Buying A Horse: What You Must Know Before You Bring Your New Horse Home

by Jason Borchardt - Date: 2007-09-08 - Word Count: 603 Share This!

Introducing a horse to a new environment can be stressful for you and your horse. Here are some steps to take to reduce the stress on both of you.

Have Your Horse's Pen or Paddock Ready
Have your horse's pen or paddock ready and waiting. If your horse will have a stall, provide fresh shavings if possible. Welcome your horse home with fresh hay and water as well. The more comfortable and welcome you can make your horse, the smoother the transition will be for your new addition. Don't take this to an extreme, but look at it from the horses perspective. I don't know about you, but I personally like feeling welcome when going to a new place for the first time.

Don't Change The Feed Regiment Overnight
Be sure to ask the seller what feed, hay and supplements the horse is accustomed to so that you can maintain that regiment. If you plan to change the horses diet, you will need to do it slowly to keep from causing colic or other issues with your new horse. Consistency through the feed regiment will also provide your horse with some comfort in a strange environment.

At our barn we take at least a couple of weeks to change over a feed regiment. I will mix 25% of the new feed with 75% of the current feed. Every other day I will slightly change that ratio to eventually be at 100% of the new regiment. After week one we will be (for example) 50/50 on the feed ratio. We also do the same with hay, if we are changing suppliers or if the quality changes significantly.

Colic is basically a belly ache. It can range from mild to severe, and even be fatal. Some signs of colic are change in behavior such as going off of feed, standing alone in an unusual way, pawing at the ground for no reason, rolling and biting at the belly area. All of these are clues that your horse may have a problem and you need to check things out. Call your vet for assistance and instruction.

Make Introductions Slowly
When we bring a new horse to our barn, we introduce the newcomer slowly to the resident horses. The new horse will spend time across the fence, in a safe paddock or pen by itself, for about a week before being introduced in the same pen with other horses. This usually allows the excitement of a new horse to wear off and the introduction is smoother. We also do not put one new horse in with multiple resident horses at one time. We will take time to allow each of the resident horses to get to know the new guy before allowing more than one horse to be in a pen together. Many times when a new horse is introduced into a group of resident horses, the group may pick on the newcomer aggressively to establish a "pecking" order.

Spend Time With Your New Horse
The first couple of days that your horse is in its new home, it is important that you establish yourself as the horses primary source for care and as the master of the barn. This is a time for you to begin to build your relationship with your new horse, and it is critical that you get off on the right foot. Take this time to handle your horse as much as possible and build confidence in your relationship.
Bringing your horse home is a very exciting time for you, your horse, and the horses already on your property. Take steps to make the transition comfortable and safe for everyone involved.

Related Tags: horses for sale, horse classifieds, horse sale, buying a horse, to buy horses, buy horses, horse buying tips

Jason Borchardt has spent his life with horses. He has been involved with many disciplines in the horse arena, from showing, breaking, western pleasure, cutting...the list goes on and on. He currently co runs a family ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where he spends the best part of his days on the back of a horse. His desire is to educate people on buying horses, through, so they don't make the same mistakes he has through the years.

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