When you get a new horse, and bring him to his new home, there may be a bit of a time for learning. He needs to learn about you, you need to learn about him, and you both need to learn together. Its as if you will be having learning lessons with a new horse, for a while.
We brought Plezant home on Saturday, December 21st. And after we got him home everything was uneventful thank goodness. Getting him in to the trailer was kind of comical and took a lot longer than expected. If you want to read about that, check out my post Welcome home Plezant.
And while I really wanted to ride him on Sunday, I refrained. He was still a little looky-loo at everything. So I decided to not be selfish, and make sure h feels comfortable with everything before I climb up into the saddle.
I want him to be comfortable with all of my little idiosyncrasies, such as following him around the arena with my camera.
As you probably can tell from my blog, I love to take pictures. And my horses are my models most of the time. So Plezant will be reliving the days of being the center of attention, only it won’t be in a show ring. It will be on the internet.
When I was out with him in the arena, I got a couple of white eye stares like what in the heck are you doing?
He settled down for that pretty fast, and then began to pose for me. I think he enjoyed being my model.
And Frisby showed him what to do too. Plezant is very intent on the goings on around the barn when I am outside doing stuff. It’s really cute how attentive he is.
Bad Habit or Recently Induced Trauma?
And one thing that ended up seeming odd to me is Saturday he was fine, but by Sunday evening when I went to put his halter on to bring him in, he lifted his head super high. Like so high I couldn’t even slip the halter over his nose.
So my brain started working as to why.
When he wouldn’t get on the trailer, the barn owner came out and worked with him with a stick and red rag on the end of it. He eventually gave in to the pressure, but his head was super high. Maybe this was the reason? Or it could have been when we were out in the pasture and somehow I was electrically charged, and I touched his nose, and a freaking shock happened.
He definitely stepped away from me after that moment. So I am thinking that might have been the cause of the high headedness. I will have to work through that to regain his trust and get him to lower his head when asked.
He’ll do it though, he seems very eager to please. Which is one of the reasons why I really like him so much.
To Tie or Not To Tie – That is the Question
I was told that he doesn’t straight tie very well, because he is used to being in a barn that always had cross ties. Well right now, I don’t have cross ties. So if I want to tack him up, he is going to have to stand while being tied to my hitching post, or I will have to have my husband hold him every time I want to ride.
So I decided to work with him at the hitching post. I had a brush out, and brought him in from the pasture and stood him by the hitching post. I began to brush him as he stood there, and I had the lead held up as if it were tied to the post. He did dance around a little bit, but he actually was pretty good.
I continued to act as if he were tied, and bushed both sides of his body, and let a little more rope out so I could get to his hind end. He did great.
Then I decided to tie him. And when I say tie, it’s not really tying him. I have a blocker ring that works really well, and in my opinion is safer than tying. So I fed the lead rope through the blocker ring and every time he took a step, I told him to stand. He did.
So I spent some more time brushing him, and giving him endless praise, telling him how good he was, and how handsome he looked. And when he was standing still, I went to the barn to grab his blanket. He stood just fine! My first victory with Plezant! Yay!
I love it when I have little victories with a horse. It is such a great feeling knowing that you are doing the right thing. And when it comes to ground work, I am golden. I have watched so many videos, and practiced so many times with Frisby and Ethan that I get it.
For me, this is the right way to start a relationship with a horse. So I will be breaking out all of my ground work videos, and refresh my memory of each of the steps to work on with Plezant.
Ground work really does work and transitions well into the saddle. So for the next month or so, this is what Plezant and I will be working on. Flexing, leading, lowering the head, disengaging his hindquarters, and lots and lots of ground work. For me, this is the best way to get to know a horse.
Learning Lessons with a New Horse
If I have any advice to give to anyone who is bringing home or starting a new horse is to do it slow. Take your time and don’t rush each lesson. Because each lesson builds upon the next one.
So do what you have to do in order to take it one step at a time, and one day at a time. And with a good foundation from the ground, hopefully you will have a wonderful partnership with your horse.