Moving a horse to a new barn or facility requires careful planning and consideration. Horses are sensitive animals and are prone to experiencing stress when relocating to a new environment or joining a new herd.

This puts them at risk of developing various health and behavioral problems when it comes time to move to a new barn. Health conditions associated with changing barns include gastric ulcers, weight loss, stereotypic behaviors and other conditions linked to elevated stress levels.

Maintaining your horse’s normal management routines as much as possible is critical to helping your horse adjust to its new home more quickly. Your horse may be excitable or nervous at first but will likely adapt after a few weeks.

As a horse owner, you can help ensure that the move is as stress-free as possible for your horse by following a few simple steps. This guide reviews essential factors to consider when relocating your horse to a new barn.

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Considerations Before Moving your Horse

Helping your horse to adjust to a new equine facility takes time and patience. As the day approaches to relocate your horse to a new barn, careful preparation can ensure a smooth and stress-free transition for both you and your equine companion.

Health Records Review

Ensure that your horse’s health records are current and complete. Before you relocate your horse to a new facility, ensure your horse is up to date with veterinary check-ups and that they have received necessary vaccinations, health certificates, deworming, and hoof care.

Proof of these services may be required by some boarding stables and shipping companies, so it is imperative to keep receipts and copies of health documents. If your horse is being transported internationally, a health certificate may be required from your veterinarian.

Be wary of facilities that do not request medical records when introducing a new horse to the barn. This may be a sign of lax biosecurity measures, which could suggest a heightened risk of infectious disease for your horse.

Some facilities will require a Coggins test to check for equine infectious anemia (EIA), a highly contagious disease which is transmitted by horseflies and biting insects.

There is currently no treatment or vaccine to prevent the spread of EIA, and infected horses must be quarantined to prevent transmission of the disease. EIA can be fatal in some horses, while others show few signs of the disease but are carriers for life and pose a risk to other horses.

Plan Veterinary Care

Schedule any veterinary wellness care or treatments at least two weeks before moving your horse to a new facility. Avoiding unnecessary veterinary appointments near the time of moving will prevent overwhelming your horse with too many potential stressful experiences.

If relocating to a new region, select and reach out to a new veterinarian before you make the move, so you are prepared in case your horse has a health emergency.

Packing & Labelling Equipment

Avoid last-minute stress by packing well in advance of your moving date. Create a checklist of essential items to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Label all your equipment with either your name and/or your horse’s name prior to moving. Labeling can help prevent the loss of items that can easily be confused such as blankets, grooming tools and tack.

Moving to a new boarding barn can be made easier by taking care of these chores ahead of time.

Hire an Experienced Shipper

Transporting your horse, even short distances, can result in physiological stress that affects the endocrine and immune systems. [1]

Depending on the moving distance, it may be worth researching and hiring a reliable horse transporter who prioritizes your horse’s safety and comfort during the trip. Find one who is experienced and can provide references.

A professional shipper will stop for water b