The Guide to Getting to Know a New Horse

Ahh how exciting! New possibilities, new adventures … it’s the honeymoon stage. It’s like having a crush on a cute boy in school, but it’s also about as uncomfortable as that awkward first date: getting a new horse.

First off, congratulations! You’ve set out on an amazing new journey. However, it can definitely be nerve wracking. After all, you have to learn how to trust a very large animal very quickly. It’s strange. But no worries! You got this. There are some stages that you might want to consider in your new chapter.

You’ll be overwhelmed with excitement. “Oh my goodness, he’s so PRETTY!” “Aw look how cute!” Which is all true. Countless pictures, videos and praise will be gushing out of you and into your friends, trainers and strangers. Embrace the PDA.

Look how cute he is!

Look how cute he is!

You might have to (get to?) purchase some new tack. Blankets, and saddles, and bridles, oh my! If your new horse doesn’t fit in your old horse’s equipment, or if this is your first horse, be prepared to go shopping. TIP: Write out a list, as if grocery shopping, to keep your focus on what you NEED. Maybe wear some blinders before entering the tack store so you don’t get distracted.

Gillian 2

Getting to know the horse around the barn and under saddle is a different experience too. Your new horse might not be similar to your previous horse. You need to relearn all of the quirks, favorite things and passionate dislikes of the horse … usually through trial and error.

In a SAFE setting, you have to go through things that might have been second nature to you and your old mount. Easy and comfortable tasks such as tacking up, hacking, leading the horse and feed routines will have shifted.

You’ll need to learn if the horse has issues with his or her face being brushed, or if there’s a certain kind of treat that they go CRAZY for, or a kind they hate. Maybe they’re scared of plastic bags, or cats or little kids. Getting to know a horse takes time. A solid relationship is never rushed.

Gillian 3

Getting a new horse is incredibly exciting. It’s a special bond where both horse and rider have to adjust to trust and respect one another. It’s a connection where I have trusted and fallen in love with an animal faster than I could have imagined. There are so many possibilities!

Just remember to be patient and look at the world from the horse’s point of view as well; everything has changed for both of you! Best of luck in your new partnership. And welcome home, Putt!