It wasn't until the second week in November that I started getting the sense from Gemma that she was really feeling settled in at her new barn.
October saw her a bit on edge, not that I blame her. Her feed got doubled without my knowledge. This went on for a good week or so. It may have been caught sooner by me but the first time I went out after the feed being bumped up, her three buddies were gone on a camping trip with their owners. Thus she was left alone which being there only for a couple of weeks wasn't easy for her to handle. The poor girl was so tense and anxious which the over feeding just added to. It's not what any of us were expecting.
The owner of the barn said that next time he'll bring one of is horses over so she has company. There are more than four horses at the barn. It's how it's set up that she was a lone. The indoor arena makes up most of the barn with an aisle on each long side of it and a row of stalls on the outside walls. Gemma's side is the full care side of the barn and the opposite side is for the self care horses. Each side has it's own turnouts on their respective sides of the barn (I used side way too much...).
Once the buddies were back, Gemma was calmer but still not herself. After thinking on it some I told them to cut her feed by half. It's the only thing I could think of because she was getting her full hay ration now so I concluded that the feed was giving too much energy. I was right and when I told the care taker that is when I found out about the feed change. I feed Gemma a low starch fortified feed. It has everything in it to keep her healthy, including probiotics. So something in the feed was causing her an issue on a higher dose and if it wasn't the starch then it was a vitamin or mineral that she didn't need so much of. I was told that her feed got bumped up due to her wanting more and not going to her hay. I made it clear to not make any feeds changes without talking with me first. I am on a budget and can't afford a $17 bag of feed every two weeks. However to help keep everyone happy (except the wallet) I added oats as filler for Gemma. They are a bit cheaper and she gets a bit more of them than the feed. She's now doing well and with in a couple of days of lowered fortified feed mixed with the oats she was back to her sweet self and I was much relieved.
As time went after that I continued to work with her doing our trick training and just hanging out, along with lunging. She's gotten more calm and more relaxed with each passing week. The noise of the interstate is bothering her less and less. She loves her routine at the barn and that it's very consistent. This is what I have been wanting her to have for care because I have this feeling that stability really matters to her.
I get the impression that this barn is feeling like home to her and that we are where we need to be for the the time being. I won't complain since I know she's getting well fed and watered and she's so much closer. It's really nice having her only a half an hour away.