Getting a new horse can be a challenging time for riders but with some support those challenges will be overcome and your new relationship can flourish.
This piece isn’t about the search for your new partner, where to look, what type to go for, the vetting process and so on but rather looking at taking those first steps with your new friend and building that new relationship.
I often hear riders talking about how challenging they find it with their new equestrian partner, especially when they have moved on – for a myriad of reasons – from a much loved and trusted horse who they felt that they knew inside and out and had perhaps ridden for many years.
There will be some riders who bring a new horse home, jump on and ride away without a second thought but there will also be many who prefer to take things more slowly.
I do liken developing a horse/human relationship to building a human/human relationship. It takes time to get to know each other in so many ways with the aim of working towards simply enjoying each other’s company whilst having fun together.
Here are some top tips for you
- YOUR NEW HORSE IS NOT YOUR OLD HORSE!
Things will be different in many aspects of your relationship and it will take time to discover these and to develop an understanding of your new partner.
If you expect your new horse to behave in the same way as your old one in the various situations you encounter together you may well be in for some surprises!
- TAKE THINGS AT YOUR OWN PACE
Depending on your level of experience as a rider I believe that it’s important not to rush as you build your new partnership.
Set yourself small and achievable goals as you try things out and work out how your new horse tends to react and behave in different environments and situations.
By setting small achievable goals you are setting yourself up for success and giving yourself a way of measuring your progress as you work towards longer term goals.
Before you know it you will be able to look back to the day your new horse arrived and celebrate your achievements together.
- SEEK SUPPORT
In my opinion professional support in all aspects of horse ownership is vital. No equestrian can realistically expect to be an expert in everything from nutrition, horse health, saddlery, general management, ridden skills and mental skills but there are people out there with the knowledge and experience who would just love you to contact them for support.
Reaching out for advice and support from someone qualified and experienced, in the aspect of equestrianism that you need help with is, likely to save you a lot of time and potential worry. Whilst you are likely to have to pay for this advice you are potentially saving yourself from making expensive mistakes in the long term.
- YOUR NEW HORSE IS NOT YOUR OLD ONE!
A new horse/rider partnership will give you all sorts of opportunities for new adventures together so celebrate this chance.
Of course there may be times when you wish for the comfortable feeling of riding your old friend who you knew so well and you can treasure the memories of all of your past experiences together.
This new partnership may have many similar aspects but it will also be different in many ways so enjoy the new relationship as it develops and feel proud of yourself as you handle new challenges and develop your new relationship.