As curious and gregarious creatures, horses appreciate time to explore a new environment. Over several years at the Learning Center we researched the quantity of time that most horses took to become comfortable in their new location. We discovered that it was between nine and 16 minutes, the similar time frame that horses take to establish their herd hierarchy when you add a new member to the team (this does not mean that the behavior stops).

Generally speaking they will want to determine the perimeter of the new environment – whether it’s a round pen, arena, or paddock. They will investigate any unusual objects, smell the ground for predecessors and kick up their heels, while running around and expending excess energy. Once they feel comfortable and safe, horses may roll, enjoying the chance for self-adjustment or merely to scratch an itch and feel the sand against their skin. It’s a precious time and if you give them the opportunity to explore, when it comes to communicating with them it will be much easier for them to pay attention.

Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Equine Specialist, Natural Horsema nship Clinician, Anima l Comm unicator and Intuitive Healer. She has recently launched the DVD series Reach Out to Natural Horsemanship (her latest is De-mystifying the Round Pen) and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada and the US A. www