Echo is safely installed in her new home and we are both starting to get used to the new routine. She loaded brilliantly, and travelled calmly (and QUIETLY - big improvement on last time!), only getting a little excited when we arrived. I unloaded her and let her take everything in for a minute or two, before putting on her rug and taking her up to the field. She walked up to the field nicely, although she was snorting at everything and her eyes were on stalks! I took her into the field and led her round the perimeter, making sure that I walked slowly and in a relaxed way. I let her go by the gate and she just stood there! She obviously didn't realise that she was free! When I left the field she did wander off, but there was none of the explosive excitement I was expecting - she went to say hello to the horse next door, then had a good roll, before getting up and munching on some grass! No drama at all!
I left her out for a couple of hours while I finished off the bars on her stable and sorted a few things, then we got some of the horses in together, including the one in the field next to her. She was spooky on the way back to the yard as well, but she was very obedient to lead and took everything in her stride. Once we were back in the yard, I changed her rugs outside her stable, so that she could have a good look inside it. She didn't seem worried, so I took her in and let her have a look. She hasn't been on shavings since the summer that she was two, when she just came in for a couple of weeks to be 'civilized'. She nosed around in them for a minute or two, but seemed fine with them. She seemed so calm, that I took the middle section of her bars out, so that she could put her head over the door. She can see the other horses now and seems happy in her new house! One slight downside is that her hay rack is at the back of her stable, so if she wants to eat and look over her door, she has to keep running from one to the other. She did this rather a lot!
Once she was settled, I left her for an hour or so, while I went and got the rest of my stuff from the previous yard. When I came back, she was very happy so I gave her her evening feed and checked her over. She was almost her normal self, although she did take quite a long time to eat, as she put her head over the door after every mouthful. This is not like Echo at all - normally I can't drag her head out of the bucket for love nor money!
When I got down to the yard at some unearthly hour this morning, the other horses were up and alert and looking over their doors (they obviously know their routine!) but I couldn't see Echo's head. When I had a peep over her door, she was flat out and fast asleep! I called her and she jumped up, looking a little confused and dishevelled - she had shavings in her ears, her mane, and her tail. She looked so cute! I made her breakfast and left her to eat it while I got all my tools to muck out. We are still trying to work out the routine - the horses that go out on each side of her don't get turned out until between half past eight and nine. Echo will be going out at about 7.15! However, the horse next door but one goes out then, so I thought she would be OK. She was very excited when I led her up to the field, and she trotted off as soon as she was turned out, but she did seem a bit stressed that the horse she met yesterday wasn't out yet. There really is nothing I can do about this, so I am hoping that she will just get used to it and not worry eventually. She wasn't thrashing about, but she was standing by the gate and looking a little worried.
I felt like a first time mother leaving her upset child at school on their first day. I had to just walk away and not look at her! I would have loved to stay with her for a while, but I was already running late for work.
I will hopefully lunge her this afternoon, as I think that keeping up the things that she knows will help her settle into a routine. She has been such a star about the whole thing and I am so proud of how she is dealing with it all. Hopefully, our training will resume as soon as possible.