Stessed/anxious horse

RSH

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Mar 27, 2007
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I have 2 horses, one of which is overly attached to the other one and it's causing problems. He's absolutely fine to leave his friend when it's his turn to work however the problem is when I take his friend away from him. He goes in to a blind panic even though there are ponies in the next paddock/stable and although he can't get out of his stable (though he has jumped out of his field shelter/stable in the past to get back to his friend) he has started crashing though my electic fencing in my paddock when I take his friend out (I can no longer leave him in the field when I ride my other horse and have to stable him).
I was wondering about buying a stable mirror for him but as he freaks out even when he has the ponies for company I'm not sure if it's worth it. He's already on a calmer which doen't seem to settle him and I was just wondering if anyone thinks the mirror would be a good idea. Or does anyone have any helpful suggestions?
 

suzyqet

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Sep 4, 2008
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sorry I cant be much help, but just wanted to offer my sympathy as I had/have a similar problem with my mare.

She's a 17 hh mw/hw hunter type and the only way I could stop the problem was to have her in a large herd rather than just 1 or 2 others in the same field.

If i put her in her stable, she would barge the door until it came off!!!

Even now, if she is left till last to come in, she will generally just bring herself in by either jumping the post and rail fences or the 5 bar gates!!

No calmer I have tried has worked 100%, just taken the edge off her a bit. I have also had to reduce her feed right down to bare minimum with added magnesium (calming effect).

Anyway, good luck, and let me know how you get on.

ETA: forgot to say, that she is also fine if I take her away from the others. Its if the others are taken away from her!?!
 

Ansiosa

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Jan 21, 2005
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How about trying this - bring them both in when you want to work his friend, but then turn him back out again, maybe with a bit of hay or a few carrots on the field. I have one who will stress if I leave him out, but who does not mind being put out on his own. There seems to be a difference in his mind between being 'left out alone' and being 'put out alone' if that makes any sense :)
 

beki x-x

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Oct 1, 2008
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there are rescue remedies for anxiety problems.
i posted a thread a while back.
and since trying them shes improved greatly.
i dont think its in my mind coz everyone has noticed the difference in her, even the very sceptical(sp?) people

:)
 

puzzles

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Nov 11, 2006
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Ditto beki.

Ideal Bach Flower Remedy possibilities include:

Rescue Remedy - trauma/stress/anxiety, very calming
Rock Rose - terror/panic, courage
Cherry Plum - loss of control, crazed panic, anxiety attacks, regaining control of situations
Star Bethlehem - all types of trauma, comforting for those feeling unloved or left alone
Red Chestnut - excessive concern over loved ones

Obviously these may take time to work, and won't solve the cause of the issue. However they can be of great short/long term help while your horse is adjusting, to help him deal with the situation.

I think a stable mirror would be a good idea, definitely. Try to encourage bonds with other horses as well, by turning him out/riding out with others. Also encourage a bond with yourself, so that your horse does not feel insecure and vulnerable when not with his companion.

Good luck!

x
 

9tails

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I've found a way around this and strangely it's worked quite well. When my mare's field companion is taken out of the field, I bring her in too and then take her back out to the field. She stresses when horses leave her, but doesn't stress if she's put back in on her own. So try bringing them both in, leaving the one you're going to work in the stable and then take the other one back to the field, it may work....

ETA Just seen Ansiosa said the same thing! And I thought I was a genius! :D
 

Ansiosa

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I've found a way around this and strangely it's worked quite well. When my mare's field companion is taken out of the field, I bring her in too and then take her back out to the field. She stresses when horses leave her, but doesn't stress if she's put back in on her own. So try bringing them both in, leaving the one you're going to work in the stable and then take the other one back to the field, it may work....

ETA Just seen Ansiosa said the same thing! And I thought I was a genius! :D

You are :D just not the only one ;)
 

wonkeywoody

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Jul 12, 2007
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Little, progressive and often (combined with loads of time and patience)

Take buddy away just far enough (watch 'left behind' horse for stress signs) and immediately return buddy. (If you can still see yours' thats fine otherwise you'll need a friend to watch him for you)

You may only get as far as just around the corner of a building. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Once left behing horse calms to this then you can go onto taking buddy out of sight, count to 5 and return. Slowly lengthen the time away.

This may take weeks of sessions (not necessarily everyday). Basically you need to make the left behind one realise his buddy WILL come back.

Horses a re herd animals. When one is left alone instinct kicks in and he feels extremely vunerable ie LUNCH to nearest predator.

It is imperative you remain completely calm throughout.
 

RSH

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Mar 27, 2007
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New Jersey, USA
Thanks for the suggestions.

I do have a strong bond with him (though this has taken time & I am continuing working on this). He comes to call in the field & he enjoys his work. That's what is so frustrating.

Unfortuantely I don't have anyone to help me so I've got to sort this out myself.

I've tried putting him out in the field (when the other ponies are out) but he panics until his friend joins him. However I haven't tried putting my two out, then bringing them both in and then putting him back out again - I will try this.

I can understand him stressing if I were to leave him completely alone but he has the other ponies for company. I might try mixing them up a bit (if the owner of the ponies lets me) so he shares a field with one of the ponies and his buddy goes in the other paddock with the other pony (will have to work out the electric fencing to accomodate a shetland and a 17.2hh!).
I think I might also try the mirror out. I'm open to other suggestions so keep them coming.
 

Miki

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Feb 2, 2007
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What some people do is they get a "buddy" for the horse while in the paddock. These are generally mini-horses or goats and it can often calm the larger animal if they develop a bond with their new friend. Of course it will take time to take effect and there is no garuntee your horse would bond with one of these animals.
 
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