Learning about traffic and road crossings
Harry, bred and trained in the country, recently moved to Sydney to live in the centre of the city. He faced many challenges in his initial acclimatisation - he felt tarmac under his newly shod feet, saw traffic (including cars, trucks, motor bikes, push bikes and scooters), children running, masses of umbrellas (as it was pouring with rain), joggers and close equine neighbours (he is also newly gelded).
Harry in his new stable
Harry appeared to take it all in his stride but I was very careful not to over-face him or push him to anything he wasn't ready to confront. For example, when we needed to learn to wait at the traffic lights to cross the busy road to the park, Harry was reluctant to stand so we spent the waiting time walking to and from the standing point and I kept offering him the opportunity to stand, until eventually he did. It is important to give the horse time to work through it in his mind but it is equally important to keep him doing something. If you simply allow the horse to put his head in the air and race about at the end of a 12foot line then he will, in all likelihood, never be completely comfortable with the new place. Help the horse by giving him a job. This enables you to praise him. For example, you might practice 'give to the bit', as Harry and I did all around the new stable block. This meant he walked around, listening to me and I told him how brilliant he was several times a minute. He was never left on his own (mentally) to work anything out for himself - I guided him through all of it. Of course, you will not be able to cover everything that might be frightening in a matter of a few hours but knowing when your horse is scared or in need of guidance will help enormously. As soon as you feel that - quietly put him to work and guide him through it.