Moving horse to smaller barn & herd - what to expect?
I may move my horse from a barn of approx. 18 horses (he is turned out with 12). He is quiet, older and pretty laid back. He has gotten his fair share of injuries (superficial - cuts, bites, etc) but he also gets more exercise, a few gallops here and there when the herd runs.
New barn is total of 4 horses. He would be turned out with 1 directly with him - also an older guy but sound and in great shape. Right next to his field is another pasture where the other 2 are turned out. They are younger.
The care, facilities and owner at new barn FAR FAR outweigh our current place. The new barn has clear advantages both on the facilities side as well as safety, upkeep and care. Feedings, hay (both amount and quality!!) far outweigh current barn.
BUT.......I am worried my guy will miss his bigger herd or become buddy sour. I have no basis for that worry but COULD he be miserable? I am lucky that I see him and/or ride 3-5 days per week. Smaller barns are everywhere around here so I am sure he'll live but would love any thoughts. I had also posted a few days ago on off-course about moving him, and my angst regarding it. I finally visited the new barn in question and LOVED it, the owner, ring and obvious excellent care I saw. It seems like a no-brainer but gosh change is HARD for me and I worry about him. Thoughts?
I think the best thing you can do for him is to keep him in a routine. Maybe give him one day to adjust to the new turnout, but have private time with him every day if you can.
I have a farm of 4- and when they are not in regular work, and I decide I want to ride, sometimes it ain't much fun. Fortunately my 2 main mounts just don't have that herdbound tendency. All my previous horses did and it just gets old. My sisters horse who lives here can get bratty if she doesn't ride on her own atleast once a week. This brattiness also got her eliminated at an HT, cause he didn't want to leave his friend at the trailer, while the horse at the trailer could have cared less...
So that is my best advice- know your horses tendencies. If he has that buddy sour thing, I would get on him immediately and set the ground rules.