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.