(post by Jason) Each year we have some new clients that allow us the honour of transitioning their horses from whatever sort of life they lived before to the sort of life they are going to enjoy here at Paradigm Farms. Often the life they will live here, primarily outside on pasture within a group of horse friends is very, very different than the life these horses and their owners lived before. We never forget that sending a horse to retire with us takes a tremendous amount of trust. While the fated happy outcome of the transition is pretty much assured from our end, often the folks sending horses to us get pumelled with legions of horror stories from friends, vets, farriers, etc. about why this sort of set up can never work for their horse.
Why are we so confident in a happy outcome? Because the outcome is always happy for the horse. Some horses make us work for it more than others, but they all learn to love being horses and having the experience of being a part of a group. Without fail the most hard core fence runners become the most content in their new life. In some ways the transition is harder for the owners. It can be a bit unsettling when you come visit a horse that acts somewhat indifferent about your presence when he or she used to start whinnying when they heard your car pulling up to the barn. Typically some treats do a good job of getting a much more excited reaction from the horse. However at some point, once they are sure the treats are gone, their timer goes off and they expect you to return them to their friends and leave. It is kind of a harsh way of saying "thanks for my new life, I love it."
Watching a new horse finish the transition and finally "get" it....become happy, relaxed and content as they fully integrate with their new group is something that never gets old. It is arguably the very best part of this life Melissa and I lead. Earlier today I took the time to lean on the fence for a bit and watch the last part of this process play out with one of our new horses. He's "in" and he really likes it. The neat part is that in a few more weeks he's going to love it like nothing he's ever experienced before. He still doesn't realize just how much fun he is going to have.
Lofty and Cocomo
Sam and Wasabi
George, Gibson and Asterik
Lotus and Romeo
Walden, Cino and Bruno having a meeting of the minds
Happy and Nemo
Sparky, Griselle and Bonnie
Roho standing, River, Clayton, Kennedy, Toledo, Oskar and Donovan napping . . .
. . . a closer look at Donovan, Oskar, Toledo, Kennedy and Roho . . .
. . . and a closer look at River and Clayton