New Horse Introduction Preparations

Kicking. Biting. Bullies. Grade school? No. Horse pasture. Get ready for a new horse introduction by following these simple steps.

Herd Dynamics:

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.

Fencing:

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.

Other tips:

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.

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