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Settling in the New Horse

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  • Settling in the New Horse

    I brought a new horse home yesterday (13 hour trailer ride). This is a very seasoned schoolmaster, very quiet, amateur horse. He is not settling in well. In general seems unsettled and very unsure. Any recommendations for how you settle a new guy in?

    Am I expecting for him to get comfortable quicker than is reasonable. My plan was to tack walk him today but don't think I will be able to do it due to the excitement factor. Thanks

  • #2
    Congrats on the new horse.

    Has he been turned out yet? Usually once they get out for a run and a roll, and more so when they make a new friend they tend to settle down a bit more.
    Boss Mare Eventing Blog


    • #3
      Is he able to see and talk to other horses? I don't advocate putting them together yet... but having access to buddies is nice for a herd animal.

      I just brought home my "tall boy" yesterday. He is in his own pasture, but can visit with the guys next door. Our barn has bars at the top of the stall so the horses are able to see one another - that has seemed to help him. He is also one that likes to look over the stall door...maybe that would help your new horse?
      Good luck!
      Some folks think it takes about 4 days...


      • #4
        I'll never forget when about a year ago one of our boarders brought in a three-year-old gelding. When I got to the barn that evening, the horse was in a real state, pacing and calling non-stop. A few other boarders came in and we stopped to talk in front of the new guy's stall. He instantly became very interested in us and stoped all the pacing and calling - for good! All this one wanted was to join the party.

        If you have a routine that the horse can count on, he'll get into the swing of things without too much fuss. Sometimes it takes a few days of a new routine, but he'll settle in, I'm sure. Oh, and treats can't hurt.
        Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


        • #5
          Originally posted by KatherineC View Post
          I brought a new horse home yesterday (13 hour trailer ride). This is a very seasoned schoolmaster, very quiet, amateur horse. He is not settling in well. In general seems unsettled and very unsure. Any recommendations for how you settle a new guy in?

          Am I expecting for him to get comfortable quicker than is reasonable. My plan was to tack walk him today but don't think I will be able to do it due to the excitement factor. Thanks
          I do not think you are expecting too much. I would expect a school master to haul and maintain his composure. -Especially if he had an iota of show experience which I expect school masters to have. Sounds like he is excited to the point that you are scared...not what one expects when they spend the money for a "school master"

          For a young horse- I would turnout, have visualization of other horses, and have hay on hand to keep him busy when stalled. I would make sure to not over-grain and begin training on day 1 or 2.


          • #6
            In addition to these suggestions, try to spend extra time grooming him, hanging with him, so he'll recognize you as part of his "herd."


            • #7
              I think it depends on the horse. It took my 9 yo about 3 weeks to settle in enough for riding, but he always was and is quite a mental case. On the other hand, my 5 yo arrived during horse show and behaved like a champ, never showed any signs of distress and was ridden the next morning (we were trying saddles.) and acted like he spend his whole life in this barn.


              • #8
                In addition to what everyone else already said, see if you can turn him out in the indoor / ring where you plan on riding before you ride him in there. This will give him a chance to investigate everything scary before you are on his back.
                If you are intimidated about tack walking him then try handwalking, but it is important that he get out of his stall and stretch his legs.
                Das größte Glück der Erde liegt auf dem Rücken der Pferde. Das größte Glück der Pferde ist der Reiter auf der Erde


                • #9
                  I have been told by a vet and believe it's true that moves are much harder on an older horse than a younger one. When I brought my 14 year old schoolmaster home, he whinnied all the time and was very frantic. He had been stabled with a gray mare in europe and he cried for all the gray horses he saw. I used Bach flower remedies on him and it helped almost instantly. The one I would suggest is "Rescue Remedy", about ten drops on sugar cubes or in his water. Horses appear to be much more receptive to the flower remedies than humans. You can buy this in a health food store. They now have a pet formula, but I just use the regular formula: http://www.rescueremedy.com/pets/

                  I would give him a couple of weeks of settling in before I try to do any serious work with him. He has a lot of new things to get used to: new food, new water, new schedule, new home, new owner, etc. etc.


                  • Original Poster

                    Good news. By afternoon he settled in quite nicely. I rode him and then went on a nice hack with my daughter. Couldn't be any happier. Thanks for the suggestions.


                    • #11
                      With the exception of having a "new person", I would see no reason for a horse not to be ready to work on day one if it is a school master that has been showing. He should be used to going to new surroundings and seeing new horses all the time. If you have a trainer, see if he or she is willing to get on him and get his mind back on work. If not, lunge him a bit to get some of the energy out.

                      Maybe try contacting his previous owners to see what his "show routine" is. I usually hand walk my horses all around a new place before I tack up and get to work.


                      • #12
                        Guess I posted too late. Glad he is doing well.


                        • #13
                          Glad he settled down
                          I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.