Buying a new horse or pony is an exciting but scary new venture for all of us. Whether it is a first owned horse or one of many, it is such a big commitment and we worry about getting it right.
We must remember these horses, are living breathing animals, with minds and feelings of their own and as much as we have a plan and expect them just to settle right in, unfortunately it's not always as straight forward as we hope.
It takes time for most horses to adapt to a change of home, they are exposed to new surroundings, horses, people, smells, routine, diet, etc.Each and every one of us handles and rides differently, we have preferred routines, approaches, riding styles and ways with how we do things. This can be all very confusing for a horse, especially when they are unsettled/nervous after a huge change. Some horses will settle right in with no issues, but the majority will need some support and adaptations to help them.
I think it's vital that every horse buyer and owner bares this in mind and to not be quick to reject or give up upon any hiccups which may occur during the settling in stage. Horses can only communicate through their behaviour. We must treat each horse as their own individual, and not compare to others. Remember horses need to get to know us, the same as we need to get to know and understand them
I am more than happy to help and keep in touch after sale. I love to see and hear how every horse and pony I sell is getting on!
An example from experience of a horse needing to settle and solving some problems. For this horse it was being in the wrong environment. The environment can impact a horse massively. Often people are judgemental on the horse's behaviour instead of looking at factors that may be causing it
At my previous yard, Lucero would bite, rear, not want to lead, nap, was spooky and bolshy and literally ate his way around the stable
He wasn't the horse in the videos or described the seller at all and it was really stressful. I didn't want to give up on him.
I had dentist, chiropractor, saddle fitter, physiotherapy, natural horsemanship person, treated for ulcers, sheath clean, literally everything I could physically investigate and treat.
His stable was dark and isolated and he couldn't see what was going on around him. There wasn't another stable suitable as he was confident enough being alone, this was the only stable he could be next door to another. He didn't like the paddocks being confined and too far away from his stable and would jump out. The yard was secluded in many areas and he could hear things going on but not see them, to work out where they were coming from. A bridle and footpath also crossed the yard and alongside the paddocks.
I moved yard a couple months later and literally that same day he is a relaxed and normal horse, has not touched his stable, shown any vices and is relaxed. He is also now living out. He is the horse I originally was buying, actually even better!
It has taken 3 months to introduce the riding properly, which is going well. If I would have pushed this at the start, I would of caused ridden behavioural problems too.
I'm so glad I didn't give up on him or accuse his seller of miselling him. They are animals and need to be understood.
If a child was very unhappy and stressed in a nursery or school, I know most parents would change the setting. Why don't more people do this for their horses.
Please note this isn't a common problem and only some horses, the sensitive ones tend to not suit some environments, also some will adapt to them but do take time (months and months )
Please don't give up on them. Horses will act in a way we don't want them to, or like when they are trying to tell us something. We need to listen.