How to deal with a horse that gets VERY anxious when seperated?

YASMiN___X0

New Member
Mar 3, 2009
990
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0
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Some of you may know that i currently loan a 15.2hh, 10 year old ex racehorse mare 3 days a week.
She is turned out in a field with 2 other mares, one around the same age and the other one which is 24. The thing is that, when seperated, she becomes a totally different horse.
Today i put her in the lunge pen for about 10/15 minutes whilst mucking out her stable. When i checked on her, she was stood weaving (she only really does it badly now when seperated) and trying to get out of the pen/cantering around/bunny hopping. I eventually took her out and tied her up before i'd planned on doing so, but i didn't want to keep her stressed out!
When i hack her out alone and there is another horse, things get so much worse. If the horse is in the distance, then she isn't too fussed but if a horse is heading in the same direction as us but heads in a different path she plays up. She stops, backs up and has actually run backwards in circles when i've tried to stop her following the other horse. She gets extremely jumpy and it's not that she's spooked or anything. The last horse i loaned, i was told to shout at when he misbehaved. I assumed that if i did the same with this horse, it'd produce the same result.. it doesn't! It makes no difference whatsoever. I only have her 3 days, and her owner only ever rides her when his OH is riding also with one of my loan mare's field companions.
Please, any suggestions would help?
 

wundahoss

New Member
May 7, 2008
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Victoria, Australia
Poor girl! Sounds like a very stressed individual. She is behaving like this out of fear(most 'bad' behaviour is related to fear, confusion or pain), so shouting at her, if it has any effect at all, will likely just make matters worse. Horses are gregarious and naturally feel insecure or downright afraid when not with their herd & respected leader.

So, first thing first, I'd be working on my relationship with her, making sure I became one of the Good Things in her life, that she wanted to be with me. I would start working with her in sight of her mates, so she doesn't stress. I would work on trust & yielding, desensitising her to various things, then I would use 'approach & retreat' tactics to gradually get her confident of leaving her mates & allowing you to lead her.
 
K

Kate&TheHerd

Guest
my girl is brilliant going out on own etc but if i leave others n field and bring her in (so she cant see the others) she hates it and makes so much noise. i have to tie her up outside so she can see the others still...so interested in replies you get for this :)
 

Lisar

New Member
May 21, 2007
35
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0
Suffolk/Norfolk Border
I agree with wundahoss.....

The fact that you have only had her for 3 days, means that she doesn't even know you. She is lacking confidence and she is not going to get it by you shouting at her, as you have already found out.

Horses need leadership, they need to feel safe. As her previous owner never took her out on her own, she hasn't had to rely on her rider for confidence. As far as the horse is concerned, the rider was just a passenger.

I suppose you have two choices here, you either continue riding out with company or you build a relationship with this horse. The latter meaning alot of time and effort from yourself, but the results are worth it ;)

There are lots of ways to go about this, i.e spending undemanding time with the horse or taking her out for walks on a line, allow her to eat grass (so many people don't allow this!,). She will see you in a different light.

There are lots of groundwork exercises that you can do with her which, when you get back into the saddle, you can continue doing. There is a very good book with visual diagrams. It is called "101 Horsemanship excercises" by Rio Barrett. The first chapters explain about the natural instincts of horses. Being able to "read" a horse's behaviour is the first step to understanding a horse and then build a relationship with it.

Hope you are still with me, at this point;) And hope I have been able to help in some way.

Good luck
Lisa:)
 

YASMiN___X0

New Member
Mar 3, 2009
990
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0
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
I agree with wundahoss.....

The fact that you have only had her for 3 days, means that she doesn't even know you. She is lacking confidence and she is not going to get it by you shouting at her, as you have already found out.

Horses need leadership, they need to feel safe. As her previous owner never took her out on her own, she hasn't had to rely on her rider for confidence. As far as the horse is concerned, the rider was just a passenger.

I suppose you have two choices here, you either continue riding out with company or you build a relationship with this horse. The latter meaning alot of time and effort from yourself, but the results are worth it ;)

There are lots of ways to go about this, i.e spending undemanding time with the horse or taking her out for walks on a line, allow her to eat grass (so many people don't allow this!,). She will see you in a different light.

There are lots of groundwork exercises that you can do with her which, when you get back into the saddle, you can continue doing. There is a very good book with visual diagrams. It is called "101 Horsemanship excercises" by Rio Barrett. The first chapters explain about the natural instincts of horses. Being able to "read" a horse's behaviour is the first step to understanding a horse and then build a relationship with it.

Hope you are still with me, at this point;) And hope I have been able to help in some way.

Good luck
Lisa:)

Thanks, i'll be looking into some of this. If you re-read my original post, it says I loan her 3 days a week - i've had her more than 3 days :) But still very helpful!
 

YASMiN___X0

New Member
Mar 3, 2009
990
0
0
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Poor girl! Sounds like a very stressed individual. She is behaving like this out of fear(most 'bad' behaviour is related to fear, confusion or pain), so shouting at her, if it has any effect at all, will likely just make matters worse. Horses are gregarious and naturally feel insecure or downright afraid when not with their herd & respected leader.

So, first thing first, I'd be working on my relationship with her, making sure I became one of the Good Things in her life, that she wanted to be with me. I would start working with her in sight of her mates, so she doesn't stress. I would work on trust & yielding, desensitising her to various things, then I would use 'approach & retreat' tactics to gradually get her confident of leaving her mates & allowing you to lead her.

When worked in the lunge pen or the arena, she's fine. She's out of sight of her field mates but still does as asked. It's a bit confusing, really!
 

eml

Moderator
Apr 29, 2002
12,796
1,206
113
Leicestershire
www.ivanhoeequestrian.net
Shouting at TBs seldom works and can often make them worse if they are the sensitive sort...that does not mean you let them get away with bad behaviour but that a small change in tone can often be enough.

Most of the TBs I have come across seem to be best if you ignore bad behaviour and just refuse to give in. When she gets jumpy and runs backwards quietly stop and pat her and then ask for forward, if that is not forthcoming ask for a step to the side or some flexing to distract her. Bucks and rears are best just sat out and if you can laugh and seem relaxed, often the horse will relax and give in.
 

Calli

New Member
Mar 28, 2009
264
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0
make sure that you are very strict about the horses manners. You need to be able to do anything with the horse on the ground, before you ride. three days isnt a long time, dont panik and make sure she stands still when you get on and waits until told to move off

try riding out with others to find your feet and make friends and once youve gained some confidence together the knap will subside

its all about staying out of your space, and manners ;)
 
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