Tips to Safely Bring Home a New Horse


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When looking at horses for sale, you’re likely focused on making sure that the horse is a great match for you. But once you’ve bought the horse, you need to turn your attention to bringing home your new horse safely. These tips can help.

Get Feeding Instructions

Before you take your new horse home, make sure that you find out just what he’s been eating. Get details about the type of hay he’s fed, whether he’s used to grass, and what type and how much grain the horse receives with each feeding.

When you bring your horse home, it’s important to follow this diet as closely as possible, at least for the first few days. Sudden dietary changes can cause issues like colic and laminitis. It’s a good idea to buy a few bales of hay off of your horse’s previous owner so you can slowly introduce him to the hay that you’re feeding. The same is true of grain; make sure that you slowly introduce your grain to the horse, while weaning him off of the feed that he was on.

Quarantine

Any time that you bring a horse into your stable, it’s wise to quarantine him. Sick horses may appear well for a few days or a few weeks, and you don’t know what horses your new horse may have come into contact with at his previous home. Quarantining a new horse helps to protect the other horses in your stable, just in case the horse does turn out to be sick.

If you can’t quarantine the horse because of the way your facility is set up, it’s a good idea to board him at a quarantine facility until he does clear quarantine. If you buy a horse from an auction, a quarantine period is a must.

Introduce Turnout Gradually

Once your new horse is home, you’ll need to introduce him to turnout gradually. If you have a smaller paddock where your horse can go out alone, that will let him work off some energy without the complication of meeting other horses.

When it’s time for your horse to go out with a herd, introduce him to herd members slowly, and one at a time. Then, gradually add all of the herd members back in together. Make sure to monitor the turnout group closely for the first week or so, since they will need to reestablish their herd hierarchy, and fights can occur. It may take a little time before you find the right herd for your new horse.

Bringing home a new horse is a thrilling experience. With a few precautions, you can help to keep the horse safe during that initial transition period.

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