It has been a while since I had a horse come right from the track to the farm. You almost forget what a transition period it can be for them. Many people believe horses at the track have a bad life but I would argue those horses receive better care than a lot of horses out there. They get the best hay and grain, daily grooming and exercise and are generally well loved. They are used to living in a stall with a short walk or jog to the track everyday but that is about it.
When horses come to the farm from the track they almost don’t want to go outside. I realize some of the horses go to the farm for a break in between racing but for 10 yrs Punch has been used to chillin in a stall and getting his daily dose of attention. I have to say I love my set up because the horses can make their own choices. The stalls turn directly into the field so if he wants to go out he can but he currently is pretty attached to his stall 🙂 I could force him to go out but it would only cause him stress. He has a lot of hay inside and outside so he can make the choice on his own.
The other big difference is their eating patterns which always makes me laugh. My horses eat as quickly as possible while the horse coming from the track take their time. They look around, look out the door, get a bite of hay, drink some water, take another bite of grain and repeat. For a person who sets her whole routine to be quick and easy before she goes to work bright and early the slow eating will drive you nuts 🙂 My horses all come in and eat individually so I am sure they get their food. I leave Punch to eat his own. The first few days he picked his food and I had to play around to see what he wanted to eat. Tonight he actually ate it all which was super and he even took a walk outside by himself.
I bring him out and groom him and work with him as he craves that daily attention. CANTER Mid Atlantic believes in giving the horses a few months down time where they just get to be a horse but we recognize not every horse wants that down time. With a horse like Punch who has lived his whole life being kept busy and getting constant attention he wants a job and feels sad without one. Right now his job will just be to do some walk and trot and hit the trails. Low stress but great for keeping him active and happy.
He loves to cuddle and he wants to be in your pocket. A truly sweet horse who has been well cared for and treated like family his whole life. Even if his owner/trainer hadn’t told me how well loved Punch is it would have been obvious to anyone who meets him. I do think it will take him more time to adjust to farm life than other horses but it will happen. You just notice it slowly over time that they take a few more steps to relaxing into their new situation.
He has buddies that he is turned out with but he choices to hang out in his stall in the barn by himself.
Wildcat and View have buddied up and are attached at the hip. I call them little red and big red.