We're bringing our horses home- what to expect?
   

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We're bringing our horses home- what to expect?

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  • Things to expect with a horse in a new home
  • What should i do when i bring my horse home for the first time

 
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    04-01-2010, 02:42 PM
  #1
Started
We're bringing our horses home- what to expect?

My parents recently purchased an eight-acre farmette (I'm extremely excited) and we're planning on moving our two horses there by the end of April from our current boarding facility. This will be the first time having my horses at home. There's a two-stall barn and a nice, big pasture with lots of trees, so they'll have plenty of shade. I cannot wait until I can see my horses every day.

What kinds of things should I expect when we bring them home? How long should it take them to settle in, and is there anything I can do to make the transition smoother? They're used to being on a 17 acre facility with twelve other horses. I'm just worried about how they'll adjust. Any advice is appreciated!
     
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    04-01-2010, 03:09 PM
  #2
Showing
Congrats! I could go on and on for hours about everything about keeping horses on your own property, but I'll just give you the main problems I've encountered:

1.) Rotate pastures. When it turns to mud, it's really hard to get grass back.
2.) Put clips on all the stall door bolts so they can't get themselves out. My horses are little Houdini minions and will be on a deadbolt in a flash if there's not two locks on every one.
3.) Use hot wire on top of fences! Hot tape is TERRIBLE and my mini mare always breaks the tape and runs the fences through to get out. She can't do that with hot WIRE. Not hot tape.
4.) If you have a manure pile, make sure it is as far away from the barn as you possibly can make it. Give some of the aged stuff to neighbors for gardens, have someone tow it away every few months, or spread it in an empty field (you'll get gorgeous wildflowers if you spread it in a field), but don't dump it close to the house in summer from laziness when it's 20 times harder to get it through snow to take the wheelbarrow to the pile versus summer. In summer, take it as far away as you can because you'll want the space closer to the barn for winter so you don't have to go as far through feet of snow.

Those are just the realizations I've come across over the years. I have a few great books that tell you everything you need to know. These three are the best and do the greatest job of explaining:

*Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill
*A Horse in Your backyard by Virginia Clemens
*A Basic Guide to Horse Care and Management by Bruce Mills and Barbara Carne.

I highly reccomend getting these. I can scan a few pages for you and send them via Private Message if you need.

With regard to settling in, if they have each other they'll usually be fine. Barn cats are good because they provide companionship, and also keep the mice population down. You'll have either mice or rats, not both, pray it's mice as they're a lot more friendly-looking if you happen to come across one dead in the water bucket!

On that note, use a trough outside for water. My horses have access from their stalls to the main pasture no matter what, unless it's very cold--then we shut their doors so they stay in their stalls. My horses were afraid of the water heater that goes in the trough in winter, so I had to take it out and do it the old fashioned way....cracking the ice, etcetera. Only fill it halfway so if it freezes and you can't crack the ice, you can still put half a trough of water on top of it and still have something for them to drink. Water buckets in the stalls are a pain in the butt....especially heated water buckets. I eliminated all water from the stalls; they have to go outside to drink.

Again, good luck and feel free to message me with any questions!

Equiniphile
     
    04-01-2010, 03:27 PM
  #3
Showing
If the horses start to nibble on the trees, immediately wrap them with chicken wire (the trees not the horses) It doesn't take long for a couple of horses to eat the bark off an entire tree, thus killing the tree.
I agree with Equiniphile, its good to have a sacrifice lot to keep them in. It doesn't have to be huge, just someplace to bring them when the pasture is muddy or when it begins to get overgrazed. I have a 2 acre lot for 4 horses if that gives you some idea on a size.
     
    04-01-2010, 03:53 PM
  #4
Started
All the above tips are excellent.

My horses came home this past July... it took them about a week to be okay with everything, but a month to be totally back to their relaxed selves. They were just a little jumpy at odd things/noises, which is understandable because they were at their last stable for 5 years.

But, you'll love having them home! It's sooo nice to look out the windows and see them :)

Oh, and if you're switching vets I would call the new one about a week before they come home and get them set up in their "system". Give them your address and all their info so if anything happens they all of their info already.
     
    04-01-2010, 04:59 PM
  #5
Showing
^Agree with the vet thing.

And horses thrive on schedules, so they're probably used to being fed at like exactly 7:15 in the morning and 7:15 at night (just an example)....You probably wouldn't want those hours IMO lol. I feed at about 10 and 10. Make sure it's 12 hours apart. If you're going to be switching from let's say 7:15 to 9:00, don't do it all at once. The first day feed dinner 15 minutes later, and same with breakfast, same thing the next day, and the next, until you're at the schedule you'd like. Little adjustments. The same theory goes for feed, if you'll be switching from one to the other. Gradual. Mix them while he's still at his old stable, a little less of his normal feed and a tiny bit of his need feed. Gradually increase the new feed ratio untilt you're not feeding them any of their old feed.

Salt blocks....I keep one by the water trough at all times. I used to keep one in a holder on the wall next to their feed buckets, but they destroyed them so I now have to keep them on the ground, and outside by the water so they can drink the water after they get thirsty from the salt/mineral blocks.

When you strip stalls (you'll obviously clean every day, but stripping them completely--yes, even under the stall mats lol) you take everything out, including unsoiled shavings because they'll most likely be filthy after a week. You might want to use lime, stall dry, etcetera underneath the shavings so there's no flooding after you remove all the pee that gets caked under the mats. (hey, sorry to get graphic but it's how I think in horse terms haha). Okay so when the urine gets caked under the mats it gets messy and stall dry works well. I've heard lime does as well, but I've never tried that.

You probably know this already, but obviously don't bathe them unless it's 80 degrees + out, as they can get colds and chills with a considerable amount of wind or coldness.

Do you need grooming tool suggestions? What I have in my barn is a hanging thing about 4x3 feet that has pockets for all my grooming tools. I have sweat scrapers for getting them dry after a bath, a shed flower for getting dried mud off and shedding season, 2 jelly mit things for getting dirt up and bringing dust to the surface--works amazing; favorite took in the barn, I have a ton of hard brushes, some medium brushes, and a very soft brush that's like a poilisher. I also have mane combs (I have a ton of fine- and wide- tooth combs, but my fav is this: Country Supplies | Oster Mane & Tail Brush | Ariat Apparel) I have like 7 hoof picks--do NOT get the cheap but cool-looking folding metal ones. They don't work for crap. They're supposed to be "trail hoof picks" for emergencies if you get a rock stuck in his hoof, but IMO why not just carry a real hoof pick in your backpack? Idk. Anyway....I think that's it. Oh, and I have a few curries that rarely get used because I have my jelly scrubbers for that that work ten times better.

Let's see what else....depends on how destructive your horses are, but mine have torn down all of their plastic feed buckets, and it really ticks me off because now I have to feed them their grain on the ground.

Watch out for dangerous weeds in the pastures!! And holes! Can't stress this enough! Weeds dangerous to horses are found here: Poisonous Weeds. Some can even cause paralysis and such. Holes are....bad if they fall in them, let's just say that. Walk every inch of those pastures and trails to make sure there's no bad holes......hole+horse=no riding for a while. If you find some, fill some clay in them and you'll be good.

Anything else I can think of I'll make sure to post.

Oh--When you dump dirty water buckets (which you should give a good scrub-down weekly) dump them AWAY from the barn so they don't run back in the barn and cause flooding.
     
    04-01-2010, 05:27 PM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessabel    
My parents recently purchased an eight-acre farmette (I'm extremely excited) and we're planning on moving our two horses there by the end of April from our current boarding facility. This will be the first time having my horses at home. There's a two-stall barn and a nice, big pasture with lots of trees, so they'll have plenty of shade. I cannot wait until I can see my horses every day.

What kinds of things should I expect when we bring them home? How long should it take them to settle in, and is there anything I can do to make the transition smoother? They're used to being on a 17 acre facility with twelve other horses. I'm just worried about how they'll adjust. Any advice is appreciated!
Woohoo! That is sooo exciting! You lucky girl! I used to keep my horses at home and it was AMAZING. It's going to absolutely awesome for you!

They will settle in just fine. I have never had a problem with any of my horses. They naturally walk or run the fence line, the first time they are placed into the pasture. Make sure you have good running water and have some hay as back up. Make sure you have a good vet kit and all emergency contacts set up in a place that is accessible.

Equini pretty much summed it up. I think you'll find the only extra work you have to think about is all the winter feedings, and the shots/deworming on your own. Everything else is so much easier! You can head outside anytime you want, you can watch them from the window, you just do sooo much more. That is so exciting!

Definitely make sure to post some pictures!
     
    04-01-2010, 05:48 PM
  #7
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by My2Geldings    
Woohoo! That is sooo exciting! You lucky girl! I used to keep my horses at home and it was AMAZING. It's going to absolutely awesome for you!

They will settle in just fine. I have never had a problem with any of my horses. They naturally walk or run the fence line, the first time they are placed into the pasture. Make sure you have good running water and have some hay as back up. Make sure you have a good vet kit and all emergency contacts set up in a place that is accessible.

Equini pretty much summed it up. I think you'll find the only extra work you have to think about is all the winter feedings, and the shots/deworming on your own. Everything else is so much easier! You can head outside anytime you want, you can watch them from the window, you just do sooo much more. That is so exciting!

Definitely make sure to post some pictures!
I know what you mean, I'm sooo excited! It's all the more exciting because things at the boarding barn aren't real great and I don't think I'll miss it at all. I already do their fall shots and deworming myself, so it should be pretty easy for me to adjust. My horses have been kept at the same stable for five years, so I was just worried about how they will handle the change. I will post pictures as soon as I can get out there with the camera. :)
     
    04-01-2010, 05:57 PM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vidaloco    
If the horses start to nibble on the trees, immediately wrap them with chicken wire (the trees not the horses) It doesn't take long for a couple of horses to eat the bark off an entire tree, thus killing the tree.
I agree with Equiniphile, its good to have a sacrifice lot to keep them in. It doesn't have to be huge, just someplace to bring them when the pasture is muddy or when it begins to get overgrazed. I have a 2 acre lot for 4 horses if that gives you some idea on a size.
I think the pasture is about 3 acres, but I'm not sure. There are currently 3 horses in the pasture (they'll be gone when we move in) and it seems to support them pretty well. There are a few high-traffic areas that need to be reseeded and the poop needs to be scraped out. We'll have it fixed up by the time we bring the horses. The pasture might even be big enough to split in half so we can rotate them. And thanks for the advice about the trees!
     
    04-01-2010, 06:05 PM
  #9
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessabel    
I know what you mean, I'm sooo excited! It's all the more exciting because things at the boarding barn aren't real great and I don't think I'll miss it at all. I already do their fall shots and deworming myself, so it should be pretty easy for me to adjust. My horses have been kept at the same stable for five years, so I was just worried about how they will handle the change. I will post pictures as soon as I can get out there with the camera. :)
Oh believe me you won't miss the barn. The only thing you MIGHT miss if you are social butterfly, is the social aspect of the barn. I myself, did a lot of things with my honey so it was usually just the two of us handling our horse. Good for you for doing all the shots on your own. As for the change, maybe move them into the smaller pasture first or paddock(whichever one you have) and see how they settle. Most horses I have had(except for 1), always did just fine being moved to the pasture right away. Just keep a close eye on them for the first couple weeks. You guys will do great.
     
    04-01-2010, 06:30 PM
  #10
Green Broke
For the first several weeks after I moved my horse, we left her stall door open all the time and the gate to her corral open to the pasture when we turned her out as well.

Since she went from a gigantic boarding place (she was pastured boarded with 19 other horses) in the middle of nowhere to small acreage on a really busy street with just her and one other horse, we wanted to make sure that she could always go into her stall or corral if something scared her which she did the first few ambulances, fire trucks, garbage trucks, etc..

For the first couple weeks she basically lived in her stall (by choice!) unless there was a person she could get to and then she followed 1" behind. Once she settled in, she abandoned the stall (she only goes in if it's pouring or snowing on her head) and is usually found as close to the street as she can get, watching all the traffic.
     

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