How long did it take your horse to adjust?
 
 

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How long did it take your horse to adjust?

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  • Time for horses to adjust to new surroundings

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    04-26-2012, 02:06 PM
  #1
Foal
How long did it take your horse to adjust?

I'm a new horse owner. I bought a 17 year old QH/Arab gelding that had been a lone pasture ornament for a year and only ridden 4 or 5 times in that year. He had no shelter, fresh water seemed iffy (when I went to meet the vet, his water was nothing but 3 inches of sludge, I cleaned it and brought 30 gallons to him.) When I rode him at the previous owners place, he was calm, responsive, would stand nicely and made me look like an expert rider (which I am not.) His ground manners were slightly off, just wanted to walk ahead, but nothing I couldn't work with. He also was kept with a halter on 24/7 that almost took WD-40 to get off it was so rusted.

I brought him to the boarding stable and he was introduced to a mixed herd of geldings and mares. We had a few issues I was concerned about - I thought he was in "love", but then that passed an now another horse is in "love" with him and he doesn't seem pleased with all that attention! She calls and calls to him non stop when I bring him out of the pasture. He's calming down a lot and being more respectful on the ground, but he's pretty hot under the saddle. I think he missed the memo that he's 17 and not 4. I've only ridden him twice in the week and a half that I've owned him because I had to get his feet trimmed (hadn't been done in a year) and then he cut his leg and it got infected.

I'm wondering the following things:

1. How long generally does it take for a horse to fully adjust to their "new" life and living arrangements? I've read so many different things and would love to hear some encouraging stories.

2. I've been giving him a little bit of grain now since that's how he's getting his antibiotics, so could that be making him "hot"? There seems to be differing schools of thought on that. He is also on quality hay, where he had poor hay and just pasture where I bought him from.

3. I'm using a rope halter, but he seems to HATE it. Cross tying is iffy. Some days he'll tolerate it, some days it's just not an option at all. I do not leave a halter on in the pasture. Could this adjustment from crappy halter 24/7 to having to wear one for a few hours be making him cranky? He doesn't throw his head in the bridle at all, and tying him to a rail isn't that much of an issue, but he doesn't want to stand where he can't see what's going and dances all over the place. When we're cleaning his wound. Bandaging, grooming, he'll stand still just fine. It's only when we're not 100% focused on him that he dances all over.

4. I was told that he was previously used as a lesson horse for an 8 year old where the previous owners bought him from, he's not spooked by anything (yet) and he'll plant 4 feet in concrete when mounting and dismounting, but getting him to stand still when I'm on him or leading him is a non-stop battle (for lack of a better term). I always put him back, reward every "try" with release of pressure, etc. Maybe it's something I'm doing?

I've seen a lot of improvement, I go out there every day, but is it possible he's just still adjusting to having human contact every day and being asked to do something every day, and being asked to leave his herd when he didn't have a friend before? At 17, it's clear he's been well trained, and been-there-done-that.

I appreciate any and all feedback.
     
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    04-26-2012, 02:21 PM
  #2
Trained
Welcome to the forum Kac
Sounds like you have taken on a lot
Go slow
     
    04-26-2012, 02:26 PM
  #3
Showing
Welcome to the forum!

It's a smart idea to pick up an old school master type when getting your first horse, and 17 is a good age.

You said how long he has been out to pasture but not how long you've owned him. Given that he has been a pasture pet for a year or more, and the fact that you really don't have any idea how much time he has had under saddle in the past few years, I suspect that he is a little grumpy having to go back into work.

You also didn't say how long he was with his last owner. It isn't unusual for a horse, especially an older one who may have been in his last place for some time, to take a good month or more to not only get used to his new surroundings, but this new routine as well.

It may not be a bad idea to let a trainer give him a tuneup for a month. Let a knowledgeable person give him a refresher on ground manners and learn his buttons the teach you. A trainer should know how to keep him from getting away with any antics that he has. The problem with a new owner is that sometimes they "forgive" a horse for acting up, blaming a change of scenery or riding techniques, or any multiple of things. That is 100% wrong. Any time you forgive your horse for acting up, you are teaching him that it is OK at times when it is never OK.

About a month ago I picked up a 6 year old mustang that hasn't been ridden in a few years. She is an "in your pocket" type horse and quickly adapted to my other mare and her new life pretty quickly. I've owned horses for over 30 years and there was a time when getting on a horse like that was no problem - I'm too old for that now. Tomorrow she is going out to a trainer friend for a few weeks of relearning the basics and getting tuned up. I find it better for someone who does it for a living to do it rather then me, who doesn't have the time anymore - or the inclination.

As for the feed, and getting hot, it all depends on what you are feeding and how much. More info is really needed here.

Just my 2

Good luck with your new horse!!
themacpack likes this.
     
    04-26-2012, 02:47 PM
  #4
Foal
[QUOTE=iridehorses;1473504]

You said how long he has been out to pasture but not how long you've owned him. Given that he has been a pasture pet for a year or more, and the fact that you really don't have any idea how much time he has had under saddle in the past few years, I suspect that he is a little grumpy having to go back into work.

You also didn't say how long he was with his last owner. It isn't unusual for a horse, especially an older one who may have been in his last place for some time, to take a good month or more to not only get used to his new surroundings, but this new routine as well.


As for the feed, and getting hot, it all depends on what you are feeding and how much. More info is really needed here.

[QUOTE]

He was with his previous owners for a hair over a year, and they said they rode him four or five times, otherwise just threw some hay over the fence. Before that, who knows how much he was rode... I just brought him home a week ago Sunday, so almost two weeks now. He's not a completely different horse than the one I bought, but a lot more pushy and hot headed then when I went out to ride him and take care of him at his old owners place. What's funny is that every other day he is hard to catch! Tuesday it took me 20 minutes, last night 2 seconds, tonight I guess we'll see!

By nature, I have a tendency to think I'm patient, but really I like instant gratification, which I am trying to get through my thick skull. I've owned this horse 11 days, I need to be more realistic in my expectations.

As for the feed, I bought a custom blended sweet feed from my local feed mill. He's an easy keeper, and the previous owners only gave him hay and pasture, never grain, not one time. Of course he loves it. I'm probably erring on the side of caution and only giving him about 2-3 cups with his meds because he doesn't actually need the grain, and I want to work him into it slowly since I fear triggering colic.
     
    04-26-2012, 02:53 PM
  #5
Showing
I don't think it's the feed. I've used sweet feed for as long as I've owned horses with no ill effects but it depends of the ingredients and quantity. (Let's please not turn this into a discussion of the pros and cons of sweet feed).

I just think that the 11 days of ownership coupled with what is typically a new owner's enthusiasm is a big change in his life. As for his past owner only having him for a year - during which time he was basically a pasture pet, that is another problem - plus you only have their word that he was used by an 8 year old as a lesson horse.

Give him time and I still suggest getting a trainer for him and for you.
kac7700 likes this.
     
    04-27-2012, 07:29 AM
  #6
Weanling
It may take him a couple of months to really settle down in his new home. If he has gone from being by himself without much contact everything probably seems pretty exciting to him right now. If he's only getting a handful or so of feed then that shouldnt make much difference but it could be that he's found a new lease on life with better pasture/hay. I looked after my neighbours quarter horse last winter when they were low on grass, we had no horses at the time and the grass was pretty long. The difference in him from when I rode him while still at their property to being at my place for a week or two was quite big! He went from being a cruisy plodder to dancing all over the place. His ground manners also went downhill until I got a bit firmer. He may just be testing the boundaries, it will take you both a little while to get to know each other but you will get there
I've never seen a horse that obviously disliked one type of halter, it may be that he's starting to associate the halter going on as meaning its time to work! My current horse is known to be difficult to catch and his last owner left his halter on 24/7 which had caused patches of hair to get rubbed off on his face. I leave it off now, sometime's he's fine to catch and other times he's not but it doesnt really bother me - he's great in every other way even if he is an ornery old man at the best of times!
     
    04-27-2012, 07:57 AM
  #7
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi79    
I've never seen a horse that obviously disliked one type of halter, it may be that he's starting to associate the halter going on as meaning its time to work!
That is very true. When I get a horse that acts this way, then I always carry a halter over my shoulder when I'm around him. I'll sometimes just put it on him, pet him, then take it off, or I'll hand walk him on some grass, or anything else but make him work. Sooner or latter, he forgets the halter is also for work and learns that it is just a part of me.

If you only have a halter when you want to catch him to work, then you have trained him that the halter means just that.
SpiritLifter likes this.
     
    04-27-2012, 09:11 AM
  #8
Showing
Horses that have lived in pasture then suddenly find themselves stalled, even for only part of the day are often more energetic. His getting grain could also contribute to this. If you've had him only a few weeks you are asking a lot of him with all the changes. Going from being alone to a herd can be a big change and horses feel more secure in a herd (safety in numbers). Perhaps for now cut out his grain, don't cross tie him, just a single tie. When a horse is cross-tied it can become fearful that it can't escape should something fearful lurk about (in his mind). The horse can't even turn to face it.
     
    04-27-2012, 09:57 AM
  #9
Showing
It'll take awhile.. remember horses are creatures of habit and he's been in the same place for a year with barely any work load so everything is new and exciting for him, he's probably buzzing with thoughts in his head and with all this new found energy.

When I pulled my horse away from the barn he was at.. it was around 2 months when I began to notice a change in him. The first month we worked solely on the ground since it would be the first time I got on him without someone there to babysit (huge deal)

But for your guy, it'll just take him awhile to get into the habit (or new schedule) of things and adjust to being ridden, being given grain, being turned out and stalled, etc.

I'm really not a fan of sweet feed. If you're going to give him grain, I recommend Triple Crown Senior. It's got lots of vitamins and minerals and truly does wonders for weight, condition, and overall health. But of course it is always up to you :)

Are you planning on taking lessons on him in the future?
     
    04-27-2012, 12:00 PM
  #10
Weanling
Since you haven't had him that long maybe boundaries and leadership haven't been established yet? The dancing all over maybe b/c he's secure with you, and insecure when you step away from him. Or he just really enjoys your attention. My younger gelding was really bad about this but he's improved with time.

I just moved my mare home from my boarding barn, where she had lived for well over ten years. She been home a month and it's only been in the past week that she's settled in. There were tons of changes for her, and I'm sure she was overwhelmed. She also started testing her boundaries with me and my daughter under saddle, which it sounds like your guy is doing, as well. It may just take a few weeks to get him in the swing of things.

Is there a trainer or instructor at the stable to help you? You may benefit from a weekly lesson on your guy.
     

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