Kicking. Biting. Bullies. Grade school? No. Horse pasture. Get ready for a new horse introduction by following these simple steps.
Watch your horses. Study the ‘pecking order’ so you can predict who might be a trouble-maker and who will be the least aggressive. Keep an eye on the lower-level horses who might be looking to climb the equine social ladder. They can be surprisingly aggressive.
Food And Shelter:
If your horses are kept in a stable, it will need to be roomy enough for everyone.
Block off any sheds that may trap a newcomer.
If you feed in the field, feeding stations should be at least 20′ apart.
Let the most dominant horse pick her feeding spot first.
If your fence has square corners, place boards across the corners. This prevents trapping and lets a horse continue his flight around the pasture without slowing. Secure the boards no further than three feet from the existing corners so a curious horse can’t slip under and get stuck in the triangular area.
Pull the hind shoes from aggressive horses to reduce the risk of a kick injury. You’ll want to do the same for the newcomer when he arrives.
Walk around your pasture and think about a panicky, running horse. Look for low-hanging tree limbs, splintered fence boards, parked tractors or harrows…anything that can cause an injury. Horse pasture safety benefitsall your horses, not just the new guy.
Horses like stability. Introducing a new member is stressful to the whole herd (people included). Preparation will go a long way towards a successful introduction.