Any time you get a new horse expect there to be a period of adjustment. It’s advisable to add a new member carefully, as they will need to find their place in the pecking order of the herd. While it can take some time to eliminate squeaks and chasing, the group does usually calm down. These tips should allow for a smooth transition!
Introducing a New Horse
- Quarantine the new horse for 30 days. You’ll want to ensure they’re healthy and don’t pose a risk to the others.
- Walk the new horse along the parameter of the fence to show them their boundaries.
- Allow the horses to see each other and sniff noses. This can be neighboring fields or stalls next to each other. Based on their reactions, you can leave them in this set up for a few days to weeks.
- Next, turn out with the lowest member in the hierarchy. Make sure they both have plenty of space to move away from each other.
- Continue to add new members over the next few days. Watch their reactions carefully before increasing the number of horses.
- Check all horses daily for injuries and unusual behavior.
- If there’s aggressive fighting and constant chasing, it may be time to reevaluate your arrangement. Think about each horse’s individual temperament when creating herds.
You can expect some running and squealing, but if it becomes too rough, then slow down the introduction process.
Many barns simply put the new horse out in the herd and allow them to figure it out amongst themselves, though the risk of injury is greater. A gentle introduction is usually best!