I am planning to move from San Diego, California to Jackson Hole, WY. I have two horses that are kept in a 24’ x 24’ that will now have 2 acres to run. I'm not sure how I should start them out. I don't want to have them out all day eating, and I would like to know how to start them in a new environment. Please give me any help that will help my horses get used to their new home without getting hurt or sick.
Wow! What a great change. Your horses will be very happy, I'm sure. We have some past articles on subjects like introducing a horse to a new home and traveling with horses that you may find to be of help. Here are a few suggestions. Before putting them into the new pasture, walk them around it (inside with the gate locked in case they get excited), or let them get used to the sights and sounds from their new barn. Windows and grilled areas that they can look through are great.
I'm not sure how much grass you will have at your new farm, but start slow. One hour a day on lush grass is a good way to start. Let the horses get used to the new change. Watch for solid manure and then you can increase the length of time per day that they are on the grass pasture. If you have a round pen or a turn out that is a dry lot area, rotate them between the two areas. If you can take some of your hay with you to feed while they are off the pasture, it will keep them busy (comfort food), and help with the boredom of not being on the new pasture (grass hay is a good way to get roughage in without a lot of protein).
Once they get used to the new surroundings and routine (1-2 weeks) you may not need to feed as much hay. I'm not sure how much you handle your horses or how quiet they are, but a horse of any temperament may get excited with the new surroundings. I found that when we moved our horses to their new home, they were very happy with the new grass and pasture. Once they had a good bit of grass (that helped to make them feel good too) and figured out the boundaries, they became a bit more excitable and had to settle down. This involved about a two-week adjustment.
If you are in an open area, or have trees and natural boundary line, this will make a difference with their attitude. Just know that they do get used to the new surroundings, and settle in. The more you handle them, and get your patterns down too, the more your horses will feel your reassurance and confidence. Don't forget, our horses pick up a lot from us. They can tell if we are apprehensive, so give them the reassurance they need for smooth handling.
I hope this helps you. If you have any other questions, just let me know. I would love to hear how everything works out! Congratulations on your new home.Debbie