New neighbours – 10 ways to make moving to a new yard easy on your horse

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Most horses need to be relocated at some point in their lives. While this can be a stressful experience, there are some ways you can help your horse settle.

1.    Arrange transport in advance, leave plenty of time for loading and unloading.

2.    Turn your horse out on arrival, and maximise his turnout time.

3.    Monitor his reactions – watch for changes in his behaviour that could indicate anxiety.

4.    Monitor his vital signs.

5.    Maintain a familiar feeding regime and routine.

6.    Find him friendly neighbours.

7.    Enrich his environment with a deep bed and an ad-lib choice of forages.

8.    Introduce new horses gradually.

9.    Give him a holiday from work, at least two weeks off to let him adjust to his new surroundings.

10.  Be aware of your body language – if you’re feeling nervous in your new surroundings your horse will pick up on it. 

 Develop trust 

If your horse is new to you, or in unfamiliar surroundings, keep him company whenever you can.

  • Take the opportunity to catch up on all the things you’ve been meaning to do at the yard, like cleaning your tack, and just spend time being there – like reading a book in his stable. He’ll appreciate you being around and it will go a long way to establishing a good relationship.

  • Spend time grooming him and finding his favourite itchy spots.

  • Grooming around the base of his neck and withers with your fingers or a plastic curry comb simulates mutual grooming, lowers the heart rate and helps him relax.

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