Horses/desensitizing my new horse
hello. i am planning to buy a retired thoroughbred racehorse next month. i want to keep it at my house since i have a spot quite enough to build a stall for it. may i know how can i desensitize my new horse as it gets spooked seeing the new people, cars, motorbikes, other animals in my colony?
I see where you have submitted 2 questions in 2 emails so I am going to address both of them in this reply to save time.
I will honestly say I am not familiar with the training/environment at racetracks in your country. Tb's here are exposed to a lot of activity at the racetrack, and if they ship from track to track even more so. I don't know how much of an issue new people and motor vehicles will be. It should see all of that stuff at the racetrack, especially in the equipment used to groom the track and maintain the grounds. Animals may be another story if you have some unusual ones at your house. In this country horses at the racetrack, TB's, don't get turned out, they are in their stalls unless they are out for exercise. Build a stall, if possible put it inside a pen at least 10m x 10m so it can go out into the pen and observe what goes on from it's own space. But not too big a space for the horse to really get running around. If the horse can come and go from the stall even better. You are getting a young, fit professional athlete and they have to be "wound down" from the racetrack to a more normal lifestyle. Give the horse a few days to get used to the surroundings, just take care of it and let it adjust. Spend as much time as you can working with the animal to establish the beginnings of a bond with it. Once the horse seems comfortable with you and it's environment then you can start with re-training it. Introducing it to the new tack is the first step because anything you use will be different than the horse has had before. Then just proceed as you would with any green horse, teaching it the new rules step by step and advancing as the horse learns what is expected of it. These guys know one thing, going to the track and galloping. Aids are pretty much unknown, and while they know about bridles they aren't real responsive to subtle commands with the bridle so al lot of the early work will be done at a walk to get the horse to respond to correct aids and learn basic manners under saddle. Each horse advances at it's own pace so you have to let the horse tell you when to go to the next step in training. Lots of patience and affection will be needed.
As far as shots, you will hopefully get some paperwork on the horse telling you what it's had as far as vaccinations, worming, dental care,etc. If not, ask and get as much info as you can. I would worm the horse early on and do the needed vaccinations depending upon what the animal has already had.
If it's been on a diet similar to horses at tracks here you will want to gradually switch the horse over from a high concentrate diet to one more forage based. Lots of grass and hay. Look at the body condition of the horse to determine roughly what it's requirements will be. If it's young, 3-5, it still has a lot of growing to do so make sure you meet those demands for protein and energy so that the growth will continue.
Much of what you will do with this horse isn't that much different than any other horse. Let your knowledge and horseman's savvy guide you.
I hope this has helped. Feel free to contact me with any more questions and I'll try to help.