Does is take 3 months for a horse to settle in its new home? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Does is take 3 months for a horse to settle in its new home?

I am trying out my first horse on Sunday and I have an agistment place 2 minutes away from me and I was thinking whilst our fencing isn't the greatest we could keep the horse at the agistment for about 4 months until we can finish our fencing.. It's also owned by experienced horse people to help me out if I ever feel stuck in a situation. This crazy horse woman (yes, she is crazy.. Long story lol) said it takes 3 months for a horse to settle into its new home. I don't actually believe that, I thought 1 week was the most. Then she goes on about if you put him in 2 different places he will get stressed out and then won't eat and get colic and I wouldn't be able to ride him for 6 months!? I don't know what to do, I don't know if she is right or if she is wrong but I found she is really rude and one of those know it alls who base a horse on the breed (she's trying to stop me from buying an Arab/welsh). What do you guys think, because I trust you guys lol. Thanks :)
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 08:00 AM
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Adjustment time depends on the horse. Some horses take longer then others so saying 1 week, two weeks, or 20 days is arbitrary.

I think a lot has to do with the experience of the horse, and their personality. If it has traveled a lot done shows, and rides away from home, ect I would think the adjustment period would be shorter then one who has been in the same place its whole life and is then uprooted.

I have one horse who travels well and adjusts to new surroundings, his motto seems to be home is wherever there is food. My other one is sensitive by nature, hates traveling and has a more difficult time adjusting to anything. Both extremes on the spectrum of adjustment.

I think when moving a horse to a new environment it is important to keep things as normal as possible. Keep the same feed, keep the same feeding schedule, if you normally ride then keep riding, exercise is good. In any event you will be the constant for your horse.

Most horses will not refuse all food and stop eating. What I fear is some tend to stop drinking, new water for some horses is difficult to adjust to. They colic because they are not drinking enough, and they get an impaction because they are eating, but not drinking.

Getting them to drink can be a challenge, the old adage you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. But you can put some extra salt in the food which helps to encourage drinking, you can feed wet feed like soaked beet pulp and hay cubes, so there are ways to get water into them.

Tell your know it all "crazy horse women", thanks for her opinion. Talk to the owner who actually knows the horse and ask how they think the horse will adjust to new situations.

Good Luck.
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 08:17 AM
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It's going to depend on your horse. When I moved my mare about 3.5 hours away from me. I saw her a few weeks later and while she was MUCH better she is still a bit "on edge". Ironically enough she is the mare I take to shows ALONE. My boss parks the trailer in the lot away from all the other horses and leave me with the trailer and takes the truck home. I'm all alone with her and she is 200% happy to stand there tied up eating her breakfast while I venture off to find the bathroom! Go figure.

So, it's going to depend on your horse and where your brining them, and what their "comfort zone" is like.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 09:49 AM
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My mare has absolutely no issues adjusting. While I hate moving her so often, apparently I keep picking really crappy barns and she's moved 5 times within the past two years, getting ready to move again I'm pretty sure. She'll drop a bit of weight since her grain is usually switched (hay quality is about the same), but I ride her usually as soon as we get there..lol.
Dutch, my new gelding, didn't take too long to adjust, if anything he was a lot calmer after moving him from a 24/7 stall with arena turnout to pasture board. I rode him the same day as well, and that was his first real ride off the track three months ago, he did exceptional.

It really does depend on the horse though. My aunt and I just went in on a horse (my new lesson horse, her trail horse) and he was a complete mess. She was terrified of him and we ended up selling him to a friend of mine who was looking. He took well over a week. He went from calm and lazy to wanting to go go go, spooking at everything, flinching when someone touched him, etc. He was at the same barn, with the same horses, and the same people for 7.5 years. I don't blame him for being a mess, my aunt couldn't trust him after seeing me ride him though (even though he wasn't horrid).

There's absolutely no reason you can't ride them during their adjustment period, nor is a move automatically going to cause a huge colic and you can't ride for 6 months. That's ridiculous, I've never heard anyone (even the know it alls up here) say that.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 10:39 AM
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Some horses do take a while to adjust. Moving is a stressful event, especially when also changing owner, feed, water, herd mates, schedule, etc. And there is definitely a higher risk of colic whenever you switch hay and grain. If the horse won't drink the water at the new place that is also going to increase chances of colic.

My horse is very calm at new places and the day he was brought to my barn I rode him in the crowded arena and he wasn't nervous at all. But it still took about 6 weeks before his personality really started showing through and I would say he had really adjusted to his new life.

But the lady who told you that you can't ride for 6 months is totally wrong. Otherwise people would never be able to trailer out to shows, lessons, or trail rides!
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 10:57 AM
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3 months? Depends on the horse. Depends on the home.

If you spend lots of time with him at the first place, when you move him to your farm it won't be as big a change because you will still be familiar. The location may be different but he will still see you and that should give him some comfort.

Remember that when you change feed, even hay, do it gradually. See if you can buy a square bale off if the farm he is currently at. Then for the first few days feed him from that bale, then do part that and part new hay and then all new hay. Feed changes should also be made gradually.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 10:57 AM
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As long as horses are put into a routine then they soon settle.

It always amazes me when people say they take X Y Z time to adjust. I have never found this and having had hundreds of TBs in from sales and to break for the breeders prior to them going into race training, that most were into a routine and settled within a couple of days.
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 11:02 AM
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Any new horses we have bought settle in quite quickly and normal routine starts right away. But these are horses that have been hauled to shows quite a bit and are use to a change of scenery. Only horse that took about a day to settle in was a mare my husbands parents bred and lived in the same place for 16 yrs and never off their property as a brood mare.
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 11:55 AM
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I know it takes donkeys a month. I learned very quickly that when I got a donkey I would let it out in the pasture and not mess with it for one complete month. After that we where good to go. Messing with it sooner brought out all sorts of bad traits that if left alone for that month wouldn't ever come to the surface.

The horses we have I haven't ever noticed that they took any time to settle. Three of our horses knew each other before they arrived at our place separately and over the course of a few years.

One horse was delivered without me ever having known him before he got here.
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-05-2015, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pony Paradise View Post
I am trying out my first horse on Sunday and I have an agistment place 2 minutes away from me and I was thinking whilst our fencing isn't the greatest we could keep the horse at the agistment for about 4 months until we can finish our fencing.. It's also owned by experienced horse people to help me out if I ever feel stuck in a situation. This crazy horse woman (yes, she is crazy.. Long story lol) said it takes 3 months for a horse to settle into its new home. I don't actually believe that, I thought 1 week was the most. Then she goes on about if you put him in 2 different places he will get stressed out and then won't eat and get colic and I wouldn't be able to ride him for 6 months!? I don't know what to do, I don't know if she is right or if she is wrong but I found she is really rude and one of those know it alls who base a horse on the breed (she's trying to stop me from buying an Arab/welsh). What do you guys think, because I trust you guys lol. Thanks :)
Of course there is going to be an adjustment period the same as if we move into a new house with a different layout. It does not have to be stressful at all and most horses handle it quickly. To put any definite time period on it depends on the horse. One of our boarders had everything figured out by the second day and would lead us from his paddock to his new stall. As already suggested, make any changes in what you are feeding gradual and keep an eye on water intake. BTW....Welsh/Arab is a wonderful cross. I have seen several that were great.
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