Anytime I move my horses I always get a little worried about the whole thing. It’s that whole “brace yourself for the possible disaster” feeling that horse owners are too familiar with in general. Because we all know how adaptable horses are and how impeccably they handle change, right?
I was less worried about Presto, he’s a more adaptable, roll-with-it type of horse in general. Much less anxious than his older brother, who I don’t think has done a single dressage test in his life without the word tense as a comment at least once. My life is dedicated to keeping Henry as relaxed and happy as possible. Change can really flip a switch in him sometimes, so I just never quite know how he’s going to handle things like this.
Luckily, by some miracle, they both seem to have settled in pretty seamlessly. To the point where I’m over here kinda like
But really though, they seem super happy and chill. It went MUCH more smoothly than I expected.
Henry is living in the barn with the Trakehners. Last week it was still really hot (a cold front blew through last night and it’s currently only 68 degrees. Did I drive to work with my head out the window like a dog this morning? MAYBE.) so Henry was on night turnout. Two of the trakehners go out during the day, so it worked out well for rotation. Another of the trakehners, the stallion, handles heat about as well as Henry does, so they both stayed in their stalls with their fans on during the day. That meant Henry wasn’t alone in the barn, which seemed to appease him. At night Henry went out by himself in the pasture facing the barn that also shares a fenceline with Presto’s pasture. That also seemed to satisfy his whole “I want other horses nearby but not so close I actually have to interact with them” thing. He’s got a nice size pasture all to himself, but he can still see everyone. Happy Henny.
He seems to really like his stall as well, it’s nice and big and open and breezy with an attached run. The barn is insulated so it doesn’t get nearly as hot… he was definitely huffing and puffing a bit in the 100 degree afternoons last week but he didn’t look as miserable in the heat as I know he can. The airflow is super in the barn, too, and he can easily see everything around him and watch whatever is going on. He really seems to like that, and I think it’s a big part of what’s keeping him so relaxed. I also like that he has the option of coming in and out with the run, it keeps him moving a bit more.
He’s been pretty good for his rides, too, and I’ve ridden him all around the property by now. There’s a little hacking path in the back pasture, and we put a log out in one of the hillier pastures for him to hop over. And, much to his chagrin, we’ve ridden in the dressage arena some as well. He’s already figured out which direction it is, and if I point him that way his walk immediately gets slower. It’s such a nice ring though, even if he’s not a fan of what it represents. I’ve literally NEVER had a dressage arena of any kind “at home” before, so it’s pretty great and will definitely come in handy. Actually practice a test in a regulation size arena before we have to ride it at a show? Whaaaaaaat? Novel concept.
As for Presto, he is for sure living his best baby horse life. His full time pasture mate is the yearling, JB, who is the perfect sidekick. Presto actually finds him a little annoying, which is HILARIOUS considering that Presto has always been by far the most annoying horse in every herd dynamic he’s ever been in. During the day they’re supervised by retired mare Quinnie, who has no tolerance for their nonsense. She’s the perfect babysitter because she isn’t shy about keeping them in line, but she won’t actually HURT either of them. She’s pretty pissed about her new job though and thinks its absolute bullshit. She wants to go back to the adult pasture, please.
I kind of left Presto to his own devices all week, peeking in on him in the pasture (he still leaves his friends to greet me, so I haven’t been completely traded in yet I guess) a couple evenings but not much else. On Saturday I decided it was time, and I went and got him from the pasture and took him over to the barn. JB and Quinnie stared after him a bit when I walked him out the gate, but everyone was quiet. I brought him in, groomed him, and… that was that.
No dramatics, no screaming, not upset. Normal baby fidgeting, but he wasn’t worried. He just… crosstied like normal, and I groomed him, gave him a cookie, and put him back out. Quick and easy. Uneventful. All my favorite things.
It’s been interesting to see how he interacts with the two very different horses in his pasture. I figured he would devolve into complete baby shenanigans with the yearling, but for now he’s mostly chosen to emulate the older mare and is looking to her for guidance. I mean, he still plays plenty of Bitey Face and runs around with JB, but they haven’t completely devolved into Wild Boys status like I thought they might. For the most part he seems to be taking a lot of his “this is how we act” social cues from Quinnie. It’s pretty fantastic. The best of both worlds, really. He has one to play with and one to show him the way.
Overall both boys seem really genuinely happy with their new situation, which makes me super happy too. It’s quiet, it’s relaxed, and there’s no drama. They also fully switched over to their new food, which they seem to like, and Henry even looks like he’s gained a little weight through all this. Now we just need some rain to green up the pastures!