If I was to look back over the best year of my life, it would be my last 12 months of horse ownership. BUT I would have to say that the day I brought my OTTB, Nigel home has been the most stressful so far! I didn’t get any sleep the whole week leading up to it and I kind of only half believed it was actually happening. This was a big deal! Something I had wanted again for years.
Now, just to give you a bit of background, when Nigel was sold as a racehorse he was transported from Australia to Hong Kong to live out his racing career. And then of course, once he retired he came back over to Australia. It’s safe to say, this horse is a seasoned traveller!
Naughty Baby (Aus) – Nigel. Danehill Dancer (Ire) x Lake Alexandria (Aus).
Funnily enough, it was the journey from the Central Coast to Sydney that I found the most stressful. That’s a 1.5hr to 2hr trip. It seems ridiculous compared to travelling to Hong Kong! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I Googled “how often should you take a break when floating a horse” (It’s approximately every 2-4 hours by the way).
So of course I asked a couple of friends to help me transport Nigel. In my mind I thought “this will be easy, I have help and I don’t even have to drive the float”. But in reality (and maybe I’m overreacting), it was stressful! So my friends floated Nigel while I drove behind, calling them every time something seemed wrong (nothing was wrong). Not to mention the rules I gave them. “Don’t drive over 80km on the motorway. Slow down around corners, don’t speed up. Don’t overtake anyone”. The list goes on.
I have to admit though, driving Nigel away from his old home and out the gate, it was probably the worst part. Listening to him whinny and crying. It lasted at least a whole 30mins before he calmed down. My heart was pounding the whole time, I was literally waiting for something awful to happen and had myself convinced he was really upset with me! It didn’t help that at the time some family and friends were telling me that they didn’t agree I should be buying a horse. You know, the usual “it’s too expensive, why don’t you just ride someone else’s horse, what if he gets sick, what about the vet bills”.
The first time I met Nigel at Hillview Thoroughbreds in May 2017.
We arrived to Johnson Equestrian 1hr and 40mins later. Nigey’s new home! Boy did I stress for nothing. As soon as he was off the float, Nigel had a little look left and a bit of a look right, and started munching on some grass. I put a new rug on and walked him to his new yard. That moment was honestly the best feeling! The feeling of achievement, excitement, satisfaction and happiness all rolled into one! And 1 year later I am still forever grateful to have this boy in my life and the opportunity to grow together. THAT is the best part of bringing a new horse home.
The day I brought Nigel home – The 20th of May 2017.
This blog is the personal opinion and experience of the author. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor or trainer for your own specific situation or circumstance.