Preparing for Your New Horse
Whether you’re in the process of bringing a new horse home or just starting to plan for it, there are a variety of different items you’ll need to be set up for success. Some can be purchased ahead of adopting your horse, but others are best to buy once you’ve found your new equine friend.
Here’s a helpful shopping guide as you look to bring your new horse home.
- These items can be purchased at any time, even before you start searching for your right horse.
- Grooming kit – A standard grooming kit should contain a hoof pick, curry comb, soft brush, stiff brush and mane/tail comb. Beyond that, you’ll likely want to keep conditioner and shampoo, sweat scraper, hoof conditioner and a detangler in your kit.
- Fly protection – In most places, flies become a serious nuisance in the warmer months. It’s a good idea to have a bottle of fly spray on hand. Many horses also appreciate fly masks, sheets and/or boots to offer an additional layer of protection.
- Halter and lead rope – You should have at least one, if not two, halters on hand (if you board at a public barn, it might be handy to keep the spare in your car for easy access). If you plan to leave your horse unsupervised while wearing their halter, make sure it’s “breakaway” style for safety.
- First aid kit – Don’t bring your new horse home without a few key medical essentials around the barn, including a pain reliever, bandaging materials, an antiseptic scrub and a topical antibiotic. You can purchase pre-made kits online or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation and purchase supplies directly through the clinic.
- Training gear – You’ll want to wait to buy a saddle and riding gear until you meet your new horse to ensure fit, but you can buy some items ahead of time. Saddle pads, a lunge line and other training items, like cones, target sticks or treats, can be purchased well ahead of finding your next horse.
Horse-keeping at Home:
If you keep your horse at home, you’ll need these additional items:
- Wheelbarrow, muck pick and shovel – It has to be said: manure management is a key component to horse care!
- Water buckets or tub – Your horse needs access to clean, fresh water at all times. Don’t forget to grab a scrub brush so you can keep it squeaky clean!
- Hay nets – Hay nets are a great way to reduce feed waste and help make your hay last longer. Special, slow-feeding hay nets help your horse take his time while eating, keeping his stomach full of forage and aiding in digestion. If your horse wears shoes, be sure the nets are hung out of pawing reach.
Feed storage that keeps hay and grain off the ground and protected from moisture and pests is a must to prevent spoilage and contamination. A clean garbage can with a tight-fitting lid or a repurposed chest freezer (unplugged) are budget-friendly options for grain and treats.
Once you’ve found your #RightHorse and have plans to bring him or her home, you can select the specific items they’ll need:
- Blanket – Not all horses need a blanket, but if your horse is going to be out in extreme weather or is older, it’s a good idea to have one on hand. Turnout blankets are typically waterproof and come in multiple blanket weights. Stable blankets are not meant to be worn outdoors and lack waterproofing technology.
- Saddle –Saddles come in a variety of different styles, so you can be sure to find the one that fits your riding goals. Saddle fit is very important to your horse’s health. Many tack shops will work with a saddle fitter to ensure your saddle is comfortable for you and fits your horse’s back correctly.
- Bridle and bit – Not every horse needs a bit, but you’ll likely need a bridle for your new friend. It’s usually best to ask the previous owner or adoption group about what type of bit or bridle your new horse needs. They’ll already have a good idea of how he responds to different bits and will be able to recommend a good style.
And of course, don’t forget a big bag of treats or carrots—happy shopping!
Feeling inspired and think you're ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender or discipline.