Horse Adjustment to New Environment

Equine anxiety during adaptation and adjustment to new environments.

     horses adjust and adapt to new environments

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    1. Helping a Horse Adjust to a New Environment
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    Helping a Horse Adjust to a New Environment

    It can take some time for a horse to adjust to a new environment, and become relaxed in their new surroundings. Remember that moving to a new environment is a huge change and your horse may suddenly feel anxiety and scared at the unfamiliar surroundings. In many cases, your horse is also struggling with the loss of other familiar horses and may actually become quite lonely during the first couple of weeks.

    The best thing you can do to handle equine anxiety during this difficult time is to spend as much quality time with him as possible and understand that horse adaptations to the environment are a complex process and may take some time. You may find that horses who are used to travelling or showing will adjust faster than others, but generally horses are not themselves for at least a couple weeks. You may find your horse becomes spooked in a stall or is not relaxed in the ring.

    During this time you may notice your previously happy and well adapted horse starts acting out with a few new behavioral problems. It’s often useful to ease up a bit on the training during this time and rather spend time taking them out for hand walks around the new property and spending plenty of time with them.

    More Information on Horse Adjustment to New Environment

    Tips to help a horse adjust to a new environment
    • Horses are often comforted by routine. Try to be consistent and plan it so that your visits, feeding times, and turn-out times happen at roughly the same time each day.
    • Spend lots of quality time with your horse. This can include gentle walks around the new property, grooming sessions, and lots of affection.
    • Don’t try steam ahead with planned training sessions as your horse will more likely be distracted and may even become very anxious. Put heavy-duty training on hold until he has adjusted properly.
    • Keep an eye on his reactions to the horses around him and make sure that he is not pastured with aggressive horses. Adjusting to the other horses in the new Environment may be just as distressing.
    • Try to remain calm yourself. Many caring horse-owners become more stressed and worked up about the change than their horse and horses can pick up on this fear. Staying relaxed will help to calm your horse. Remember that horses do adjust, sometime far quicker than we expect, and before long, he’ll be happy in his new environment!