Backyard Horse Math (number of horses versus size of trailer)

For the last few years, when I had only two horses in my backyard, taking them to their annual veterinary checkups was a one-trip deal.

Now that I have three horses, I am making more trips. I decided this year that I would take each horse separately to the vet. One at a time. So nobody would be left at home alone.

Some horses do okay with being left behind without company, but in my experience, it is pretty stressful for many equines. Not that trailering alone (or even with a companion) isn’t also stressful for horses. But it strikes me as more stressful to be left behind alone. I’ll have to watch for any research that might compare those two scenarios. That would be interesting to see the results.

So far, I’ve completed two of my anticipated three trips. Bear and Piper both took their individual trips to the vet recently. Shiloh’s appointment is upcoming.

Both Bear and Piper loaded smoothly for each of their trips. And the horses who stayed behind were calm (my husband was left with strict instructions to babysit the horses in the paddock and document any issues- he reported all went well- many thanks to my dear and ever-patient-with-me husband!).

Here are a couple of video clips to show how sensibly both horses loaded. Good boys!

Our trips were short and sweet because neither Bear nor Piper needed a dental float this year. Physical exams, blood draws, and vaccines got completed in short order. Fortunately, I live close to the horses’ vet clinic. We were gone and back within about an hour.

Due to the proximity, making three separate trips to the vet clinic is not that taxing for me or that expensive (even with these frighteningly high gas prices)- especially when compared to the price of a heavier truck and a three-horse trailer.

While ideally I’d like to have something larger to evacuate all horses at once in case of emergency, I don’t see that happening (again, the price of a heavier truck and larger horse trailer is prohibitive).

Readers may recall that I added a third horse (Piper) to my herd last year. I wanted to be able to take one horse out to ride without having to drag my retired horse, Bear, along with us to avoid leaving Bear at home by himself. That has yet to actually happen, but plans are in the works.

Also, with Bear turning 27 this year, I was concerned about Shiloh being left behind alone (if Bear, who is 8 years older than Shiloh, should die first). Of course, sometimes those situations can’t be avoided. But while I am able to have three horses, it is one less worry on my mind.

Sometimes I think about the time period when I kept four horses while still having a two-horse trailer. I would take two horses with me to an event and leave the other two horses at home. Everyone either had a companion to stay behind with in the paddock or a companion to travel with in the trailer. It all added up nicely.

Could I care for four horses again? Would the increased work and expense of my keeping four horses versus three make it worth it to me now? After all, I am older, more prone to fatigue/pain and find this sky-high inflation worrisome. Nevertheless, it’s something I occasionally contemplate, even though the prospect of enlarging my herd doesn’t seem likely.

Any way you slice it, backyard horse math can get complicated. 🙂

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