WELCOME TO THE FAMILY

Buying your first horse is an exciting time, but how can you prepare for his arrival? Here are some of our top tips.

You’ve found your perfect horse, and your vet has just called to say he’s passed his vetting with flying colours. Congratulations – the search is finally over and the countdown to your new horse’s move-in date is underway.

With the clock ticking, it’s time to think about what needs to be in place before you unload him in his new home. We’ve put together your ultimate first-time horsey shopping list to help give you and your new four-legged friend the best possible start together.

Food first

Horses spend the majority of their time eating forage – up to ten hours daily, in fact – so enabling this will be an important step in preparing for your new arrival. Find out whether hay is included in your livery package or, if not, ask your yard owner if they can recommend a local hay or haylage supplier.

Even if you plan to change your horse’s bucket feed, ask his previous owner what he eats and stock up on it. Dietary changes need to be made gradually over a couple of weeks to maintain gastric health, so it’s important not to switch to his new ration overnight.

TOP TIP

As with hay, bedding may also be included in your livery package, or you’ll need to make your own arrangements. Check with your horse’s previous owner to find out if he requires a dust-extracted variety.

What’s included?

If your horse comes with tack and rugs, this will reduce the amount of horsey shopping you need to do, although it’s not a bad idea to check all his items over for signs of wear and tear.

If he doesn’t come with tack, you’ll have to get a new saddle professionally fitted by a master saddler.  Ask you yard owner for recommendations, or check the Society of Master Saddlers registry.

If you need to buy or replace rugs, you’ll find a fantastic range on our website, from fly rugs to turnout rugs and coolers.

Did you know?

If your horse’s previous owner is keeping his bridle, why not call out a professional bridle fitter to find his perfect match.

Bon voyage

The day’s arrived, and you’re ready to pick your new horse up. In order to get him home safely, you’ll need a…

  • headcollar, preferably leather
  • leadrope
  • set of travel boots
  • tail bandage
  • thin travel rug if the weather’s cool

Some new horse owners encounter difficulty loading their horses, but that can be down to having a new handler. Look out for signs of tension, such as high head carriage and attempts to avoid the vehicle, and always be prepared to allow a little extra time coaxing him onto the ramp – rushing a horse who’s showing signs of nervousness rarely ends in your desired result.

Settle down

It can take horse a few weeks to settle in a new yard with new rules, handlers and companions, so it’s important not to put unnecessary pressure on him as he acclimatises to his new routine. It might be that you avoid riding him for a week or so, which may feel frustrating. However, in the future you’ll have all the riding time in the world, so why rush him?

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