Dandy has been in his new home for a week today. It amazing how fast horses can settle. He’s totally integrated in his new herd, and seems very at ease in his environment. The weather is cold. Not North Pole cold, but frigid enough that the ground is too hard to do more than a small jog, and riding is uncomfortable due to painful fingers and toes. Yet, I can’t let Dandy think that he’s been transferred to winter camp and that it’s all fun. He has to learn it’s a working environment, as well.
Hanging on with his new girlfriend…
So on Day 3 I just went in, saddled up quickly and rode half an hour in the smallish grassy arena. He was legitimately looking around a little, but still good overall
We walked, trotted and even loped around the place, everything on a lose rein. He had some “destination addiction” towards the exit area, so I hustled his feet on a smaller circles there until he decided that part wasn’t fun after all. We spent some time at the down end near the older horses’s paddock, until he relaxed, then moved on. Overall he was slightly bracey and not entirely comfortable at first, but we worked till he softened and relaxed, and ended on a good note.
After the very first ride, quite the happy pony
Today I went in and found him there. He was immediately willing to come to me and follow
The ground was frozen again and I felt too lazy to saddle for giggles, so we just walked to the arena and did a bunch of fine groundwork again. Some jumping poles were installed, supported on big green plastic blocks. I worked at getting Dandy lined up with one of the blocks until I could easily get on his back off the block. It took a few minutes to get it perfect, one very small and quiet step at a time, but when he got it just right it was the simplest thing to just throw a leg over and climb onboard.
We walked around and worked on steering with no rein. At one point he really insisted on going towards the other horse that had come in the arena, but I kept shaking the flag on the side of his face until he changed his mind and accept to turn off my legs. We wandered around a little ways.
You can see he’s so relaxed about the whole thing he’s nearly going to sleep !
When we were done we went back for a short brushing session, and he got to try is first ever blanket on. He’s not gonna wear it unless the weather turns to heavy rain, but I wanted to have one at hand, since there’s no shed in his pasture for the moment.
It’s fitting him but just so, and will be too small within one season, bummer…
For a horse who formerly had so many issues with his social behavior towards others, I’m literally thrilled that is he now interacting so peacefully and so serenely with a variety of horses, ponies and donkey (and I’m not even mentioning the goats, lol). That is exactly what I was hoping would happen in the new place, and it did.
Letting them be horses is the greatest gift they can receive