I’m sure any family members reading that will do a doubletake since Chance is also the name of my brother-in-law! Chance also happens to be the name of the most recent horse to join us for retirement. Chance is a thoroughbred who joined us over the weekend from Connecticut. He walked off the trailer and looked around for a moment, and then realized he was surrounded by grass and immediately put his head down and began grazing. He’s rarely lifted his head up since then!
Where am I?
Unfortunately for Chance he isn’t used to having so much grazing so his turnout time is limited for now. He has grazing sessions in the mornings and in the afternoons as we slowly build up his exposure to grass.
This approach is standard for new arrivals. We take our time introducing them, and more importantly their digestive system, to the grass for a couple of weeks. Even the horses that are going to continue to be stall boarded have to go through this transition phase onto the grass because they are out on excellent pasture either all day or all night. Most of the horses are out 24/7 but there are some that are not.
We also use these first couple of weeks to allow the horses to get to know us and for us to get to know them. We learn about their personalities, their quirks, and use this time to determine the best turnout buddies for them. Once they are ready to be out 24/7 or to be out all day or all night we introduce them to their new roommates. Once they settle in with their new “family” they are quite content to stay with them permanently and don’t seem to care if they ever see the inside of the barn again. We’ve found this to be true even for the fence runners and those that had never really been turned out before.
We’ve had fun as we’ve begun the “get to know you” process with Chance this week. He has excellent ground manners and a very laid back and friendly personality. His owners told me they thought he had dropped weight in the last few weeks and he does somewhat have that “ribby” look, so we will be looking forward to putting some more weight on him and returning the shine to his coat. He will be having his teeth done in the next week or so as I’ve seen him quid his food several times, and I will be paste worming him tomorrow.
I say this with 100% bias, but I think Chance is a very lucky horse, as are all of the horses here. He has been retired fairly young due to arthritis and thankfully for him the people in his life feel he has earned his spot with us. There is always so much emotion and stress when the decision to retire a horse has to be made, and it is even harder when the horse is a younger horse. I think if Chance could talk he would say he didn’t know what he did so right to wind up here, but he is really appreciative that the trailer happened to stop and let him off at this farm!