Friday, August 29, 2014

What I Learned About Moving Horses Less than 30 miles

Small summary: Scottie blew an abscess and was off work for almost two months.  Then we moved to a new barn 30 miles.  Now we are back in work.

SO  Scottie blew the abscess.  And it was summer.  And HOT.  AND at the same time, I decided to move myself and the dog (apartment) AND the horses essentially "across the river" to my side of town.  Good idea in August in Louisiana, right?

Well, I found an AWESOME place.  GRASS paddocks.  Turnout 24/7.  All feed/hay included.  Indoor arena.  Gorgeous barns.  Trails.

Well, instead of giving 5 days notice, I wanted to give my old barn owner 30 days,  because I thought it was the best business practice since honestly, I was probably one of the highest paying customers and I didn't want to leave him in a lurch.  BAD IDEA.  Barn had a strangles outbreak.

LONG STORY SHORT... Not bad, no one in my barn had it, I tested with multiple tests on both horses previous to moving, all is fine (POST LATER).  However, ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY = STRESSFEST waiting for strangles.  Both horses tested negative and never got sick (THANK GOD).

Both of my OTTBs loaded with no problems (granted we had practice weekend).  Traveled fine.  Got to the barn. Settled fine.  Threw them out in grass paddock... no running, no jumping paddocks, great, right??  I gave them about a week before riding to settle.  I groomed them and bathed them and grazed them, but did not separate.

Well, FM and Scottie decided they were BFFs in that week.  When I would separate one from the other they SCREAMED back and forth.  Whoever was left in the paddock would run around and be an idiot.  Luckily, at the time, Scottie wasn't sound enough, and FM wasn't young enough to jump the fence (Scottie has a history of clearing paddock gates, BTW).

So, if I rode one, I brought the other and tied them in the arena while I rode.  I am sure no trainer recommends this, but actually worked out well.  Both were quiet and got good rides in.

The owner discovered my trick and decided this was ridiculous (which it was, but I couldn't risk injury).  LUCKILY, she moved them to the paddock where the horses can see each other both from the tack area AND the arena.    The hollering has now been reduced to about 1 per ride (leaving one in paddock) and they are back to not giving a sh*t about each other (they did NOT care) at old barn.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Give the horses time to chill, realize that horse relationships are super complex (afterall they are herd animals).. therefore, even though mine weren't really friends in a mixed herd, when they move to a new place and only know EACH OTHER, they are BFFS.  Once they are comfortable, they are back to their old selves.

This is Scottie after 1 month.  She is borderline obsese.  TIME TO GET BACK TO WORK!!

Strangles drama
Scottie's new personality after moving
Greatness of older horses 

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