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Horses in New Homes (She's Here! Photos 1st page)

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  • Horses in New Homes (She's Here! Photos 1st page)

    Hello. Please share your stories of moving a horse from one long-term home to a new place where it worked out and the horse was at least as happy ... I'm freaking out about moving my very sheltered and sensitive mare to be with me (across the country, new environment, new trainer, different type of facility) and would really appreciate reading stories of success.

    I've got enough doom and gloom in my imagination, so if you want to share disasters, please create a different thread

    UPDATE: She's HERE!!!

    Definitely more slender than when she loaded up, but in excellent shape for a week of stall-bound travel.

    Down the ramp.

    First night in her new stall.

    Just as you all said, she's settled right in. She's not thrilled with her boring feed, but does love hay 4x a day (and a variety of hays, too). She can watch the jumping lessons out her back window and from the front, has views of the round pen (kid lessons) and the covered.

    She's getting a week of rest and easy work while her new trainer gets to know her and then we'll have a plan.

    Honestly, I'm more thrilled than I would have even guessed. In fact, I'm on my way to the barn now
    Last edited by AllWeatherGal; Apr. 23, 2011, 03:08 PM. Reason: Update conversation.

  • #2
    Well, I bought my mare last February - she had been with the same owner for about 12 years, so moving was a big change for her (although she is older and has pretty much been there, done that). It took us a few months to figure each other out riding wise, but I knew she was going to be a great match from the first time I tried her (even if I wasn't totally up to par to her experience level!). She has fit into our family very well and even my husband is attached to her (he also came up with a nickname for her, as all our animals have them).

    We spent a few months adjusting to life at a bigger barn that turned out not to be the best fit care wise for us, and moved last summer to a smaller, more personalized co-op. She has been VERY happy there and our riding partnership has really blossomed. I keep an updated journal to track my progress with her and also in case her old owner wants to see updates. I was a little concerned when I first got her since she had been with the same person for so long - I wanted to ensure that she would be okay switching environments and with a completely different person. But now I feel like we are bonded and she's basically spoiled rotten (without the rotten part, which is why she's a great mare). She has taken me from training to second level in a year, and we'll see how far we can go.

    So - while my story is a bit different because it involves a transfer of ownership, hopefully it will spark some optimism for your situation. I think horses are very adjustable creatures overall - they don't ask for much besides the relative comfort of consistency. So, it may take some time to adjust to a new environment but it can be done fairly easily.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted


    • #3
      AllWeatherGal, I can help you out!

      Seems like my "thing" is to buy a horse, and then immediately move it about 2000 miles (usually in the dead of winter). My (then) crazy Dutch gelding took it in stride. After a few days of being an idiot in turnout (OMG SNOW), he settled right in. No worries.

      My 4yo GRP mare had the same unfortunate move in the middle of winter. Her hardest transition was from warm sunny TX to cold miserable MI-- she's unhappy whenever I take the blankets (yes, plural) off. She took about a day to figure out the routine and now is perfectly happy...as long as she's swaddled in layers.

      And every summer, I take a roadtrip with my ponies back to TX, and they settle down into their new living quarters fairly quickly. Granted they have exposure to new places via shows, but it seems to be a pretty uneventful transition every time.

      Good luck!


      • #4
        Despite his frosty, northern name, Canadian Kid went from Alabama to Georgia to California to Alabama then, in Jan., 2009, to Pennsylvania & arrived in an ice storm.

        Turns out he loves to play in the snow. Who'd have thought?

        We've also bought horses who were primarily stalled & with a little prep, rocked their world with lots & lots of turnout.

        They are pretty adaptable. Keep it safe, go slow when you can & you'll be amazed at how easy it can be.
        Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks so much you guys!!!

          Please keep them coming.


          • #6
            Not so dramatic, but a friend sold a horse she adored but needed to downsize. She'd done well well the horse, but the new owner took her out and scored over 70% at training level with her. Horse is sleek happy and healthy.
            Last edited by Ibex; Apr. 8, 2011, 03:26 PM.
            "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


            • #7
              I got my horse last April from another COTHer who was moving across country and he wasn't going with her. Besides the timing and the sense that this was exactly what was supposed to happen for him and for me at the right time, one of the really uplifting and emotionally positive parts of it was how he bonded to me. Spending time with him in his new home, on a leadrope, walking around the property, staying with him while he ate his meals, sitting with him and reading a book on the grass while he grazed, spending lots of time grooming in cross ties, where he could watch the comings and goings of other horses; grooming him while he watched the farrier shoe another horse! Talking to him, finding his best itchy spots, teaching him some boundaries, finding a routine where he could look for me at a certain time every day, or at a certain time during our routine togeether when I was at the barn - he really bonded to me. He looks up and comes to the fence when I drive onto the property; stands perfectly still for his bath, turns and folds his neck around me when I groom him, tries to groom me.

              Having your mare here with you, despite the idea YOU have of the potential trauma of making the move, having her here with you at the end of that will really really be rewarding to both of you. If you are able to be a part of that trip with her, stopping and spending time with her during the rest stops, gass ups, etc that will be very good for her too. But if not, once she is at home, your sense that she is finally at home, as you spend the days with her showing her how it really IS her home, will definitely be communicated to her, and she will receive that as reassuring.

              Stay with her during introductions to any other horses. If the introduction isn't going well, intervene for her, remove her and try again another time. If she feels you are watching out for her, and protecting her, that's a really really big thing in a horse's mind. There is always one or some lead horses in a gang which are the ones who watch out for the others, and which give warnings, or move the rest away from something dangerous or disturbing; many times an anxious horse is looking for the one who will tell them what to do in uncertain times, and the logistics of most barns or boarding stables are such that horses aren't together with their gang and their leader alot of the time, especially when they are a new horse on the property. If you are there in the beginning to do that for her, then she will become secure in what to do and settle in, once she learns how she belongs in this new world.

              Make any sense?
              Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


              • #8
                Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
                Hello. Please share your stories of moving a horse from one long-term home to a new place where it worked out and the horse was at least as happy ... I'm freaking out about moving my very sheltered and sensitive mare to be with me (across the country, new environment, new trainer, different type of facility) and would really appreciate reading stories of success.

                I've got enough doom and gloom in my imagination, so if you want to share disasters, please create a different thread

                I had to move my super-sensitive, hot and occasionally disrespectful mare to another state several years ago. I was so so so anxious about it (and about what people would think of me and my crazy horse!). She was a crabby, mare-ish mare who all the barn workers hated dealing with and, at her worst (coming off stall rest) even the trainer at my old barn wouldn't get on her. She was BAD. Within 24 hours of coming to her new place, all the tension disappeared, she became soft and loving, and the only one of the mares the barn owners non-horsey husband would lead to turnout and back. She became the horse I always wanted her to be.

                On paper, there was nothing wrong with the old barn - more than sufficient care, good trainer who I still have a lot of respect for, etc. It just wasn't the right fit for my sensitive mare - busy boarding barn, not a set-in-stone routine (new barn is the sort of place where feeding, turn out, etc. times never fluctuate more than about 5 min, etc.). A quiet, smaller barn with turn out in smaller groups was just right. I never realized what a big difference it would make for my horse!

                So, there you go, a very positive story of moving a horse to a new state .


                • Original Poster

                  I had left my horse with her trainer when I moved a year ago, thinking and hoping that it wouldn't be for longer than 14 months. It is. I want to ride again, I can't afford to support two horses, so she's gotta come here. I'm not sure my horse's situation could be any better than it has been, so I'm hoping for good-even-though-different.

                  Thank you (again) for sharing your experiences and perspectives.


                  • #10
                    Best friends

                    Both horse & human.
                    Bo belonged to Sam from Va- Equitation horse she had for 15 yrs 17.0- 20 yr old warmblood, posted here on G A . Was her move up from pony divisions. Had planned on keeping him for life, but unforeseen circumstances made that not possible. After alot of talking she decided to place him in my care.
                    He's been here going on 2 yrs, completely sound & healthy. Hunted this year and was an absolute joy.

                    June '10- Her best friend Sarah from Mn needed to place her horse 17.1 probably close to 15yr, after being unable to sell him & going to Vet school in fall.
                    Sam told her about me, we talked and Sterling is now here.
                    Both nicker every morning, first to be @ gate and love to travel & show off.

                    The heart strings part- these horses were both abused & neglected, found BCS of 3 in a run down farm in Ga together.
                    And although Sam & Sarah knew each, they rode different disciplines, so horses were @ different barns.
                    Until now.


                    • Original Poster

                      Great addition, Ltc

                      Wheels are in motion, no second-guessing myself, but the success stories are very encouraging.

                      Thanks everyone.


                      • #12
                        This sounds sad, but does end well so keep reading.

                        A woman in our riding club adopted an exracehorse from somewhere back east (we're in Oregon) She has a small place out of town with no other horses. Her horse was on a trailer for almost two weeks getting here. He looked terrible. Of course we all went to her place to see the "new horse". I felt so sorry for him. He looked really stressed and scared.

                        So a couple of years go by and this woman and horse never "click". She sells him for cheap to a family with a couple of Arabs. The transformation to the horse when he moved into their barn was astounding! Within weeks he was happy, gaining weight and easy to handle. I think being pulled from a busy racetrack, on a truck for days and then landing in a remote spot with no horses or activity just made him ill.

                        He's a pacer and it is so funny to see the teenage boy riding him down the trail. I swear that horse has as big a grin on his face as the kid does.


                        • #13
                          My move wasn't as dramatic, just from a barn where my horse had lived for approximately 2.5 years to another facility about an hour away.

                          I bought him about a year before I moved him and I thought he was doing OK but our progress was slow. I moved him from 24/7 turn out (except for bad weather) to a 12/12 situation and I was worried he wouldn't adjust.

                          Long story short, I moved him just about 3 months ago. He has blossomed in that short time. He does fine in the half day turnout. I was there with him every day for a couple of weeks. Since his trip was short we started to work the day after he arrived. Getting right back into a normal routine was best for us.

                          We have made way more progress in the past three months than we made in the entire year prior to that. More than I would have thought was possible in that short an amount of time. Everyone at the new place is so friendly, nice, and supportive. A much better fit for both of us.

                          Since you are shipping across the country, your horse will need a little time to rest and settle in but really I think the sooner she can get into her routine the happier she (and you) will be. I'm sure as long as you're there with her your mare will be just fine.
                          "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                          • #14
                            Over the almost 15 years I had my first horse I had to move him 4 times for various reasons. Each time I made sure I was able to spend lots of time with him for the first couple of days. He did very well, even the first time when I had to trailer him for the first time since I had owned him. He didn't trailer well at that time.
                            I made sure I had hay from the barn he moved from for at least a few days and made any feed changes very gradually.
                            Just spend as much time as you can with your horse to reassure her.


                            • #15
                              Well I was pretty worried about my weanling when I went to pick him up in South Dakota last fall. He had just gone through keuring/branding and then was weaned right after that. He didn't take the weaning well at all. I guess he raised a lot of hell and even the breeder was a little concerned about him traveling.

                              He was an absolute pain in the ass to load and had a trantrum for the first 10 minutes or so of the ride, but after that he settled right in and started eating. I had a hay bag hanging in the back of the trailer and he rode backwards, with the company of his "buddy" in the mirrors I had attached to the back doors.

                              We went through some heavy wind and thunderstorms and it didn't seem to bother him. We stopped frequently and let him rest, and he drank water almost every time I offered it. It was an 11-hour trip including stops and he stood the whole time, so he was exhausted when we got home.

                              From the next day on it was smooth sailing. The little guy settled right in with his new babysitters and even began suckling on my gelding (switched to my mare a few days later).

                              Here's the setup of his "coach" (that's my niece inside and my warped reflection in the green tank top):



                              I just though I'd add this, because it was so funny. After witnessing the lengthy loading process, my niece, who isn't a horse person, said, "I guess we won't be stopping along the way and letting him out to walk and go the bathroom."


                              • #16
                                My friend had to move her rather neurotic 29 year old from the home he had been in for the past 11 years. You have heard the saying about a horse that "he didn't get old by being stupid"? Well this horse is the exception to the rule. We were all concerned about him. He did fine! She did spend extra time with him and gave him some Calm & Cool for the first few days.
                                Horse like people adapt. You will be fine.


                                • Original Poster

                                  So far, so good ... I hate to jinx anything but it's all I can think about and they're sick of hearing it at work ... my girl loaded up Wednesday and will arrive at the layover ... well, maybe they're unloading her now (they're not answering the phone!!).

                                  Reports are that once she made it up the hellacious ramp, she settled in well--eating, drinking, and pooping (not the word they used!) just fine--and has had the same neighbor for the whole trip from northern California to Texas. Drivers have been very nice and I just hope they're not shining me on with false good news. I'm only calling 2x a day (is that awful?).

                                  Now I have to live through the weekend lay-over and the quick-ish trip from Texas to California. Then I'll change my status from liminal to all-here-in-Florida and begin riding in earnest again.

                                  Please send good wishes for nice weather for layover and "be brave" thoughts to my girl who will have to load up without her beloved trainer to lead the way.

                                  I suspect I sound like a mother who has sent her child off for a first day of school


                                  • #18
                                    I'm so glad you sent for her, good thoughts are headed her way!


                                    • #19
                                      You do know we'll need pictures once she arrives. And she will be safe all along the way and happy to see you!
                                      "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                                      • #20
                                        My cob mare has more highway miles under her than most people. She's ended up in every facility under the sun, from busy show barn, to being all by herself in a campground for a month! She never fails to amaze me at how she handles it all! I just shipped my dressage mare to her new owner from GA to CA. It was a long trip and she did need some recovery time and a chiropractor, but she settled into her new home and apparently loves it. I never seem to buy horses local to me, it tends to be at minimum 500 miles away... Sigh... And knock on wood, i've never had problems with haulers or with horses settling in. I did have a mare hauled from CA to TX once, the hauler's truck broke down and they ended up having a 2 day lay-over in NM, she arrived covered in mud from the paddock she was in in NM, and in an ice storm that then turned to rain and flooded her stall and paddock and she had to move into a new facility... She handled it all fine, and was prego to boot!

                                        The only one i had some issue with was an older arab that had had the same owner all his life and always lived on that farm. He would not settle at my home, lost weight, depression. But i tried a new home for him with a lady that wanted a pet to brush and love on and poof, he's fat and happy. She had a similar pasture/environment as i did, but it had nothing to do with that it seemed, he just needed more people time!

                                        I think the key is, if you dont worry, they wont worry.
                                        Your Horse's Home On The Road!