So you’ve found your perfect new partner, he’s passed the vetting and all that remains is to bring him home and start your dream life with your new horse! But, this transition of home might be exciting for you but for him – it can be incredibly stressful – taking him away from his routine, his home and his friends. This is one of the most critical times in the new partnership with your horse and getting it right is vital.
So what can you do to ease his path to new home happiness?
- Consider his current routine and try to emulate it as much as you can at least for the first few days. Try not to make drastic changes.
- Introduce him to his stable where he can feel safe and survey his surroundings in relative security
- When you turn him out into a field, walk him around the perimeter so he can learn where his water can be found. Once he seems relaxed in -hand you can turn him loose
- If possible, turn him into a paddock where he is on his own but close by others that he can see. This will prevent any risk of injury from others pushing and shoving the newcomer out of nosiness or trying to establish a hierarchy but if he can see other horses he should feel more relaxed and not stress. After a few days, try moving another, preferably same sex, or docile horse in with him – and monitor for behaviour
- Find out what his feed routine is and what he has been fed on at his previous home and try to keep to that for at least the first few days gradually weaning him onto your own choice of feeds if you plan to make a change. Don’t suddenly start him on new feeds from day one as this can cause colic
- For your first few rides, try going with another horse and rider. This means he has the security of another horse for confidence in new surroundings and you have the security and safety of another rider in case of any unforeseen wobbles from your new mount
- Make sure there is someone around to help and give you advice. Try and stay in touch with the old owner – they are the best source of knowledge and information about your new horse
- Spend time grooming and being around your new horse to get to know each other
- Finally, don’t overthink it! Expect there to be a few teething issues you hadn’t expected and go with the flow. Enjoy it!!