I'm a beginner. I've been taking lessons (English) twice a week for about 2.5 months now, after dreaming for almost 30 years of being a rider. I finally decided to get a horse I can do my lessons on and learn with, about three weeks ago. After visiting and trying 6 horses, I found the one! He's a gorgeous angel of a horse.
I'm stabling him at the place where I take my lessons, which is less than 10 minutes from my house. They have paddocks with a couple to a few horses in each with automatic waterers and feeding of hay twice daily. Since the weather is pretty mild here (southern France), they're never kept in the actual stables, so the horses are always with other horses.
My questions are: How do I get my horse acclimated and comfortable in his new surroundings? And how do I become his "one and only", the person he has his strongest bond with?
Some facts about him:
- He's a 4-year-old gelding, well broke and trained in all gaits. A piebald palomino of unknown origin. Super purdy.
- He was trained in Western both in a ring and outside for trail rides.
- He's very calm and gentle. His eyes will melt your heart.
- He has a strong bond with his first trainer.
- He is comfortable around dogs.
- He rides like a dream! (I know that isn't relevant, but I'm super excited about it. Finally I can do a sitting trot without leaning back super far!)
- There is a smallish oval riding ring with big colored blocks in it (for doing slalom exercises and stuff). My instructor says I can use that area for groundwork and "playing" with my horse. She uses this ring for conducting lessons. It's big enough that 12 kids on ponies will fit for a group lesson.
- There's a large riding arena with jumps spread around the middle for the students who do that stuff. This is also open to me if I want to use it. I do not do any jumping yet.
- There are no stallions there but there are a few mares.
- There is no round pen.
- There is no grass for grazing except outside the paddocks that the horse doesn't normally have access to unless I take him there.
- I'm a 44 American girl and have a healthy fear of falling and dying. Ha ha
- I have a very flexible schedule, so I can go see the horse pretty much whenever.
- I don't know a whole lot about horses. What I know I've learned here, at my lessons, and on other sites around the internet. I'm big on doing research.
- I'm a big fan of natural horsemanship and have done a lot of reading with the methods taught by Clinton Anderson and Sean Patrick (and their mentors).
- I take lessons in English riding twice a week alongside my daughter, so they're pretty much private lessons. I trust my instructor implicitly and she went with me to buy the horse. He has her seal of approval.
- I can ride in all gaits, but I'm still figuring out the cantoring. The school horse I was using is not the most tractable horse (he's pretty lazy - gotta use the crop a lot for trotting and cantering).
Thanks in advance!