By Leslie Potter
Monday, June 14, 2010
Last month, I moved Snoopy to a new barn. In the seven years that I've owned him, he's really only lived at two different boarding stables, so I was worried about how he'd settle in, but so far, he seems quite content.
|Snoopy and one of his little bay Morgan gelding best friends doing what they do best on the winter solstice in Maine.|
Snoopy's always been pretty adaptable, probably thanks to his upbringing as a jet-setting show horse. When I take him to an overnight show, he tends to go through the same routine. He'll sniff his new neighbors, if there are any, then roll in his new shavings, finish any leftover hay from the trailer ride up, and then he'll stand with his head in the back corner and take a nap. Even if he ends up with an excitable neighbor, the showing routine is so old hat to him that he just doesn't get worked up about much of anything in the stabling area.
Of course, moving to a new residence is different than spending the weekend at the fairgrounds. It's not just a new stall, but a new turnout area, a new routine, and hopefully new friends.
After I officially became Snoopy's owner, I kept him at a fairly small boarding stable near my home at the time. There were about 12 horses on the property, all of them geldings spare the one stallion. Most of them were older, too, making for a fairly low-key herd. At that point in his life, Snoopy had spent most of his days holed up in stalls at show barns, so I'm not sure if he'd ever spent time in a herd situation in his adult life. He quickly became best friends with a little bay Morgan gelding and adapted pretty quickly to herd life, albeit at the bottom of the pecking order.
The farm grew, which meant a bigger herd and the addition of a few mares. But Snoopy had established his place and did fine. Even after his best buddy was sold and moved away, he found a new little bay Morgan gelding to buddy up with, and life went on. He probably would have lived out his days on that farm if I hadn't moved to Kentucky.
When he came down here, he moved into a fairly small, family-run farm. Unlike the previous farm, this one had several small paddocks with just a few horses in each rather than one big herd. I thought this would be ideal for my aging horse, but he had a revolving door of turnout buddies, most of them a bit too rough for him. I liked the farm and my co-boarders, but Snoopy never seemed as settled in there as he had been at the previous stable.
That first Kentucky barn was built as a show barn with a small indoor, but not a lot of outdoor riding space. With our showing days mostly behind us, I decided to move him to a farm that would be more conducive to happy hacking. At the time he left, he'd been living outside 24/7 with a couple of yearlings and an elderly mare who all loved him. I worried about moving him away from this little family unit where he finally seemed content.
|Snoopy enjoying the Kentucky bluegrass at his new home.|
As it turns out, my worries were unnecessary. He's now living in the company of a couple of other aged geldings in a lovely green paddock. I can't say that they've become inseperable. In fact, for the first couple of weeks they seemed to completely ignore one another. But since then I've caught him grazing side-by-side with one horse or dozing in the corner of the paddock with the other. I like to think they're sharing war stories from their exciting pasts in the show ring, but they're probably just enjoying each other's peaceful company. I think Snoopy and I are both going to be happy with the new digs.
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