Owning a horse for the first time or adding a new one to your string is always an exciting moment. While acquiring the herd’s latest member is relatively easy, bringing it home could become a challenge. This is why we are giving you some tips on how to welcome a new horse to your barn.
The first thing to remember is to plan—create a list of its needs, secure the papers and materials, and make it feel at home when it arrives. Do take note of these reminders below!
1. Book it! Before the horse leaves for its new home—your barn—it’s essential to learn about its vaccinations and other health matters. Even better, write it down and book the dues ahead of time. It would help if the seller could have the horse shod and dentist visit before taking him home. If your horse arrives desperately needing shoeing or with sharp teeth, it doesn’t give your horse much time to settle in before you need to see the professionals. Also, think about what you will use to ride; if there is no option to buy his saddle, book in a saddler to come as soon as possible.
2. Get to know your horse. For a harmonious relationship from day one, it’s best to ask the seller for advice. You would want to know what his likes and dislikes are, his current routine, and exercises he used to do. While it might not be possible to emulate this routine exactly, having an idea of work and daily routine could help with planning when he or she arrives at your yard. Asking the seller what size rugs, tack, and other essentials also allows you to gather some items before their arrival.
3. Prepare for its diet. Don’t change your new horses’ diet immediately on arrival! Have its current feed on stock, then gradually transition to your preferred feeds as it adjusts in the new environment. Also, find out which brand of hay and how much your horse consumes.
4. Home sweet home. It’s ideal to put your new horse in an outdoor environment that’s housed apart from the other horses, yet close enough that he can see his neighbors. If it needs to be kept in a stall, consider the same idea of him being close to the whole herd. This allows the horse to feel relaxed and eventually adjust naturally.
5. Be patient. Expect that not all horses are equal—some may adjust quickly to the barn, some may take longer than others. Have a plan for your horse in place but be flexible. Before riding the horse, make sure you have someone who can pick up the reins until you feel confident of getting onboard.
6. Get him insured. Thinking ahead saves you a lot in the long run, and it goes the same for your new horse. Choose an insurance plan covering the necessary things—vet expenses, mortality, personal injury, and third-party liability. Don’t be in haste; be nit-picky when it comes to this matter. After all, it’s your horse’s health in line!
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.