as Elastikon because that stuff is so expensive.
– I’ve also put a weather eye on all my commitments for February; I have my leadership training for the first few days after we return but! It’s the only session that will be near where I live already, and just two towns over from Tristan, hallelujah, so I can sneak out early morning or late at night to check and rewrap if I need to.
– In theory, this should be an easier aftercare than last time, so I am cautiously optimistic that the hurdle of the surgery itself will be the worst part.
Anything I’m missing???