10. DO'S & DON'TS WITH
YOUR NEW HORSE
Put yourself in your new horses shoes:
You have just been carted off to a whole new environment with people you don't know.
You have left friends behind, no goodbyes. You don't know why, or when this could happen again without warning.
You don't know if you are safe or if these new people are going to be nice to you.
Common sense would advise, give your new horse time to just settle in and get to know who you are and what you are about.
Unless you are capable of riding a completely stressed out horse do not just jump on and ride the first couple of days at the very least.
I would suggest a good week of just going and patting your horse just in it's new home paddock, don't take it out, it will only stress it out more.
Just go and give it some treats and a pat, get to know it, not by grabbing it and demanding performance, no, just as a mate, no halters no nothing except just you and maybe some treats and just spend some time endearing yourself to your new horse.
I have heard so many stories of people jumping on their new quiet horse without first really getting to know them and end up in trouble because the horse is still in a state of absolute stress from it's shift and has not been allowed time to process it all calmly and kindly.
Also, grabbing your new horse and ordering it around will NOT help the process and just imply you are someone to avoid in future.
COMMON SENSE & EMPATHY WILL GET YOU A LONG WAY WITH HORSES.
When you feel your horse has settled in and is relaxed it is really a great idea to start handling and riding them only in their own paddock.
This will work magic in the sense that you are not taking the horse into another environment it does not know again, causing further stress. It's not the time to do that.
First just take your gear out to it's paddock, even put a bit of lucern or nice feed or hay in the paddock to relax the horse and show it you are a friend.
Then just get on in the paddock and take your time, give the horse a pat and a cuddle, keep your horse as relaxed as possible.
This is the time you really need to show your new horse you are going to be a nice rider not a bully, just let it cruise around, don't demand it walk on straight away, just let it in it's own time at first.
On that first ride in it's new home it's all about communicating to your new horse you are going to be kind and reasonable and easy to work out.
HORSES ARE NOT PROGRAMMED MACHINES, THEY HAVE EMOTIONS, THEREFORE LIVE BY THIS RULE WITH ANY HORSE:
"A RELAXED HORSE IS A SAFE HORSE".
Do this for a few days and only when you see your horse relax and that it is comfortable with you riding it in the paddock then slowly venture further.
But remember, your horse does not know where it is, or you, or why it's there, so it is a great idea to, before you ride out of it's home paddock, lead it out with no other gear on and just take it for a pick of grass out and about.
Show it around and be nice to it in the process with heaps of encouragement, pats, treats and grass picks, so it knows what you are about and what to expect.
Then, when your horse is relaxed enough on the lead out and about in it's new environment, you will be safe to ride it out and about...unless of course you are an experienced capable rider who can easily manage a horse stressed and worried about a new area and environment and what it may hold.
Remember even the quietest, most experienced horse needs this sort of settling in process.
Don't throw your horse or yourself into a potentially dangerous situation by dis-allowing this settling in period.
NOTE: Lungeing your horse, (i.e; effectively chasing our horse around, with or without whips), is no way to endear yourself to your new horse, or help him relax and settle in and can have a very bad effect on any horse.
I do not recommend lungeing with any new horse. Your horse may be tired by the end of it but will not trust you and will try to get away from you any chance it gets... and that's a ticking timebomb for trouble.
You are much better off spending some quiet time with your horse getting it relaxed, happy and being non-intimidating, than chasing it around lungeing it.
SUMMARY: Unless you can handle sticky situations easily, make sure your horse knows you are the very kind person you are and is relaxed in it's new environment and wider environment before attempting normal riding habits.
Common sense will tell you even the most bombproof horses need this settling in process.
When that foundation is laid, you and your new horse will be away laughing.