How To Move A Horse Into A New Home

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Moving horses may seem stressful both for most humans. In addition, an accompanying equine may find it challenging to adjust out of its comfort zone. It is, therefore, essential for horses to be transitioned to their new home with forethought and utmost care.

In general, horses are prey animals with an inherent nervousness in them. Besides, they are susceptible to various diseases and medical conditions like colic. Therefore, injury and sickness must be avoided at any cost to make their new homes free from any safety hazards.

Just as bringing home a horse is exciting, it is crucial to plan the animal’s arrival and transition into the new house. This article will offer a complete guide on planning and preparation necessary for moving the horses into a new home.

Preparations at home before the horse’s arrival

 Considering the diet of the horse.

To avoid any drastic changes in diet, one must be aware of the horse’s dietary needs beforehand. Accordingly, plan the horse’s diet at the new home to prevent encountering unwanted health issues.

Switching feeds or pastures without prior knowledge can cause severe laminitis or even colic issues. Instead, gradually minimise risks and offer a safer transition when moving onto a new home. Over time, the equine’s digestive system will adapt more efficiently to the dietary changes, if any. Hence, having some old feed of the horse at hand may help.

If, under any circumstance, the owner is willing to make some changes in the horse’s diet at the new home, follow the rules below to create the new feeding plan.

  • Try replacing at least 25 per cent of the current feed with the newly designed feed for switching grains. Keep doing this until the horse is fed 100 per cent of the news feed.
  • For making changes in the forage, keep maintaining the 25 per cent feed method. Try incorporating the new hay with the old hay. Keep doing so until the horse is entirely accustomed to the fresh hay.
  • The grazing time must be restricted to one to two hours a day for the first couple of days. This will allow the horses to get accustomed to the rich grass of the new landscape. You can find houses suitable for the equine and its owner on our website. Besides, it reduces the risk of getting an upset stomach and irregular digestion. Begin by feeding ample hay to the horse and gradually increasing the turnout time.

Designing stalls

If the horse is to be kept at a stall, ensure the stall has adequate room and offers a safe enclosure within the room. A standard stall is usually 12 feet by 12 feet in size. It is usually enough space for a normal-sized horse to move around the stall or even lay down comfortably as well.

The next factor to consider when designing stalls is the partition walls. They must be at least eight feet in height to prevent the horses from getting their legs caught rearing up or kicking. Usually, barns are free of any ceiling and are open to the rafters. Besides, a standard doorway opening of a stall is between 42 inches to 45 inches wide. This width is sufficient for both the handler and the horse to move around within the stall and exit it safely.

The stalls must have a good square window of around four feet for proper ventilation and natural lighting. When putting electric lighting within the stall, ensure it’s above eight feet high. This prevents the horse from reaching it and is generally placed along the sidewalls or the front. For the greater safety of the horse, the electric wiring of the light is put in a plastic conduit to keep it out of their reach.

The wall interiors must be free from any sharp edges. For example, hardware is used to hang hay bags and water buckets; they should be rounded edges. In addition, the stall floors must be suitable for the horses. A standard muddy floor can be challenging to keep clean.

Usually, a stall floor must not absorb much moisture from horse urine, manure, or food and water. Therefore, cover the floor with pine shavings to keep it free from moisture lock. A good suggestion would be using concrete floors covered with mats. First, however, make sure the horse is comfortable with it. If not, keep the former option for making suitable stall floors.

Safe paddock and pasture fencing

Most fences are made of wood wire. Hence, they may not be safe for the horses. An outdoor paddock or pasture is a natural way to keep the horses healthy and thriving when moved to a new home. It is a healthy alternative to keeping the horses installed.

Construct the fences for horses in a way that they are expected to run into them, even if it’s by accident. Usually, wood board fences are most suitable with boards set on the inside of the posts to withstand them from popping off.

If it’s wire fencing, it should be woven and strong to avoid barb wire strands from falling out. If they get tangled within the wires, they may fight their way out. Likewise, they may want to severely injure themselves in the process due to the sharp tongs on the barbed wires of the fencing.

Typically, fences are four and a half feet to five feet from the ground. To begin with, the first board must be around eight inches from the ground level. Ideally, a fencing design for horses would be a v-crimp wire with a top board.

Scheduling treatments

When a horse is moved into a new home, specific treatments must be scheduled for the equine. It may include worming, trimming, and/or dental treatment. Besides, one must find out if there are any region-specific vaccines that the horse may need upon their transition into the new home. The treatments must be carried out before the transfer finally takes place. It prevents any unwanted stress the horse may undergo if suddenly pulled into a new environment.

Looking for veterinarian and farrier nearby

If a family with horse/s are moving to a new country, they must look for recommendations regarding farriers and veterinarian doctors in the new country. This helps to note down important contacts in case of any emergency condition. Besides, a query can be made regarding veterinarian checks if they are hired with any help from any international transport company. One must also arrange first aid kits for both horses and humans.

Grooming supplies

Standard grooming supply checklist must include grooming brushes, feed bins, water buckets, hoof pick. Oil and brush, sponges, sweat scraper, stall hay bag, leg wraps, hoof boots, and fly spray. Keep extra supplies around the barn.

An essential factor to remember is to avoid sharing the grooming supplies with other horses. Infectious diseases may be spread if the personal hygiene and supplies of the horses are not taken care of. A good practice is to wash the grooming tools between usage. In addition, separate grooming tools for horses ensure safer and more stable hygienic conditions.

For instance, rain rot can be highly contagious for horses. Ence, mere washing won’t be capable of killing the infectious bacteria. Therefore, it is recommended to keep separate tools like a metal curry comb, a rubber curry comb, a stiff brush, and a soft grooming brush.

Besides, it is crucial to buy lead ropes and new halters to bring the horses to their new homes. Preferably, leather halters are used due to their ability to break under pressure. Nylon halters may also be used equally well. However, some people encounter their horses getting hanged up due to nylon halters, causing severe damage.

Other necessary preparation before the horse arrives.

Transport organisation

To get ready for the transportation process, place all the necessary aid kits, equipment and tools in an arranged order. Leave out the halter and the rope outside. Ensure to carry extra supplies, halter, and ropes if unwanted damage and broken supplies are found. Try not to involve the horse in extensive exercise a couple of days before the travel day.

Updated vaccination results

Every horse before their travel must be thorough with all the relevant vaccination tests. An essential test for equines is the Coggins test. It checks whether the horse is infected by equine infectious anaemia. The EIA is a very contagious disease locally known as swamp fever.

In some horses, EIA may cause fatal damage. However, they show minimal wear in others but may remain carriers of the disease for life. As a result, they may pose severe threats to the other house in the community. EIA is capable of causing death in horses. Hence, every horse community and the owner must carry out an annual Coggins test on their horses.

When the horse is moved into a new home, the stress of being infected increases; due to this reason, the immune system of the horses being transitioned may weaken. To prevent any such infectious disease, demand a copy of the vaccines taken by the horse and the Coggins test, and the wellness check from the horse veterinary camp or hospital. The horse and its owners must also undergo a deworming program upon arrival at the new home.

Passport of the horse

For horses travelling across the country, check their passports beforehand to meet the travelling requirements. This prevents any unwanted halt or fine affecting the travel of the horses. Hence, organise the travel documents ahead to avoid getting stuck in the trailer or truck with the horses.

Communicating and training horses with the loading process

Try communicating with the horses beforehand. They need to resonate with the upcoming changes to travel stress-free. The loading process also needs prior training. The owner or handler must not be under the notion that the horse will be willing to load into the trailer automatically.

The horse needs to get habituated to the idea of moving into a trailer and travelling into a whole new place. Therefore, it’s a process that requires adequate time and effort. Hence, practising the loading and unloading process before the travel day can reduce the stress of travelling safely to the bare minimum.

Insurance to pick up and transport the horses

People who want to ensure their horse needs to confirm the full coverage effect before picking up the horse into their new homes. This helps take care of the horses if any emergency arises due to unwanted accidents during travel.

Based on the animal, the equine insurance costs are made. Typically, the annual premium value is around 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the animal’s worth. At times, insurances are also available for young horses.

Load the horse stress-free

On the day of loading, the owner tries to maintain calmness. If one travels with a transporter, it may take some time for the horse to get accustomed to the truck or the trailer. Horses are very instinctual by nature. They may begin mirroring their owner’s feelings long before the handler realises. Therefore, the owner must remain calm for their horses to travel without feeling stressed safely.

Moving to a new location

Long-distance transportation requires the following considerations.

  1. Horses usually take a diagonal position when given a choice on the road. Therefore, oblique loading is recommended over straight loading.
  2. Horses naturally find it less stressful when they can move their head freely. Therefore, keeping them tied loosely reduces any risk of shipping fever.
  3. Adequate fresh air and ventilation are crucial for the horses when travelling.
  4. Avoid having the horses remain on empty stomachs for long. This is especially true when one is travelling long distances. This may cause an acidified stomach, causing further equine digestion issues. Hay is high in fructan and low in protein, offering the right energy to the travelling equines. Keep enough fresh hay and feed within the trailers at all times.
  5. Ensure the trailers have enough water to keep the horses hydrated throughout the journey.
  6. Flooring is another crucial factor in providing comfortable bedding to travelling horses. Enough wood shavings ensure they urinate with ease.
  7. A skilled driver is essential for a smooth and comfortable ride for both the owner and the horses travelling to their new homes.


Wrapping up!

Moving into a new home can be highly stressful for the horse. Keep watching for any signs of illness or problems. Commonly faced issues could be weight loss, eating, and digestive issues. Check up with a veterinarian to evaluate the health of the horse. The horse must be accustomed to a proper feed, hydration, paddock, and other facilities to settle down. Usually, a horse may need a few days to a couple of weeks to feel at home in a new place. However, each of them adjusts based on their given situations. Make sure not to rush them to comfort and safety under any condition.






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