How can I help my new horse settle into a new barn/surroundings?

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How can I help my new horse settle into a new barn/surroundings?

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  • Best way to settle your horse into a new barn
  • How to help horse settle in

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    03-20-2012, 12:57 PM
How can I help my new horse settle into a new barn/surroundings?

I got my first horse 2 days ago. The day I went to look at her, I spent a good 2 hours working with her and riding her. She just turned 10 and has been kept at the same barn where she was born. Also, the barn she was at did not turn the horses out so when I looked at her, she hadn't been out of her stall in 2 weeks...and she was great! I had looked at many horses but she seemed to be the one. The real trouble started once I moved her to my barn. My barn already has 4 horses there. The horses only come in for breakfast and supper, otherwise everyone is turned out together or separated if need be. It has been 2 days (today is the third) and my horse is now a nightmare. She is so overwhelmed and completely freaked out. She continually calls to old barn mates and just gets so worked up. She didn't eat the first day she was there (even though we provided her with the same feed/hay she had been on) and tore down stall boards and doors. It's a disaster. I know she is a good horse. The ppl whom I board with know the previous owner and have been around her off and on throughout the last several years....they say she is great! I understand this is a huge adjustment for her, but with her being my first horse, it's overwhelming and hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We got along so well when she had been in her normal surroundings so it's disheartening to see her so upset. Plus she is in heat...

Last night, after about half an hour of her being led around all worked up, she finally lowered her head, took a huge sigh of relief, and began to finally graze alongside me and a gelding she has made her buddy. That is the first time I've seen her relax since being there.

I know this is a long post, but I'm just wondering if this will subside when she settles into her new life or if she is just too much for me I have leased horses in the past, but have never moved a horse to a different barn.
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    03-20-2012, 04:17 PM
When I first got my mare in December, she was stabled in a garage with no bedding and no hay and a small turnout area by herself. There were no other horses there. We brought her home and she had some trouble adjusting. There are 20+ horses at the barn, all turned out daily in an 85 acre field. She wouldn't eat at first and would panic in the field. She was turned out by herself in a small field first and then after about a week, she was turned out with the herd. She didn't start to settle until about after a month and a half. I spend a lot of time just walking her around the field trying to help her adjust. I also have her on a calming supplement, "SmartCalm Ultra Pellets." This has helped tremendously as she's a very spooky, flighty, nervous horse. If she's been at that barn since she was born, she's going to need some time to adjust. I would turn her out by herself for a while or with her gelding friend to just let her get used to her surroundings and then slowly introduce other horses to her. Have patience, it's only been a couple days.
Kelli and missmeg like this.
    03-20-2012, 04:32 PM
I don't have a real answer for you I just wanted to say I know how frustrating it is. I bought my horse a few weeks ago. Although it's not the same situation here is what happened. We bought a 14 year old horse who was used for lessons and shows. He was being kept outside at this point but after spending time with him we decided to take him home. We got back late so we put him in the barn overnight alone. Now the horse HATES going in the barn he instantly starts pawing. He was very nervous for days of everything.

3 weeks later he has settled down alot. Still hates the barn but we keep bringing him in there and now all we have to do is say hey! And he stops pawing. He is friends with all the horses and is relaxed.

He has now decided to be buddy sour and don't want to leave them and is really testing me!
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missmeg likes this.
    03-20-2012, 04:38 PM
Don't know if this will help, but this is what I do. When I bring in a new horse, I put them in our round pen for the first week. The other horses can visit them but can't hurt them. There is plenty of room to run around and burn off the anxiety they feel ( I have a large round pen). I have never had one hurt themself and by the end of the week when I turn them out with the rest of the herd, they are familiar with each other and the transition goes pretty smoothly. I also spend a lot of time with the new horse grooming them, feeding them and letting them get to know me.
Your horse needs to find her place in her new herd. Like the other person said, it has only been a few days. This is a huge change for her. She will need time.
fkonidaris and missmeg like this.
    03-20-2012, 06:16 PM
I brought home a horse on trial (which didn't work out) in December and had a similar problem. I bought the horse from the breeder, who had always kept her in a small 4-stall barn with a couple of younger fillies and the stallion. There were also broodmares on the property, but they were kept elsewhere.

My barn was a complete change. There are 75 stalls there, and only a couple were empty at the time. I thought I was doing her a favor by getting the double size stall for her, but it turned out the horse next to it was really aggressive towards her and kept trying to lunge over the wall. I knew that horse was aggressive around feeding time, but there had been a horse there for a while and the stall was only free because he died of colic a few week ago. We moved her to a different stall, where she calmed down a little, but was still very agitated. I ended up returning her after about 3 weeks- not because she wasn't able to settle in, because she /was/ noticeably happier after about 2 weeks, but because the seller had grossly misrepresented her ground manners and she was going to need at least a month of full-time training to be safe for me to handle! She objected so strongly to being touched and having her feet lifted that my vet couldn't even complete a vet check! I'm still kind of sad the owner wasn't willing to re-negotiate the price, because I think she would have made a great horse with some better training...

But, yeah, if you've only had her for a couple days, don't give up yet! Some horses settle in faster than others, and I don't think a couple of weeks (or even months) is unreasonable if they're going through a big change like leaving the only home they've ever known!
    03-20-2012, 10:40 PM
Thank you all for the encouragement! I went out to see her this evening and there was already a noticeable change. She was stalled all day (which is what she is used to) and was quiet and calm. Then we got about 20yards from the barn and she started breathing hard and was anxious again. We made a few large circles(getting close to the barn and then back away) and eventually brought out her gelding friend. Eventually we turned them out together and it was great! After about 30min of them being out, we let the other 2 go too. It was unbelievable how calm everyone was when out together! She has made a day and night progress in the last 24hrs....still has a long way to go but I didn't get her with the intent to send her back:)

Again thank you all!!!
fkonidaris likes this.
    03-20-2012, 10:46 PM
That is great!
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    03-20-2012, 10:57 PM
I'm glad she seems to be finding her feet. Poor thing, I hate moving too.
    03-27-2012, 01:33 PM
Just a quick update: after about 5 days at the new barn, she was pretty much completely her old self; the horse I thought I purchased:) I've decided to give her a solid 2 weeks at the new barn before I ride. I have been lunging her daily and I really think she enjoys her new life and new friends! She even gets along amazingly with the mare she at first had issues with:) I cannot wait to spend a lifetime together!!!!
    03-27-2012, 01:36 PM
Green Broke
In a stall for two weeks?!? yikes!!
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