We moved eight times in two years

In my last blog I shared how important finding the perfect barn was to me. But in this blog I will share with you why that was actually the worst decision I made for Aslan to this day.

Our first barn seemed perfect. It was a paddock paradise close to my house. It had a small mixed herd and a pretty long track under the trees. There was enough space in the shelter and the horses got hay 24/7.

 

Aslan had to live at his own part of the paddock paradise first. This way the horses could get to know each other from a safer distance.

 

Of course I had no experience with this. Aslan was my very first horse and no-one in my family had ever owned a horse. So I just listened to the other people at the barn and agreed to separate Aslan for the first few weeks.

 

But weeks turned into months and Aslan was still not living in the herd. I noticed how sad, stressed and frustrated he looked. We started introducing Aslan to another young horse. We put them in the arena and they just started grazing next to the fences together. Some days later we did the same with the leader of the herd and things didn’t go so well. Aslan kicked the horse and it caused him to be injured for months. Because of that injury, the owner didn’t want Aslan in the herd anymore.

 

Aslan got more frustrated and angry, living alone for so long. He had grown up in a national park with a herd. Pretty much living live of a wild herd. He knew he was supposed to live in a herd.

 

At some point he even bit another horse over the fence.

 

We decided to move away because I didn’t feel like we would ever be allowed in the herd. The people got less and less nice to Aslan as well, which didn’t help Aslans behavior either.

This was the start of our many moves:

To a barn that was about to close, but at least Aslan could live in a herd there.

To the fields from that barn until the end of that summer. Still living a good life in that herd.

To the paddock paradise from a horsetrainer. They got very scared of Aslan after hearing the stories from people at our first barn… Aslan lived separated for months, was allowed in the herd for less than a week and than got separated again for a month.

To a barn very far away from my house, hoping Aslan reputations wouldn’t follow us there. But it did and we weren’t even allowed to try introduce Aslan into the herd. This was also the place where people told us I should sell or euthanize him.

To the only barn that would still take us. I had finally realized how unsafe Aslan felt being separated and how that caused him to get in a ‘fight’ mindset (fight, flight, freeze). At this muddy barn with a container as a shed, we were allowed to introduce Aslan in the herd right after moving. The horses started eating hay together instantly.

To a paddock paradise with more facilities. Things went so well at the last barn that wanted to do more with Aslan again instead of only focussing on making him feel happy, safe and relaxed. We introduced Aslan an hour after moving again and things went like you can expect from a dominant, but insecure horse Aslan was. But nothing like the stories people would spread about Aslan. We lived here for over a year and it was truly an amazing place for us.

After this we had the opportunity to move to a place of our own and even though that didn’t work out, we ended up moving to our current barn because of it and I really couldn’t be happier. Aslan and I can finally be ourselves here and do whatever we want to without any judgement. The people and horses at the barn see Aslan for the happy boy he is and love him for it.

 

So we’ve learned about the importance of a herd for a horse, about the best way for us to introduce Aslan into a new herd and we got to grow so much together in the process. I wouldn’t wish all of this to anyone. But I’m very proud to say I stayed in Aslans corner the whole time. Believing in him and trusting that we would find our home. And we did.

 

If you’re going through anything like this, my DM’s on Instagram are always open! I know how alone it can make you feel.