On the move ...
EIGHT weeks after hopping county lines from Gloucestershire to Wiltshire to set up a new yard alongside Equiperformance, I’ve had chance to reflect on just how many factors I have, and we all have, to take into consideration when moving horses to a new home.
Throw me an old mattress, decent Wi-Fi and a nearby sushi restaurant and I’ll call it home. If my dogs can find something valued of mine to chew, suede boots or a passport, then they are happy to call that home, yet, when it comes to moving a yard full of horses who all have individual management needs and levels of sensitivity, this is a whole different kettle of fish!
With horses, it’s not just a case of taking them out of one stable and putting them into another one, we must consider the physical and mental implications such an upheaval has. How does the new / different arena surface affect the way they go, what about the stable size, the outlook, the turn out, the quality of grass and locally sourced hay, changing vets and other team members who are an integral part of my life and the industry.
Thankfully my brilliant farrier, Glen Taylor has stayed with us. He doesn’t demand a coffee every time he nails on a shoe, so he had to stay!
My physio will make the commute as much as she can, but I am so lucky to have onsite physio’s who are able to work on whatever is needed on a day to day basis as well, which is a luxury I know.
Eight weeks in and as people ask me how it is going, I can’t give a black and white answer. Some horses took to the move with ease, whilst others seemed unsettled until they knew the lay of the land and unavoidable changes in their routine. Some horses look an Instagram model on the pasture and some look like they could do with a slimming world subscription.
None of our animals have a say in when we change their address and I think we can often underestimate just how unsettling it can be. What I have tried to do is keep as much the same as possible and be flexible if certain changes aren’t suiting a particular horse. It is so common when a client buys a horse and brings it home only to find their saint of a new horse who as a gentleman on the first date is now a fire breathing dragon who is not living up to his tinder profile.
The short but long answer to those cases is to take a step back and try and appreciate the way everything new is affecting him.
Levi regularly runs clinics up and down the country. If you would like an opportunity to experience his expertise, wit and charm first hand you can contact him via his facebook page Levi Hunt Equestrian or through his long suffering PA - Nicky on 07771 610027
Levi Hunt - Grand Prix International Rider for Great Britain, British Dressage Young Professional of the year 2016, Regional British Dressage Team Trainer, UKCC3 Coach