Guest Blog: Settling in with a new horse

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Getting to know a new horse

We’ve had Rosco just over five weeks, and I’m thrilled to report that he’s settled in well. We were originally going to have him transported the 300 miles down from Scotland by a professional company, but that potentially meant keeping him in quarantine for two weeks as he would be mixing with other unknown horses, which wasn’t ideal. In the end we agreed with his previous owner that she would deliver him, and it was nice for her to see he was coming to his lovely new home. He arrived after a horrendous 7+ hour journey from Scotland in very strong winds which ended up closing the A1! Somehow this didn’t faze him, and after a quick walk to stretch his legs he just settled straight into his cozy stable – none the worse for the journey!

Settling in

We’ve decided to keep him separate from our other horses for the time being to try and avoid field injuries, although he can nuzzle them over the fence and loves to playfight with Bowdee. When buying a horse it can be difficult to gauge a personality, but he certainly has one! He’s got a technique of being able to take his boots off by peeling the velcro off with his teeth. He also loves treats and knows that my right-hand pocket contains the goodies – he has a knack for chewing carrots whilst they’re still in my pocket, so I end up with mushy carrots in my laundry! We’ve had to ‘Rosco-proof’ things too: after over 25 years no horse has ever managed to touch the electric fence wire that runs down the main stable block, tucked behind the block door... but Rosco has, and as you’d expect, leaped out of his skin – of course landing on my foot. Thankfully it’s not broken (just a nice blue colour) and the wire is now shielded by some sturdy plastic.

Ian and Rosco bonding with a new horse what to look out for with a new horse

Ian and Rosco

Riding Rosco

I’ve been having a lesson each week, both jumping and flat, and after a few weeks we’re really starting to gel – although my canter transition still feels lumpy, but gives us something to work on together. I bought him with his newly fitted Equipe saddle and although it’s virtually brand new and looks fab, the lack of deep knee rolls doesn’t seem to suit me so far. For the time being I'm using Walter’s saddle, a lovely Kent and Masters dressage piece which has been perfect as the changeable gullet bar allows for adjustment between horses! I’ll try the Equipe again in a few weeks, once I'm more tuned in with Rosco.

The first test

We had our first outing recently at my local riding club members’ dressage, and Rosco didn’t put a foot wrong. He behaved well in a very busy warm up arena, stood patiently in the lorry between tests, and everybody had nice comments about him throughout the day. He produced a couple of reasonable tests in quite a ‘spooky’ arena, just getting us into the last rosette placings with two 6th’s. I was really pleased with him but there’s a lot more to come – and hopefully I’ll take on board the judge’s comments so we can achieve even better placings.

Things to check for

Although he was vetted, over the next few weeks we are going to get Rosco checked over with our physio and have his teeth checked – just to make sure he’s in tip top condition. It’s best to keep a new horse separate to those you may already own to begin with, allowing time to settle in and avoid territory clashes that can cause injury. You should always monitor the situation when you do introduce horses into the same field, until you can be confident that they are comfortable with each other. Thankfully, Rosco and Bowdeen have been getting on just fine - but it's always better to be safe than sorry!

Want to know more about Ian? Find out how he got into the world of horse riding in his first blog of the series, From beginner to BE 100.

Did you know that we offer saddle fitting by an SMS-qualified saddle fitter? Find out more here.

By Ian Pycock