My first horse. Need advice on introducing him to his new home.

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My first horse. Need advice on introducing him to his new home.

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    11-10-2013, 11:26 PM
My first horse. Need advice on introducing him to his new home.

Hello, all. I've been lurking here for a couple months and am finally putting up my first post. *waves* Sorry it's so long! I just wanted to be sure to give all the background.

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!)
Some facts about the stables:
  • 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.
Some facts about me:
  • 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).
I guess that's about it. Suggestions, anyone?

Thanks in advance!
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    11-10-2013, 11:36 PM
I would say just spend time with him, make his life exciting. Don't just do lesson go for adventures, if you don't feel comfortable riding him around then just walk him. Remember he is still very young so everything is interesting and a learning experience. Try working with him on a lunge line or in a small pen and see if he will respond with your body cues. Just love him up and have fun with him because if you enjoy his company he probably will enjoy yours!
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    11-10-2013, 11:37 PM
Suggestions for bonding is to spend as much time with him as you can without "invading his space" I wouldn't say to be all over him while he's trying to eat, but go out often and take him out of the paddock and hand walk/graze him, LOTS OF GROUND WORK, teach him little tricks, then put him back and go home. If you annoy him, he'll be hesitant to hang out with you when you come to see him.
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    11-10-2013, 11:53 PM
Im kinda in a rush this evening so don't really have any ideas for you that hasn't already been said, but I just wanted to say Congrats on horse ownership :) And I'm sure everyone else is thinking it but I'm going to come out and say it ..... WE LOVE TO SEE PICTURES OF YOUR BOY
    11-11-2013, 01:27 AM
Originally Posted by NorthernHorse    
Im kinda in a rush this evening so don't really have any ideas for you that hasn't already been said, but I just wanted to say Congrats on horse ownership :) And I'm sure everyone else is thinking it but I'm going to come out and say it ..... WE LOVE TO SEE PICTURES OF YOUR BOY

Here's one with the (former) trainer on him:

    11-11-2013, 02:56 AM
What a cutie!

I'd suggest for the first week or so hand grazing him and brushing him. Let him learn that time with you = happy time. You could then start introducing ground work, playing games with him and just having fun together.
Northernstar likes this.
    11-11-2013, 04:21 AM
Great advice everyone. Thank you!
    11-11-2013, 06:24 AM
Green Broke
Very nice horse. With as young as he is, you two could be together for a very long time!
    11-11-2013, 06:44 AM
Definitely spend a lot of time with him. You don't have to necessarily ride him every time you go to the barn, sometimes you can just simply groom him, or graze him. That way he gets comfortable with you and your presence and relates you to his care and feeding. Also, if he's new to the barn, maybe walk him around on a lead rope and let him look around a bit. Overall, just try to spend quality time with him, not just riding all the time.
Northernstar likes this.
    11-12-2013, 07:40 AM
He is beautiful - congratulations!

To throw my own "ditto" in the hat - ground work, lots of time simply with him, but be careful not to let him start to invade your space as he bonds to you. What often seems cuddly or cute to a new horse owner can rapidly turn into a problem and safety hazard as time goes on, plus horses interpret the ability to invade your space as them having control of you and the present situation, so best not to let that problem develop at all.

He may bond to you more quickly than you think.... there is a difference between a trainer and a "permanent" human owner, and they pick up on that. Be aware that his behavior may change as he starts to trust you, and as he ages - he may become more strong-willed, or more or less compliant. Pay attention to the changes and adjust your training routine accordingly.

Also, spend time getting to know his hooves and the tendons in his legs like the back of your hand - you're the owner now, so his physical health is up to you, too.

Congratulations! You are going to have an amazing adventure :)
KigerQueen likes this.

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