Introducing a new member to a herd (of one )

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Introducing a new member to a herd (of one )

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        08-22-2012, 12:54 PM
    Green Broke
    Question Introducing a new member to a herd (of one )

    As some of you know, I lost my beloved T 3 weeks ago. My initial plan was to focus on Walka, and in the spring look for an other horse to have with him and to ride.

    As fate sometimes has is, someone approached me about a relative of theirs horse. My friend told this person about my situation with the loss of T and Walka being alone. The owner is looking for a good home for her horse , that is her priority, and if it doesn't work out, will take him back, as she loves him but hasn't time to ride at this stage in her life. Busy with grandchildren, work and travel, so it's understandable.

    So, of course I haven't explored this too much just yet as it was only yesterday that I was approached. But it did get me thinking. I have one large stall that both my horses shared, and they could go into the paddock as they wanted, so no stall door. While this worked beautifully for my two, I am wondering about how to handle introducing a new horse to Walka without either getting hurt.

    This gelding that I will look at (oh dear, I think I'm considering this), is according to the owner, the submissive one. He also makes attachments to another horse/pony fast. He is a 9 yr old gelding, calm and is 3/4 qtr horse and 1/4 draft (not sure if there is any significance to that but decided to add it).

    I've never had to introduce a new horse into the "herd" before, so I'm looking for any advice/insight on how to do so with minimal issues. While Walka is very good with other horses on the trail, in his own domain may be different.

    I do have a large round pen area with in sight of the barn / paddock, and was considering building a temporary lean to to keep the new horse in during the getting acquainted stage.

    So, with all that said, how have you all out there introduced a new horse, and about how long does this stage last/take? As I said, looking for any advice/insight as all the info will be appreciated.

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        08-22-2012, 01:51 PM
    Green Broke
    They definitely should be separated in some form for safety's sake of each horse and to give the new a horse a chance to scope out his new digs without threats and confrontations. It sounds like your round pen idea would do nicely for starters. Some folks institute a quarantine period (perhaps two or three weeks) before letting the new horse make contact with the existing herd. You may want to consider that if you are unsure of the new horse's immunization status, etc. After that you can bring the new guy up the paddock fence to let them sniff and say hello. There may be snorting, striking and squealing or there may be relatively calm 'hale fellow well met' responses. If it looks like they've each accepted the other right off, then you could put the new guy in the paddock (under your supervision of course). If it looks like they are uncertain of each other then more meetings over the fence will need to be held until they settle (and that will take as long as it needs to take but as a generalization look at a week's time). Once they are together in the paddock, they will establish their pecking order.

    One thing though -- be prepared that even if the two new ones get along in the paddock, they may not get on in a shared stall (I assume you mean stall and not run in shed) so they may need their own private quarters if they are to be stalled.

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