Even seasoned horse owners find it exhilarating to purchase a new horse and add them to their herd. Likewise, it’s also an interesting time for the horse since it will have a change of scenery. Knowing the most effective strategies for acclimating a horse to its new home does wonders for you and your new buddy.
Prepare for Their Arrival
Until your horse arrives, you will need to prepare a few essentials. Ensure that you have enough hay or that your horse’s grazing grass is lush and plentiful and an accessible source of fresh, clean water to encourage them to drink. Also, check that your horse has a place to seek refuge.
You may choose to prepare a stall if you plan on stabling them daily. In that case, the bedding, hay, and water should be readily available as soon as they arrive.
Finally, have a veterinarian examine your new horse to verify they aren’t harboring any illnesses. You don’t want to bring an ill horse to your farm, especially if their sickness is contagious.
Slowly Change Their Feed
Initially, it’s best to continue feeding your new horse the same diet it received before relocation. Perform any future feed adjustments gradually. If the horse isn’t familiar with pasture life, you should also slowly expose it to the grassy fields. A rapid shift from hay to pasture grass might result in excessive bowel movements and possibly laminitis.
Meet the Family
Assuming that this isn’t your only horse, you’ll need to eventually introduce them to the rest of the gang. Find an area where the newbie can see the others but not socialize directly. Your equine will need ample time to adapt to its new environment and discover its role with its predecessors. Don’t fret if things don’t go smoothly immediately—everyone will likely be apprehensive at first.
You’ll need somewhere to tether your horse to groom them securely. Grooming is one of the best ways to bond with your new companion. During brushing, your horse may enjoy or detest specific brushes or body parts, so you’ll need to iron out the kinks with trial and error. A surefire way to have them feel loved is scratching their bellies—most horses love that!
Ticket To Ride
Acting on all the previous steps should allow you to hop on your horse and ride them. Remember that your horse will be in a different setting, which may impact its behavior during the first ride. Be stern but not too demanding in the fields or on a trail. Taking it nice and easy is a safe way for both parties to familiarize themselves. Like dogs, horses are inquisitive, so don’t worry if they stop and sniff an inordinate amount.
These steps for getting your horse acclimated to a new home calm the tension of the newcomer and veterans on your property. It can be frustrating when they act out, but the unknown is scary, especially for a horse. Patience is key to success.