How to Introduce a New Horse to the Herd – digitalfactory

How to Introduce a New Horse to the Herd

two horse in a field during daytime

The prospect of acquiring a brand-fresh animal is a great experience and exciting, however, adding a brand-fresh horse into your stable (even if it’s just a tiny one or two) could cause some tension and some anxiety for you. Herd animals are horses, and when they live in groups they rapidly establish an orderly system with the leaders as well as the followers. 1

Most of the time, there will be a leader that may have a favorite sidekick and certain followers. Horses make this distinction by themselves, without much interference from their human counterparts.

Whatever method you choose to integrate the new horse into the herd, you’ll probably want to keep your new horse apart (as a way of ensuring that it is in quarantine) until you are certain that it is healthy and free of any disease. If you’re not used to keeping halters on your horses while they’re on the outside, this may be the first occasion when you place breakaway halters on the leader of the herd as well as the new horse, so that they’re able to be easily spotted in the event of a need. Be sure to check the stalls and pastures for any hazards that horses may encounter when it seeks to escape. If the feet are wet or icy, stay off until the conditions improve.

It’s likely that if you only have two or three horses, they’ll warm up to the newcomer quickly. There’ll be some posturing and prancing the tails in the air, sniffing and squealing, however, since horses love being part of a herd, they’ll most likely get settled in quickly.

A horse’s outing in the paddock or pastures on its own can help it get to know the layout of the field and get used to the smells left behind by other horses.

Just put them all together

There are various different schools of thought on how to introduce an individual horse to an existing herd. Most people will simply place the new horse with the other horses and let them handle the rest themselves. Most of the time, this works but sometimes it doesn’t. It is most effective with horses who are recognized as followers, and not herd leaders. Certain horses, especially newcomers, can get bite marks or even be injured in any scuffles which may occur.

If everyone has plenty of space to move out of obstructions, the group generally settles down with a minimum of fuss. The new member is accepted into his or her “assigned” place in the pecking order of the herd without hesitation. If the newcomer is confident and believes that he is the right person to be the new leader it could take some time for everyone to get used to the new system.

It is essential to be vigilant in order to remove the new herd member if required before the horse is injured. There are occasions when a mixture that isn’t working and certain horses–mostly those that have a strong dominant nature–cannot able to live with herd mates from the beginning without risk.

Mix well

Some owners of horses prefer to introduce new members to the herd in a gradual manner. This involves keeping the horse visible, however, not in close proximity to the herd. Once they’ve had the chance to smell and observe one another from a distance, they could be put closer to each other in adjacent paddocks. This isn’t easy when they’re put together since it could result in them choosing to attack one another, bite each other or even kick the fence. Also, a keen eye must be kept to ensure that any scuffles don’t end in injuries. The time the animals are in contact with one the other may be gradually increased until they’re calm and comfortable.

Once everyone is familiar with each other with a barrier it’s time to group together. Even though the horses were next to one another and had ample time to sniff each other’s noses isn’t a guarantee that there won’t no squealing or biting, running around, or kicking after the horse joins the other horses, but most likely, your initial enthusiasm will fade off faster and the group will become more settled into the new arrangement.

Add One and Add Another

Another option to introduce an incoming member of the herd is to switch the newcomer out alongside the other horses one at a time and then add additional. This allows the horse to get to know only a few members at a time, and the leader is added last of all.

Your horse will know that it is fully integrated into the herd when they all graze in a group and their bickering stops. There’s always the chance of one horse causing injury to another even after introductions have ended. It’s not uncommon for horses to chase each other and the exuberant actions should cease once the new horse is an integral part of the herd.