Horse Health

Healthy Transition

May 28, 2009

Five tips to help prepare for bringing home a new horse.

Plan ahead and take steps to prepare for your new horse before he even steps into the trailer.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

Perhaps you’re shopping for a horse for your children or grandchildren, or maybe you would like to start your own equine project.

Whatever your reasons for buying a new horse, it is important to consider all of the options to ensure the horse will meet your specific needs.

However, for many people, the challenges of buying a horse don’t stop after bringing their new addition home.

Here are some things to consider before the new horse steps in the trailer to come home:

You found the perfect horse, but he won’t get in the trailer. Don’t let loading trouble stand in the way of your new horse’s arrival: Download AQHA’s Free Horse Trailer Loading Tips report.

1.    Complete any necessary ownership transfers for breed organizations.

2.    Ask the current barn manager or owner about the horse’s feed, and try to keep your feed comparable to help ease the transition. Also, make sure hay, tack and grooming supplies are on hand.

3.    Pastures and barns should be free of clutter and items that can injure horses.

4.    Separate new horses from horses already on the farm to gradually introduce the new horse and to protect existing horses from potential diseases.

5.    Ask the previous owner for documentation about the horse’s health history and vaccinations, and verify with your veterinarian that the vaccinations are up to date.

The process of buying a horse can be just as stressful for the new horse as it is for the new owner. While you’re worrying about getting the horse settled into his or her new home, the stressors of traveling to a new barn and being separated from old herd mates could be taking its toll.

“Events that many horse owners consider routine can be stressful enough for horses to develop ulcers,” says Dr. April Knudson, the manager of veterinary services at Merial. “Training, traveling, competition and even stall confinement at an unfamiliar facility can cause stomach ulcers in as little as five days.”

Make traveling less stressful for your horse by training him to load ahead of time. Download AQHA’s Free Horse Trailer Loading Tips report.

Dr. Knudson recommends Ulcergard (omeprazole) because it is the only product approved by the FDA for the prevention of equine stomach ulcers. During times of stress, one daily dose of Ulcergard has been proven effective in preventing stomach ulcers over both short and long periods of time.

“Beginning a new equine relationship takes time, patience and hard work,” Dr. Knudson says. “Using Ulcergard before transporting your horse to his new home and while the horse is adjusting can help ensure that he’s healthy and ready to start working with you. It can help get your relationship off on the best possible foot.”

Owning a horse can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience from the start with a little bit of preparation. The next time you anticipate a stressful situation for your horse, ask your vet about Ulcergard and follow his instructions on dosing.

Merial, one of AQHA’s valuable Corporate Partners, is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. View their website for full product information.