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Newbie Question: First Days in New Barn

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  • Newbie Question: First Days in New Barn

    We're bringing our horse to a new barn Saturday. It's only six miles from home instead of twenty-four. Any recommendations for the first day in the new home? I'm bringing a bale of hay and some feed from the old place, but do you more experienced folks have any other recommendations?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Ask BO to mix your feed/hay with theirs so the switch is gradual.
    Say start with 3/4 your stuff for a couple days, then increase to 1/2 and by the end of the 2nd week all "new".
    That will allow you to gauge whether new feed does not agree with your horse and adjust accordingly.

    IF the new barn has auto waterers in the stalls, and your horse is not familiar, ask them to hang a bucket until horse figures it out.
    The noise of the refill can be off-putting to a horse.
    My TB had to have a bucket for almost a month or he would.not.drink. (barn had a system that measured consumption and his was nil nearly that long!).

    Other than that, just watch your guy for the first week - most horses settle right in once they realize food still arrives at regular intervals
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

    Comment


    • #3
      Use an ulcer preventative and start the day before the move, and continue it for about a week afterwards. What we think may not be stressful often is for a horse...you'll be trailering him, throwing him into new surroundings, new herds, new sights and sounds.

      UlcerGard, 1/4 to 1/2 tube daily, for the time I mentioned above.
      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

      Comment


      • #4
        Get a routine established. That's mostly the job of the BM/BO and barn practices, but if you have a worrier then your smiling face showing up during the first week to groom (or do your normal ride routine) can help their mental state. Took the old guy a week to stop fussing and this was the barn he'd come from.
        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
        Incredible Invisible

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        • #5
          I personally wouldn't go the ulcer medication route for an 18 mile move, unless the horse was perennially a worrier who freaked out in new situations.

          Bring a couple of bales of your hay and a few days' worth of the feed you've been using, assuming you're going to change over. A conscientious BO should blend it over to the new grain (if any) and hay over the course of a few days, but ask and see if they will--don't assume.

          If the horse is young and hasn't been many places, I would take it for a walk around the property and make sure it's settling in and check on it a couple of times over the course of the first few days, but again this is the responsibility of the BO as well as yours. Hopefully turnout would be solo the first day and new herd introductions are gradual, although I'll freely admit to just putting older, non-problem horses out in a group of similar grownups without elaborate introductions.

          Some barns have a quarantine period where they keep incoming barns separate for a while to minimize the chance of infectious disease, but this is very rare IME.

          If the horse is a been-there, done-that type, I doubt very much there is any need for specific interventions. Just make sure he seems bright and is eating and drinking and pooping, and give him a few days to settle in mentally before you get into hard work with him. Good luck!
          Click here before you buy.

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          • #6
            I just did this last week, so hopefully can offer some advice! I am breathing a big sign of relief that week one is complete and all is going well. I also have the feeling that I worried much more than my OTTB gelding, who already seems like he is at home.

            Like you, I also cut my commute. I went from nearly 18 miles each way to 12 miles each way. Considering I live in downtown Washington DC, that is pretty fantastic. I also added about 250 acres of XC trails. My boy went from a dry lot to grass pasture. This is the best time of year to make that transition as the nutritional value of grass is low.

            I agree with the others to bring hay and mix it for the first week. As of last night my boy is eating 100% the new hay and having no issues. Also, I made sure I was there at dinner time for the first three nights. I gave him half his meal, did other things for an hour, then gave him the rest. I felt like breaking his meals into smaller ones would be less likely to overload his gut and avoid problems. He gets U-GUARD daily now, which is like an antacid. I doubled it before the move and for several days after. I also added several packets of pop rocks to his meals before and after.

            On day one and two I walked him around the property just to let him take in the new smells, sounds and sights. I hand walked him in the indoor and let him look at the mirrors and jumps. He promptly rolled which told me he approved. I have ridden him several times now and he is "looky" but not spooky. Recommend riding lightly and not stressing him. I'm not planning to add jumps to the routine for another week.

            You will find that the horse will find his routine faster than you will! I am still sorting my tack locker and figuring out where things will go.

            Good luck with your move!
            "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
            as a thoroughbred horse."

            -JOHN GALSWORTHY

            Comment


            • #7
              I just did this last week, so hopefully can offer some advice! I am breathing a big sign of relief that week one is complete and all is going well. I also have the feeling that I worried much more than my OTTB gelding, who already seems like he is at home.

              Like you, I also cut my commute. I went from nearly 18 miles each way to 12 miles each way. Considering I live in downtown Washington DC, that is pretty fantastic. I also added about 250 acres of XC trails. My boy went from a dry lot to grass pasture. This is the best time of year to make that transition as the nutritional value of grass is low.

              I agree with the others to bring hay and mix it for the first week. As of last night my boy is eating 100% the new hay and having no issues. Also, I made sure I was there at dinner time for the first three nights. I gave him half his meal, did other things for an hour, then gave him the rest. I felt like breaking his meals into smaller ones would be less likely to overload his gut and avoid problems. He gets U-GUARD daily now, which is like an antacid. I doubled it before the move and for several days after. I also added several packets of pop rocks to his meals before and after.

              On day one and two I walked him around the property just to let him take in the new smells, sounds and sights. I hand walked him in the indoor and let him look at the mirrors and jumps. He promptly rolled which told me he approved. I have ridden him several times now and he is "looky" but not spooky. Recommend riding lightly and not stressing him. I'm not planning to add jumps to the routine for another week.

              You will find that the horse will find his routine faster than you will! I am still sorting my tack locker and figuring out where things will go.

              Good luck with your move!
              "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
              as a thoroughbred horse."

              -JOHN GALSWORTHY

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't do anything special., except maybe bring some of the horse's old feed to transition with. When I bring colts to the trainer, I do nothing- and these horses have never been "off the farm". The trainer gives them a day or two to settle in, then puts them to work.

                My show horses will travel an hour or two, get off the trailer, show, and go back home. No such thing as "settling in" at a 1 night county fair horse show.

                I must admit, though, Saddlebreds are weird horses- even the babies are generally no problem to get on a trailer, and they seem to like new places and new things. I had one young gelding I couldn't let the barn brats (who showed him more than I did) load on the trailer because he'd practically run you over to get on the trailer- he loved to travel and see new things!

                Comment


                • #9
                  How has he behaved with moves in the past?

                  Is he normally a good drinker? Beyond mixing feed, sometimes I like to haul water from the old place if a horse is picky about water.

                  What's the plan for quarantine? Will he be in a stall for awhile?

                  What kind of fencing is at the new place? Something he's used to or something new? If new--like going to electric from wood or pipe--I'd walk the fenceline with him. If he's never seen electric before and they don't have it taped, I'd see if you can do tape flags.

                  My biggest concern when I move is the new turnout situation. I prefer to be present when my horse is first turned out with others. Mostly this is so that if my horse gets hurt, I'm right there to meet the vet. I've moved quite a bit and only had one problem. That problem cost me about 4k. And we weren't even moving farms. I wrote the check for purchase and the horse was turned out in a different herd. Got run through a fence.

                  So...I just like to be there.
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks everyone for you advice. He's a pretty calm animal. I just want things to go as smoothly as possible. Turnout at least at first is alone in small pastures with hot tape, which he knows. He seems to like to take walks, so we'll do that the first couple days.

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