As you grow your farm over the years, you’ll be welcoming new livestock into the barn from time to time. The good news for horse owners is that horses are naturally social animals that usually prefer to be part of a herd. However, that doesn’t mean you can just plop a new horse into your current group without anticipating the potential for conflict.
Follow these steps to integrate a new horse into your herd as smoothly as possible!
Start by finding a safe introduction spot.
Horses tend to feel threatened and frightened in small spaces, which can lead to defensive and aggressive behavior. When you bring a new horse home and start introductions, choose a large open area where horses have plenty of room to move. That way, if one horse tries to show their dominance, the other can safely get out of the way.
Introduce the new horse to one herd member at a time.
For the best results, it’s better to ease the new horse into the herd rather than throw them to the wolves all at once, so to speak. Observe the dynamics of your herd before your new horse arrives and note who appears the most dominant, the most aggressive, and who is bonded together. Paying close attention to the order in which they feed can help you identify the alphas.
Keep your new horse in their own stable at first, at a distance where they and the herd can observe one another. Then, place them with one or two horses from the herd at a time. Try to start with a herd member who is mid-rank and non-aggressive.
Monitor the herd over the next few weeks.
It can take time for horses to accept a new herd member, even if everything seems to go smoothly at first. Small clashes are to be expected as the hierarchy adjusts, so don’t panic if you see a little conflict. This should stop as everyone gets more comfortable. In the weeks following your new horse’s arrival, keep an eye out for injuries, lameness, and lethargy in your new horse and other herd members. This is just a precaution to be sure nothing has or will escalate to a dangerous level and require intervention.
As your herd expands, your horse shelter needs are going to expand along with it. Whether you need a new structure for your existing herd or an extra structure for your newest horse, Deer Creek Structures can provide the perfect new horse barn or stable for your ranch or farm.
To learn more about our quality prefab and custom-made structures, call us today at 254-546-2276!