Nervous horse - will companion help enough?

TillyF

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Hi
New nervous horse. Has other horses in field both sides, but not in own field at the moment. She is nervous of everything - grooming back legs, walking down road in hand, riding bronked me off. So am going back to basics.
I am wondering if a companion will her with help. But don’t want to get another if I need to send her away for training. Would a companion help her to calm down generally?
Thanks
T
 

ycbm

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How long have you had her? How long has she been like this? What is she fed? How much turnout does she get? How old is she? What is her breeding?

As you can see, we need a bit more information!
 
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OK, so she's probably lived in a herd at the farm most of her life.

Do you know how long she was at the dealer? It is possible that she came over from Ireland, had some training with the dealer, was then sold to you and transported to you in quite quick succession.

I think that she is not used to being turned out alone, has had a lot of upheaval in her life recently and is probably a lot greener than you expected.
 
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I have been in a similar situation recently. I am looking after a youngster from Ireland that tuned out to be lightly handled, almost on the verge of being unhandled. It has been very difficult at times and I have been though a bit of a roller coaster of emotions.

One thing that really helped her was that she made friends with my gelding who is very, very people friendly and sure of himself. She definitely has gained a lot of confidence from him. Your idea of having a friend in the field with her is a good one. I have also had a trainer come and help me with her and have asked for advice on here. One thing that I needed to accept was that she needed time to adjust to her new life. That cannot be forced, you just have to keep going day by day and give her the time she needs.
 

Gloi

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I wouldn't be surprised if she had grown up in a herd with minimal handling, gone to a dealer to be quickly broken in with just enough training to be sort of hacked and sold to you.
The underlying work to be a riding pony is likely to be very lacking. There are many ponies around like this sold to novice owners.
I'd not think about riding for a while just get to know her and get her more used to handling. Get the vet to check her over , do teeth , worm count,and it would be wise to do a pregnancy check.
It would be good for her to live with some well handled companions. When she is more settled , is used to you handling her , used to the farrier etc. then think about sending her to be trained for riding.
 
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She's a yearling so the goals have been really basic eg taking a headcollar on and off (done :)), leading nicely (done :)), tying up (done :)), touching legs (done :)), grooming (done :)), picking up hooves (needs work) and wearing a rug (needs work). The big issue we currently have is getting her vaccinated.

She must have been here about 3 months now. Thankfully her hooves have been chipping off so they aren't awfully overgrown, just look untidy. It would be too dangerous to trim her yet.
 

TillyF

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Well done MC, sounds like you have made good progress.
Yes Gloi, I think you might be right. Hope I can manage to continue, as I am finding it tough right now. Much more emotional, support needed and time commitment than I had thought too.
 

Bob notacob

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99% of horses want some one to follow ,and dont want to be dropped into the position of having to make decisions . You need to be very positive, I AM THE HERD LEADER, Shape up or ship out!
 

HashRouge

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What is your yard set up exactly? Is it all individual turnout or is there someone who might want to share grazing with you? In your shoes, I would be nervous about introducing one companion as I can see a real possibility of your mare becoming quite severely pair bonded. I would ideally want her in a small herd set-up with 2 or 3 others. If she is young, as others have said she may not have had that much handling/ life experience before she came to you, so time, patience and consistency are the main requirements here. Another member on here (Michen) has two that were imported from Ireland as youngsters and, although both are great now, I think she did have some trouble with them both to start with.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Physio been out says all is fine.
What are symptoms of ulcers? Can it make them nervous?
Ulcers can give them a lot of different symptoms, pain any where can make horses nervous. Some horses with ulcers object to grooming, some object to the rider putting the leg on, some object to being tacked up or rugged, some look poor but others display quite strong symptoms while outwardly looking very healthy. There are lots of threads on here about horses with ulcers, you might like to do a search.
 

paddy555

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I wouldn't be surprised if she had grown up in a herd with minimal handling, gone to a dealer to be quickly broken in with just enough training to be sort of hacked and sold to you.
The underlying work to be a riding pony is likely to be very lacking. There are many ponies around like this sold to novice owners.
I'd not think about riding for a while just get to know her and get her more used to handling. Get the vet to check her over , do teeth , worm count,and it would be wise to do a pregnancy check.
It would be good for her to live with some well handled companions. When she is more settled , is used to you handling her , used to the farrier etc. then think about sending her to be trained for riding.
I think this is probably the closest to what has happened with her. You have simply bought a horse that was advertised and sold as being around a year more advanced than she really is. The only way now is to think of her as a completely wild horse that is just coming in for the first time to meet people and be started. Approach every little stage as if it was totally new and tick them off. Some you will quickly skip over as she can do them but others she probably has never learnt.
She could be in pain, could have ulcers or could just be simply be nervous and uneducated. I would work on the basis she is normal, train her for a month and see if there is improvement. If it is obvious you are making progress she is probably OK if she isn't then ulcers would be a good place to start. She could just be totally stressed and traumatised from being broken too quickly, shipped to the UK, put in a different home etc etc.
For riding I think I would set a date 6 months from now and say that is when I am getting on her. No pressure riding wise till then. Of course she may improve lots once you start work and you get there a lot sooner.

As for a companion to help her nervousness and handling who knows. Some young and nervous horses get lots from a steady companion to show them the ropes being stables, led out for walks etc and some just don't.
As for a companion in the field does she want to be with her neighbours, is she stressed in the field or just happy on her own. If you are keeping her long term then it would be nice for her to have someone to groom and lounge with. Whether it would help the nervousness working her then it may or may not.


Come from a farm in Ireland. Sold from well known dealer, sold as hacking pony

there are several people from Ireland on here. If you give details of the dealer you may get some more info as to how she would be expected to be. If she was sold as a hacking pony did they send you a video? if so watch it very closely and you may get some clues as to what the rider (who was no doubt very experienced and carefully chosen) had to do.
 

TillyF

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Thanks Paddy.
I agree with your suggestions. It’s just now if I have the time and expertise to start her from scratch. My trainer has suggested just in hand work through the winter to give me a break from thinking about riding.
 
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