Everything on the ranch was strange. Most of the horses had known each other since birth and she was an “outsider”. They felt she needed to be tested and kept at a distance. She was fine with the distance part. She would have been just fine to be 500 miles away at the old home.
Being alone and not part of a herd in a very strange place where she was not sure of the dangers wasn’t much fun.
Buying horses for the ranch over the years has taught us that some horses can have trouble adjusting to a very different routine and environment so we worked with her to make her new life as easy as we could.
Rio was extremely timid in the herd so we moved her in with horses that should have been lower in the herd than her had she lived in the herd previously. Yearlings, old geldings, those members of the herd. It took awhile but she became more confident and learned better herd behavior so she gets to hang out with some of them now. All the geldings really like her and with some friends and allies, this winter should be easier.
Rio really made us aware of how she felt as she adapted from the life she knew to a whole different one. She is very expressive. Some horses are more stoic and cover it up. Some have little trouble at all especially if their entire routine isn’t changed. Some like Rio tell you a whole story every time you “talk” to them. She says it would be like us getting dropped in Borneo.
When you get a new horse and he has the same look in his eye that you would have were you to be dropped in Borneo, maybe help interpret for him and introduce the locals appropriately. If nothing else, the fact that you were aware of this will help you build the trust you want and need with the new horse.