Step 1. Pick the right moment
We got our four cremello boys in February and it is only now, 6-7 months later, that we are introducing them formally to the other horses. The reason for the long wait was that they needed this time to recover from their journey from South Africa, get comfortable in their new surroundings, and to start to trust humans. It took some time but it is very gratifying to walk up to them now and have them hurry over to say hello.
Step 2. Introduce them to their new day-time digs
When they were ready, we introduced the cremellos to their new paddock. We walked them all around the paddock close to the fence so that they could get used to their new space, the new trees and shrubs, listen to some of the new noises, and learn its boundaries. We made sure none of the horses that normally spend time in this paddock were there to distract these four.
Step 3. Meet and greet across a fence
To ease the introductions a little bit, we put the cremellos in our square school at a time when the other horses were across the fence. There was a little bit of curiosity and a little bit of chatter. But, on the whole, both sides of the fence got on with their usual business of grazing with occasional breaks to stare into the middle distance, which is just what we wanted.
Step 4. Let them go and trust that they will figure it out
And, finally, we took the other horses to the paddock and we then took the cremellos over as well and… let them go… As easy as that!