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New horse is nervous, scared, biting

I have just brought our first horse home 3 days ago. At her old home she was so quiet, calm and very relaxed animal. Now she is nipping and she throws her head back, pins her ears back and even bit my brother, but I really think she got spooked when she bit. Now I am a bit confused she never reacted like this before but the only thing that I know might be causing this is that she was never used to a lot of people being around her and since I have brought her home there are a lot of people visiting and I don't know how to make her feel safe and relaxed. Can you help me figure out what to do? Would it be the 6-hour drive home, the crowds or am I just expecting too much too fast? How long should it take for her to settle in and not be scared?


Hi Darla,

Consider if this was a person coming to a new place. They have come from somewhere where they were few other people. They are coming from a place that was familiar, safe and secure. Perhaps they had friends there they had had for a long time. Now in this very new place, there are strangers and a lot of them. There is more unfamiliar activity and handing going on. They no longer have their old friends and have not had time to make new ones. Consider that the ride to the new place was scary, not in the length of the ride, but in leaving old friends and comfortable and at least familiar surroundings. That human might be afraid and upset as well. Lets start with a lot of compassion, kindness and thoughtfulness.

One way to be thoughtful would be to not subject the new comer to more people than you absolutely have to. Do not allow people to handle the horse or touch the horse save one particular person who will become the horse's new main friend. If there were other horses around that would be terrific. Let me know about that. Consider that this individuals needs are not much different than a new child coming into a new home.

To develop a bond of trust and respect with this horse right and appropriate activity needs to happen with a responsible and knowledgeable human. Do you have any horse skills? Is there someone you know who is an experienced, GENTLE horse trainer? If not tell me and I can offer you coaching in getting this horse acclimated to it's new home. You are expecting too much too fast. It is also the crowds and unfamiliar surroundings and not having any conscious friends. Again, if it were a human child you would know just what to do. It is not so different with this horse. PLEASE, show more consideration; use your head and common sense. If you would not like something being a newcomer someplace, don't expect this horse to like it either. This goes for touching, invasion of personal space, overall handling and attitude of the people that come in contact with you. To get respect you must show respect. To gain trust you must be trust worthy and consistent over time like a great parent is trust worthy for a child. I can coach you in the types of interactions and activities that will bond this horse to you. Once the horse has a friend it can trust and rely on, then this friend will safely and appropriately introduce others. The length of time it takes a new person to get comfortable with their new surroundings depends on the type of support that comes from the new people around them. It's the same for the horse. How long this all takes is up to you. Are you willing to go the distance? Keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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