How to Prepare For the Arrival of a Horse

Whether you are experienced or new to horses, preparing for a new horse's arrival should always be a process you are careful with. This article will show you an easy way of preparing your horse's arrival.


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    Prepare the pasture for your horse. Make sure the pasture is safe for your horse by removing any dangerous objects such as exposed wire, sharp edges, nails, glass, and other hazardous objects. Also check for poisonous plants that they may eat. Make sure there is a large water source available. If there is no stream running through the paddock, you may need to invest in an old bathtub, or if you need water immediately, try using a 20-litre (5-gallon) bucket until you get a larger trough. Make sure you maintain the water in the bucket all through the day. If you are renting from a boarding stable, the paddock should be safe, though it is always best to double check; if you do not, there is a possibility of your new horse (or another horse) being injured.
    • All purchased horses should go through at least 30 days of quarantine before being introduced to other horses.
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    Prepare a nice treat for your new arrival. When a new horse comes to an unfamiliar surrounding, it is best to leave them for at least a couple of days until they settle in. To help the process along, why not make up a yummy treat? You will want to keep the horse on the diet he was on before you bought him, or at least similar to it, so he doesn't get sick from a sudden change in food; but feel free to make a treat! Many horses love molasses or applesauce. You can also purchase horse treats in stores.
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    Do a safety check of the stable. If you plan on keeping your new horse in a stable, whether at night, most of the day or just an hour or two, you need to make sure it is safe.
    • Make sure there is a sufficient water source. A large bucket will do if only stabled for a few hours. If stabled at night or all day, invest in a water trough or automatic waterer. Provide adequate bedding such as hay or wood shavings. Keep in mind that the bedding should be an approved horse bedding, as some by-products of woods and timber can be toxic to horses. Sawdust is too fine and can get in the horse's eyes; straw may cause impaction if the horse eats it.
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    Organise your supplies, such as grooming supplies, a lead, a halter, and buckets for feed and water. Also make sure you have equipment to clean the paddock. This includes a spade or a shovel and a rake if your horse is stabled. When replacing the bedding, you will need either a bucket for transporting the bedding or a wheelbarrow.
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    Decide on your horse's feed. Depending on whether the horse is a hard keeper (needs a lot of food) or an easy keeper (needs less food), you and your vet will need to decide on a diet to maintain his body condition. If a horse is underweight, he need more food to put the weight on; if they are overweight, they need less feed. The basic components of a horse's diet include:-
    • Hay - Horses eat roughage to keep them warm. When buying hay, look at the quality. You want something that is nutritious but is not going to pass right through the horse. Try to get grass hay. If you get lucerne hay, try to get a second or, even better, third cut; the hay will be more stalky and will not be too rich.
    • Chaff - Some horses, particularly those at pasture with light or no work, will do fine on grass or hay. However, some horses require extra feeding every day, twice a day or every second day, depending on the horse. The best mixture of chaff is lucerne and oaten or Wheat (known as white chaff); however, be careful feeding oaten hay if your horse is prone to laminitis. The lucerne chaff will provide phosphorus for your horse, and the white chaff will provide a source of bulk food. Chaff is often used to prevent bolting feed; in other words, to prevent the horse from eating feed too quickly.
    • Pellets and Grain are good ways to put on weight and maintain it. They are also handy when you require a boost of energy for a show or your horse needs a pick-me-up. Boiled Grains are best for hard keepers. Whole grains need to be broken prior to consumption, as they expand when contact with moisture has been made. Research different feeds until you find one that you think would suit your horse. Make sure to run everything by your vet. After a while you can try different products until you find the perfect fit. Make all adjustments slowly.
    • Don't forget supplements! These depend on your horse. Mares may need a calming supplement; horses recovering after being on stall rest may need a supplement designed for them.
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    Wait for the horse's arrival. Though hard sometimes, the above steps will keep you amused until he arrives. When he arrives, put the horse in his paddock and give him his feed. Wait a day or two until you ride him so he can settle into his new surroundings and meet any animals on neighboring fences.


  • If the horse won't drink, provide a bucket of water that has molasses in it. Not too much, 1/4 cup will be sufficient, this will mask any undesirable tastes and will be more appealing to your horses sweet tooth.
  • Treat your horse like you want to be treated, be friendly and and give it lots of love when it is settling in to its new surroundings.
  • Respect your new friend, and do not be surprised if s/he wants to be on their own for a while.
  • Turn your horse out to the pasture so it can get all its "ya-ya's" out
  • Groom your horse a few hours after it comes home because it might have a little bit of dirt on it.
  • If you only have only one horse, you could find a little friend for it so it won't feel lonely at night (like a miniature horse, "pasture pet"/a horse or pony that is not suitable for riding, or a donkey)
  • Be very careful bringing home a new horse. You do not know if he/she will act up or spook in a new environment.
  • Don't rush your horse right when it gets out of the trailer, let your horse get used to its new home. Be kind and loving and very careful!


  • Don't force your horse to eat right when he comes home.
  • Have the feed in a safe place away from rats, etc. or else your horse may colic.
  • Give your horse time to find his place in the herd. Do not scold a lead horse for asserting his or her dominance.

Things You'll Need

  • Equine vet
  • Horse trailer
  • Boarding
  • Fly spray, fly boots, fly blanket, etc.
  • Shampoo and conditioner, and whitener if horse is gray or paint
  • Feed and water buckets
  • Feed (ask the previous owner what he or she ate before coming to live with you)
  • Halter
  • Lead rope
  • Lunge line (optional)
  • Saddle - Western, English, Jumper, or Bareback (optional)
  • Bridle - Western, English or Bitless (optional)
  • Grooming tools
  • Hay net (optional)
  • Bedding (it is better buying more than one package so you wouldn't have to always keep going to the store)
  • Farrier
  • Saddle pad (optional)
  • Protective boots if horse tends to overreach with his hind legs

Article Info

Categories: Buying and Owning a Horse