Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:57 pm
|Hi, Cyndy! It's great to have you join the forum and exciting to hear that you're getting back into horses again. They're so rewarding and enriching to our lives.
Ellie sounds like a good choice, being an older and well-broke mare. As far as advice, it sounds like you want to have a good transition in moving her to a new place, as well as form a bond with her. Horses are pretty versatile and adapt well to new owners and places, but there are a few things I would suggest.
If she is going to be pastured with other horses, I would first of all make sure she will get along with them well before turning them loose in a large area like a pasture. When she gets to the new place, keep her in a stall or smaller pen for the first day or two. She should be introduced to other horses over a strong and safe fence at first. Let them sniff, squeal, paw, or nip with a good safe fence between them at first. You don't want to deal with any bruises, abcesses, or cuts from being kicked or run through a fence first thing. So let her get to know them a little over a fence first. They usually establish a pecking order rather quickly, so the showing off and snorting should get over with soon.
I would give Ellie a little while to get used to the new surroundings before riding her much, unless it is done in a very safe place like an arena. As far as groundwork ideas, lungeing her is a great excercise. I suggest lungeing before each ride unless she is just really laid-back and has no problem with you climbing right on and being calm and relaxed on a ride. If she is nervous, hyper, or exhibits too much energy, lungeing for fifteen minutes before each ride will help with that.
Keep her feed the same as she's used to, unless your veterinarian suggests a change. A lot of people tend to "spoil" their new horse, wanting to give it the best of everything, and they overfeed it and it gets ornery on them. Grains such as corn, barley, and oats are very "hot" grains, which can result in even the best trained horse turning into a bucker or runaway. If your mare is in good health and maintains her weight easily, a high-protein grass mix hay might be all she needs. If she needs more than that, find a pelleted feed that is low in carbohydrates to supplement with. Other grains should be limited to a handful here and there as a treat, unless she is really laid back and needs the extra fat and energy.
Also, try to keep her tack and especially the bit the same as she is used to. Changing bits can really confuse a horse, and cause problems that you don't want to deal with. If she goes well in what she's used to, there's no reason to change.
As far as forming a bond with your horse, in my opinion it is something that happens after a lot of time has been invested in the relationship. Some horses seem to bond immediately, and others you might feel that you never do "click" with. But sometimes if a horse is obedient and easy to handle, you can be satisfied with that and not expect too much more. Horses aren't exactly like a dog that just runs to meet you when you arrive...they can still have affection and trust in you and not evidence it so much. I think if you spend a lot of quality time with this mare and she knows she can expect consistently kind treatment from you, she will bond with you and you'll be a great team. But if she is obedient and calm to ride, I think you should congratulate yourself on choosing a great horse and not stress about bonding too much. That's just my opinion.
Anyway, I'm really glad you've joined the forum here and hope to hear from you often! If there are specific things you would like help with, please post again.