23 Oct Preparing young stock for interstate travel
Thompson and Redwood sponsored riders, Caris and Brittany Reside, share with us their top tips for preparing young stock for travel across the Nullabor.
Travelling young stock from point A to point B can take patience, persistence and confidence, yet preparing them to travel across the Nullabor is a whole new level!
We have been breeding riding ponies for over fifteen years now and during this time we have had many interstate professionals purchase our horses. More often than not our horses are purchased as foals, still on their dams; hence there is a considerable amount of time that we put into our young stock to ensure that they have been prepared well enough to arrive at their new homes safely and in tip top health.
We would like to share the story of ‘Harper’ (Leeara Park Miss Dior), a black riding pony filly born at our stud in early November 2018.
Harper is a full sister to our retained filly ‘Arden’ (Leeara Park Elizabeth Arden) and was just as special as soon as she entered this world. We shared photos on Facebook of our new filly born and by four weeks of age she had been purchased by a top show stable in NSW.
It was agreed with Harper’s new owner that she would remain with us at Leeara Park until approximately 8months of age – our main concern being that she would not travel until she was mature enough to handle such a long trip, confident within herself and able to be handled easily by anybody.
Here are our top 5 tips for preparing young stock for interstate travel
- Take the time to spend with young stock in their paddock environment
Yes it takes time, but sitting in the foal paddock on a bucket, is a perfect opportunity to waste time with beautiful animals. Get them confidence approaching you, pat them, scratch them and they will soon learn that humans are their best mates!
- Halter break and expose young stock to multiple environments
We tend to begin halter breaking after they are about a month old. This helps them to become confident on the lead and later on will assist in the tying up process and in turn floating. If breeding their dams again, having young stock halter broken makes it much easier to handle them at the vets and keep them safe, rather than having them exploring unknown grounds! Harper loved this little person below during one visit to the vets with her dam.
HINT: We never tie foals up in the float with their dams, and we also take off halters when floating to prevent getting caught up on something, until they are taught to tie up and float independently.
- Brush, wash, rug and take time to train in hand
This would have to be their favourite part – once they understand what is going on! Stemming from young foals enjoying scratches in the paddock, comes brushing, washing and rugging. Our show horses are often born with the attitude that enjoys pampering, and this certainly shows when we spend the time with them doing this. They become self-confident, fit little athletes. This happens whilst on their dams and continues after being weaned.
- Tying up training
Once weaned at approximately 5-6months, we begin stabling the young stock as part of the rest of our show team. They begin to develop independence and routine in what we expect from our show horse team. Daily handling and in hand training continues as well as weekly baths and rug changes. They are handled often but we are careful not to spoil them, which ensures they remain respectful of the handler. This doesn’t mean that we don’t kiss and cuddle them sometimes too! Tying up training is something we teach within their stables first, whilst their friends are in nearby stables. Once confident, this then transfers to the outside tie up bay, the wash bay and the float.
- Float training
Float training is a major part of the education process when travelling such a long distance. We spend the time to load our young stock on and off the float on many occasions to ensure they are happy and confident with the noises and movement of the float. We delivered Harper to Ramsays Horse Transport when she was approximately 8months old. She floated like a seasoned traveller; she was an absolute dream. She then travelled across the Nullabor without any issues at all and was picked up by her owner without a fuss and was transported to her new house.
Harper has just attended her first show in NSW where she won Supreme API exhibit. Her owners could not be happier with her. She is a confident individual who does it all – leads, ties up, floats independently. We wish Harper’s new owners the best of luck with her successful career to come.