Absolutely terrifying night.....

Jiouxles

New Member
Nov 25, 2005
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Andalucia, Spain
I posted a while ago about separation anxiety with Mayoral and if anyone had any suggestions. Thought I'd let you know what happened when I moved him down to our place... sorry it's a bit long


Went out with my friend riding for two hours lon Tuesday night up the mountains and down again (my butt is getting really sore, that's the third time in less than a week I have been out on a long trip). Took Mayoral home to my place after we finished as the electric fence is now fitted and his stable was all nice and ready for him. Put him in the pen for a while to chill out and cool down and then put him to bed in the stable wih his dinner. He would take a mouthful of food and then come and stick his head over the door, then started walking round and round, getting really stressed out, pawing at the floor, kicking the door and then he tried to CLIMB OUT OVER THE STABLE DOOR - bearing in mind it comes up to his throat nearly and he managed to get both front legs up and over it so he was like hanging by his armpits:eek: I nearly had a heart attack and I thought he was going to kill himself. OH and I were there all the time trying to calm him down and OH had to get the big broom and push him back off the door into the stable. This all built up over about 2 hours and we had stayed with him all the time. We managed to get a headcollar on him and we just put his tack on and took him back to the yard because he was hysterical and panicking Poor thing he was wringing with sweat, like he'd been soaked with a hosepipe. I thought he was going to gallop like crazy home but as soon as he realised he was going back he just walked all the way. This was about 11.30 at night, in the dark! I put him back into his old stable and he was as happy as a sandboy, just the same as usual. Went to see him in the morning and YO said he was fine and she can't understand it. (She heard us arrive and rushed out thinking he'd escaped) I thought, Yeah well you deal with 500kg of panicking horse trying to leap out of a stable in the dark and see how 'fine' that is! She said maybe we should have left him out in the pen and not stabled him but I know he would have either crashed through the fence or jumped it electric wire or no wire he was that strung out, he would probably have done himself a real damage if the poles had broken. God, knows how I would have coped without my OH, he was great. Must say though, it says a lot for Mayoral's basic character that he never got nasty and was prepared to listen to us even though he was so stressed.

We don't think Mayoral will be able to live down here unless we get a companion for him, as he has never been on his own in 11 years and has a complete wobbly when he can't see another horse. Bit of a bummer really, considering all the time, money and effort that we have put in to getting the place ready for him but , hey, he's got to be a happy boy. I don't want a stressed or depressed horse, I would feel so guilty. YO has told me to take one of her others down with him until he gets used to our place and the new routine and then gradually 'wean' him off by separating them for longer and longer periods. Actually, YO has a mare on livery who's owner has b******d off and not paid for months and she has told him she is going to sell the mare to cover her costs so I might ask if we can have her on loan for a bit before she sells her. Only thing that bothers me is will the mare throw a fit if I take Mayoral out riding and leave HER on her own?!!!!!
 

KT C

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Jan 24, 2007
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This is something that I am a little worried about when I take my horse home from our current yard; he's also the type to get attached to other horses really easily, and will get stressed if left completely on his own.

Are you able to ride him out on his own at the moment, or do you always have a friend with you? It might be an idea to try and start taking him out for short spells on his own if you don't do this already.

I do think a companion would probably be a good idea - this is what I am thinking for my horse - but be careful that the horse you loan/borrow isn't another 'clingy' type, as your boy sounds (like mine! :rolleyes:), otherwise you may well have problems separating the two of them when you want to ride.

If you do take on a companion, try to get into a routine of taking one or other of them out of the field on their own for short spells asap. If the companion horse does get a little upset, you could maybe try stabling it while you ride. I'm not a big fan of them, but maybe a grill across the top of the stable door would stop him/her trying to come across the top and doing any damage?

Best of luck!
 

Skyhuntress

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Apr 26, 2005
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hidden-identity.net
Horses are herd animals. Very few do better without a companion of some type, especially if that's what they've been used to all their lives. If you aren't able to get another horse, have you throught of a goat or mini donkey? these generally work out quite well and are low maintenance (although swear to God, every goat I've met is completely destructive :p) but the donkeys make good herd guards too!
 

Jiouxles

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Nov 25, 2005
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Andalucia, Spain
Goats are the most common 'farm' animal round here. Everyone has at least six and anything up to 100, they wander about all over the roads and we refer to them as a Spanish traffic jam! Any self respecting goat would be able to remove itself from our paddock in two minutes. Also, they stink and Mayoral hates them. Donkeys are, believe it or not, incredibly rare around here and would cost a small fortune. Believe me if we had the money to buy a donkey we would be buying OH a riding horse and all our problems would be solved :D

Thanks for the advice guys. We'll keep trying.
 

KateWooten

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Sep 28, 2005
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Well, that should work out beautifully really ... look on the bright side - he told you as clear as he could that being alone is not an option. YO sounds hugely helpful ... and an abandoned mare is available to be your horse's good buddy - perfect ! You will deal with separation anxiety if the two of them buddy up. BUT it is easy to deal with and manage. You just treat it as any other part of training. Take the one out for a ride - and stop just before either gets stressed - even if that is ten yards. Then go back. Away and back, away and back. Not pushing the boundaries. Repeat that lesson a gazilion times, each time getting a little further away from the barn. It's not a real long drawn out process if you're consistent, and it does help to have the left behind horse confined in some way as being able to move, gallop about can tend to fuel the emotional high until it's an all-out panic.
 

Jiouxles

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Nov 25, 2005
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Andalucia, Spain
Thanks for that Kate - very sound advice and I had been thinking along similar lines - ie the little by little approach. Looks like we can't have the mare but we can borrow YO's donkey!!!! She seems to think Mayoral might be less likely to bond with him than another horse (can't see the logic in that one myself but hey...). Took him to my friend's place tonight and turned him out in the corral while we did some training with another horse. He can see the other horses over the wall but still was pacing about and wanting to know why he wasn't with them. As the evening wore on and night fell he started to get really agitated and to let us know that he thought it was quite late enough and time he was taken home for his dinner.
 

Jiouxles

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Nov 25, 2005
432
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Andalucia, Spain
Donkey is available from Monday, after farrier has been to trim his feet so I will bring them both down for the afternoon on Monday. I am also going to start only feeding Fatboy down out our place so that his stable at the yard becomes a real 'no fun' area (obviously he will have a little hay over night but not tasty hard feed and treats). I turned them out together today at the yard to try them out and M just ignored poor Platero completely; but then there were breakfast remains to be had and that horse's stomach rules his world.

Poor donkey, he is only seven but has a deformed spine from being too heavily ladened when he was a babe, he looks like a hammock. YO rescued him and he lives on her petting farm, I'm hoping he will enjoy a little holiday in the country with us. He will be getting a bath and a good brushing as he is a bit scruffy at the mo.
 

Teehee

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Jan 10, 2007
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Awww!!! You got a Donkey!!! :D

Although Mayoral is ignoring him, he's probably a lot less stressed and they'll probably end up being real good pals!! :)

Good luck!
 
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