Having my first horse is both exciting and scary. Over the years I have helped other people look after their horses however, I have never been the one making decisions or booking farriers, dentists and other people involved.
Once I had made the decision to buy Riley, my first dilemma was where to keep him.
Until now, he had lived a sheltered life, almost seven years in a very quiet field and then moved to a yard with only two other horses. He was settled in and I didn’t necessarily want to move him, however there was no manege and very muddy fields which meant only summer riding. Given that he had already languished in a field for most of his life and had not been ridden since September, I felt he really needed to be working and would benefit from having his inquisitive brain given something to do.
Choosing a new yard
I visited a few livery yards and found there were positives and negatives with each. I also started to give some thought to the support that would be helpful in my first horse venture and given that the riding school where I have my lessons do livery, it seemed to be the obvious choice. After speaking to the riding school owner and discovering that luckily a stable was coming available, I agreed to it on the spot.
The next task was to arrange transport for Riley. Phil, the riding school owner gave us the phone number of someone who had a trailer and could move him for us, unfortunately after a telephone conversation and then a follow up or two we weren’t able to arrange a suitable date, so I decided to hire a horse box and move him.
We arranged to hire the horse box on Monday 27th January 2019 ( a red letter day for me from now on!) and agreed to collect it from the owner at 12pm, however on the day, the hirer had insurance issues so the pick-up time was pushed back a couple of times and eventually we were warned that t
here was a possibility that it wouldn’t happen that day. Finally (Thank you Naomi, you are a star) we were advised that we could pick it up at 2.45pm and so headed off to collect it.
Loading for the first time
We went to the yard to collect Riley in the hope that he would load without too many issues as he had only ever been transported twice in his whole life, and hadn’t loaded well when the lady I was buying him from had moved him six months earlier.
Luckily, with a few words of encouragement and enticing carrots, he loaded reasonably well. Finally, at around 3:30pm we were on our way to the new yard, which was only fifteen minutes away Riley didn’t have a big journey ahead of him. The journey went OK although Riley did give the box a kick a couple of times).
Riley’s new home
At the other end he unloaded very well. He stretched his legs as we gave him a brief tour of his new yard before showing him the new stable. We had made the stable ready earlier in the day and had spent ages preparing his new bed.
We hoped he would love his new home. When he saw it, he was very vocal, excited by the new surroundings and other horses in the barn, so true to character made his presence known. He paced his new stable initially although was quick to settle once I had put the hay net up.
I stayed with him for a couple of hours and headed home later that evening hoping he would not be too stressed. I was so excited all evening and couldn’t wait to return to see him the following day.
Riley and I will soon be able to start our riding journey together although first he will need some time to settle in. I’ll keep you posted of his progress.