How To Introduce A New Horse To Your Herd

Floyd Fain

November 21, 2017

Introducing a new horse to your herd can be unpredictable. Horses form bonds with each other, and adding in a new horse can disrupt the dynamic. Some horses are more aggressive and can even start up fights.

Follow these tips to ensure your new horse fits in with your herd.

Quarantine The New Horse

Your new horse must be quarantined before introduction to your other horses. This quarantine period should last at least a week. Give it time before letting the new horse come in contact with the other horses.

Tools like brushes and buckets should also be kept separate. Brushes and combs can transfer skin conditions, and used water buckets can spread illnesses. It’s important to protect both your new and existing horses from any conditions the others may have. This gives you a chance to ensure the horse is completely healthy and adjusted.

When turning a new horse out with the herd, look for anything they might trip over when attempting to get away from your other horses. Do not attempt to introduce the new horse until the footing is solid. Muddy or icy conditions pose a threat to all of your horses during a potentially chaotic introduction.

Start From A Distance

Don't jump in on introducing your horses. Go slowly. Bring the new horse on-site but keep him at a distance. Horses are sensitive creatures that need some time to adjust to a new horse in their vicinity.

Keep the new horse in a paddock within a reasonable distance of the other horses. Don't let the new horse share the fence line with the other horses quite yet. This positioning will allow the established horses to become familiar with the new horse's presence. Maintaining distance at the beginning of the introduction will also prevent the horses from hurting one another.

Try to place the new and established horses side-by-side within safe stalls. This is ideal if you only have a couple horses. This setup allows the horses to directly contact one another without the risk of being turned out. Watch your horses closely to check for signs of aggressiveness. If the stall introduction method doesn't work out, the horses likely won't get along in the pasture.

Put The Horses Together

Now that the horses are calm and used to one another's presence, it's time to put them together. The horses will gradually approach one another and likely squeal or sniff. However, as long as they have had time to watch and listen to one another, they will likely get along.

Don't put horses together if you think they may fight. You can also remove the horses' hind shoes if you anticipate kicking. Consider placing distinct piles of hay near the horses during this exercise as a distraction. Keep a close eye on the horses to determine if their personalities mesh. Keep in mind it might take some time for such conflict to occur.

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Red Master Harrow has everything you need for your arena. From drag equipment to watering supplies and beyond, we've got you covered. Give us a call at 866-362-9353 to learn more about our offerings and find out how we can meet your arena needs.

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