another "moving my horse to a new place" thread.... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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another "moving my horse to a new place" thread....

I know this has often been covered - but it seems every scenario is slightly different, so I'd love your insight. You've helped me so many times with practical straight-forward advice.

I'm moving my mare tomorrow to my friend's place from the stable I've been boarding at since I got her four months ago. This will probably be her "summer home" so we can ride together in the 60 acres behind her place, and I'll likely move back to the stable (which I love) for the winter where I can ride indoors.

We will be keeping her for a few days or a week or whatever in a separate paddock w/ shelter etc. (it is not a true isolation, as they will have nose to nose contact... we don't really have a quarantine option, and understand the risks but have done what we can to minimize; for various reasons the risk is very low).

So here is the real question:

What should the procedure be when we get there? Part of me wants to saddle her up and ride her soon after we unload, assuming she's calm (she's a trail horse after all, and should be accustomed to this, though I've never hauled her anywhere... she has been taken to many trail rides). We could isolate the other horses in a different area, and I could ride her around her new pasture. Maybe with my friend on a calm horse. Or I could just lead her around... Or, should I just let her settle in and do simple groundwork and grooming for a while? She's a level headed horse but still of course will be 'up' in the new place, I'm sure. I want to start things off with the best chance for smooth transition.

BTW, one of my friend's herd is very territorial so there will be some drama. It so far has worked out fine and settled in (2 new horses have been introduced in the past couple of years, and they finally reach an equilibrium, but this horse definitely is a bit of a bully. She's not the alpha, shes #2). Just including this information in case it affects anything. I swear this horse is capable of "jealousy", and punishes any horse who she perceives is receiving special treatment! Fascinating herd behavior.

I'm a mid-lifer finally making time for horses... Having a blast, but there's soooo much to learn -

Last edited by Folly; 06-11-2016 at 02:36 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 02:44 PM
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Horses are routine animals. They get very attached to their home environment, their herd and other routine things. Respecting that, when I've had to move my horse, I let him settle in at least for a week, doing groundwork, exploring the barn surroundings and riding in the arena. After that, I follow the circumstances and start introducing him to the new trails, preferably with a resident horse to show us the way.

Introduction to the new herd, in my experience, depends on the herd. I've experienced numerous different scenarios, each assessed individually by how the horses interact, the herd hierarchy, etc. Last time my gelding was let into the herd the same evening after moving in the new place and it couldn't have gone calmer - another time he was in a separate paddock (allowing sniffing over fences) for a week, and that's what was necessary.

There's nowhere to hurry even with the calmest horses. They benefit from time and patience, and you'll get a calmer, happier horse that way. There's nothing to gain when we rush.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 03:38 PM
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I like to set up for success. I think taking a week to 10 days for orientation would help things go more smoothly. Based on my experiences, many horses get a little uptight (insecure) when moved to a new place with a new routine and new horses, and my mare even has a settling in period when a new horse enters her herd as they all try to figures out the pecking order again.
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Makes sense and that's certainly the least stressful way for me as well...and I really like the comment about respecting the horse in this situation. It just got me thinking, how is a move (at first at least, until she knows I'm leaving her there) any different from a typical trail ride or for that matter a 'show' or rodeo or calf sorting event or playday....? I'm actually amazed horses can be hauled to anywhere and be able to keep their heads on straight. So, it made me wonder if I should be nonchalant about it all, and just saddle up and ride for a few minutes as if this was a completely normal day. I'm probably way over-thinking it.
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I'm a mid-lifer finally making time for horses... Having a blast, but there's soooo much to learn -

Last edited by Folly; 06-11-2016 at 05:03 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 06:37 PM
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What do people do when they haul in to a local show? What do they do if they haul to a set of trails?

Most importantly: What do horses do when they move on to new range? Either because the water or forage is gone.

They travel and explore.

When I move a horse within several hours or even just a few miles, I saddle up and ride. If they are going to be in a new paddock or pasture, we ride the perimeter fences. Especially if they are electric, smooth wire, or some combination of those.

I like to do this for a couple reasons. Super easy to keep the horse focused on work, and my attitude and influence is more powerful from the saddle.

I gave an example on here recently of hauling a horse saddled to where I would be legging him up. The horse has (had) really crummy ground manners, but I didn't have time to travel the couple hours to where he was homed to address those before moving him. In the past, when introduced to a new place, he reportedly walked on his hind legs, pawed the air, and spun around his handlers. Squealed. Kicked out. Good grief!

He was 'okay' when ridden. I hauled him saddled. Got him out of the trailer. Hopped on and rode him for several hours. When we finished, he had his brains in place and didn't associate stopping with "time to show the others what hot stuff I am."

He was more like "New country AND good hay and water? I love this place!"
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
Makes sense and that's certainly the least stressful way for me as well...and I really like the comment about respecting the horse in this situation. It just got me thinking, how is a move (at first at least, until she knows I'm leaving her there) any different from a typical trail ride or for that matter a 'show' or rodeo or calf sorting event or playday....? I'm actually amazed horses can be hauled to anywhere and be able to keep their heads on straight. So, it made me wonder if I should be nonchalant about it all, and just saddle up and ride for a few minutes as if this was a completely normal day. I'm probably way over-thinking it.
Time allowing, that's what I would do. Maybe go with one of the resident horses who knows the trails.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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I think I will just evaluate her demeanor when we get there. It's only a 20 minute drive btw. I do want to set us both up for success. We've come to trust each other pretty well over the past few months, but if she's nervous I may not be a confident enough rider to pull it off. Good to know there's not a set 'way'.

Question - I hadn't thought about trailering her saddled. That's an interesting thought and would make it really easy to take a ride when we arrive. She is usually very well mannered, but really seems to understand that the human is in charge when the saddle goes on. And would keep me from fumbling around a new place to tack her up. And I am riding her before the move anyway. Any reason not to?

I'm a mid-lifer finally making time for horses... Having a blast, but there's soooo much to learn -
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 08:43 PM
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It doesn't sound like your horse will have any problem with the move itself, and the fact that you are planning to "evaluate" her when you get there tells me that you will make the right decision. Unless there is a good reason not to, I would do whatever you normally do at the old barn. Introducing a new horse to a herd can take a short or longer time depending on the horses involved but by watching their behavior over the fence you will have a good idea of when they are ready.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-11-2016, 08:47 PM
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Depending on your trailer configuration your saddle might get banged up. We used to haul horses saddled all the time in a stock trailer.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-12-2016, 10:21 AM
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For us... we took the horses for a 2 week long work trip. After we got to our destination the kids saddled up and hit the trails. The only thing our horses knew was the other horses there.

For our horses it was just like going to some trail head and going off for a ride. They had no clue we'd be living there

When we transport saddled up we tie the stirrups up on top of the saddle. Keeps the fenders from getting damaged.
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