After scouring the classifieds of magazines such as Horse and Hound and spending hours looking online, you have finally found the four legged friend of your dreams. Swiftly followed by viewings and riding, the next step is looming. You are taking the plunge, its time to hand over the cash and bring him home! So whether you are coming back to a livery yard or to your own home, there are a number of things to consider and have ready for the new arrival.
It’s an exciting time for any new owner; planning ahead and bringing your new horse or pony home! Here at Selwood Equine we have put together a list of things to remember, to make your new friends first days as relaxing as possible.
-If moving to a livery yard make sure you have taken the time to research the yard and the area. Check the facilities to make sure they suit your needs, find out about other people and horses on the yard. Do they share similar interests to you? Would you have others to ride with and hack out with for example?
Make sure the yard follows a regular worming, shoeing, teeth and vaccination programme. Check the yard is secure for your horse, your tack and equipment. What are the opening and closing times and rules? Can you have full use of the facilities or just part? It is worth noting all the ground rules before your horse arrives.
If you are heading home, then you obviously know your own facilities but make sure you are well prepped with yard and field maintenance, hay and straw stocks, feed deliveries etc.
Feed & Water
Make sure you are aware what feed the horse has been on and that this can be replicated at the new yard. Any changes to be made must be gradual. The same goes for hay or haylage. What is on offer and what has the horse been used to. Fresh water needs to be made available at all times.
Depending on the type of livery you have selected: full, part, assisted, working or DIY it will vary how much involvement you have on a day to basis with chores. Make sure you are happy with the way that the staff work if you have gone for full, part or assisted. If on working livery at a riding school make sure there is an agreement in place for the amount of times the horse will be used and when.
Fields & Turnout
Whether a livery yard or at home, make sure the field perimeters are secure and sturdy and you are happy with the gates and fencing. Will your horse eventually be turned out with others or by itself? If other horses are on site too, will you follow a period of isolation and then observance before turning out? Quite often with new horses, they are turned out individually in a paddock next to the herd they will move into. Or they may have a fenced off area in the main paddock to allow all horses to become accustomed to one another. Are the fields poo picked regularly and free of poisonous plants such as ragwort?
Overall it is an exciting time for you and your new horse. Do take the time to make sure some quiet one on one bonding can take place. I am sure your new horse will have plenty of visitors. Especially if you are on a busy livery yard. Some time spent with you just grooming and chatting to your new horse is time well spent. Avoid feeding titbits or treats from the hand. This can encourage the horse become nippy. Any treats or succulents offered are fine fed from the floor e.g carrots, apples etc.
After you feel your horse has settled I am sure you will want to get on and ride. Check out the arenas and hacking routes so you are happy and familiar with the set up once you have got on board. Be firm but not overly demanding the first few times on board. It is a period of adjustment for both of you!
It all comes down to money at the end of the day! If you are on a livery yard, be fully aware of the charges you are signing up for and when you will be billed. Make sure you have signed an agreement and know things like your notice period for example. Will the yard add farrier charges to your bill. Will you pay them directly? It doesn’t hurt to be forearmed with all this information and in doing so you should make the transition of your new horse into his new home an easy one!