Occasional stressy warmblood!

Blondeandabay

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Hi all, just want opinions on my horse, I have had him for nearly a year, is turning 6 now. I bought him from a dressage yard who had had him since a foal in a herd turn out. He has adapted to stabling overnight brilliantly and is quite happy out in a field by himself with others around him. The problem comes when going to get him in, as soon as he sees someone coming to get him he stands at his gate rearing, stops as soon as you get to him. Never been an issue but the past couple of weeks he has got a leg over the fence and pulled himself, I don't want him to hurt himself anymore so if anyone has any tips. The other time I see rearing is when a horse he is opposite is ridden and goes away from him, if he's in his stable on a evening. He just rears and rears and rears, isn't particularly stressed and stops as soon as I go in, but he has other horses around him and always has food, I again just don't want him injuring himself. He's 17h so quite big when he's stood perfectly balancing on his back legs! If anyone has any tips I would be grateful! Thanks!
 

Damnation

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Pain response? Have you had him all checked? Rearing *Can* be a sign of hock pain.

He could just not like being on his own. Have you tried making sure he has company? My WB cannot under any circumstances be left alone at all or she kicks off big style.

he could just be chucking his weight about.. it seems to me that whenever he rears he gets what he wants, attention from you, bought in etc. What does he do if you ignore him?
 

be positive

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I don't think this sounds pain related, rearing as a form of attention seeking does not suggest pain and if his hocks hurt rearing would probably be the last thing he would do.

To me it sounds as if he is genuinely unhappy being alone, he is coping but not totally relaxed or content for a horse brought up in a herd situation to now be turned out alone, albeit with others nearby, means he is not relaxed when he is out and the thought of being brought in brings out the rearing as he gets excited in the anticipation, when his friend opposite goes out again he is stressed by this, he is expressing himself in a natural, if unwanted and potentially dangerous way.
As for what you do, this type will probably become extra clingy if he gets a single friend put with him so you will possibly have a new set of issues develop, in the stable I would give him a mirror, if this works he should be more relaxed and not fixate on the horse opposite, I would not go in to reassure him as you are inadvertently encouraging him to continue rearing every time by "rewarding" him when you go in a give him a pat or even talking in a pleasant way, ignoring him, walking away to watch out of sight will probably show that once you are not there he shuts up and goes back to his net.

Rearing at the fence is more difficult as he obviously wants to come in, it may be that you need to use some reverse psychology by going to the field at random times, if he starts rearing as he sees you approach go away and leave him there, this is a risk if he gets onto the fence, or go into the field catch him walk him round, give him a pat and let him go, if you can enter and leave the field by a different route that may help, repeat several times until he has no idea whether he is coming in or going for a walk, it may help if you could work him in the field a few circuits on the lunge rather than having a reward of coming in each time or send him away from you so he doesn't get brought in straight away, it is a dangerous habit that needs sorting before he really hurts himself, a NH trainer may be of some help if you have someone good local to you.
 

Blondeandabay

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I have had back etc checked and all is fine. He can be fine some days and bad the others it just depends, he can always see horses whether out or in the stable. I just don't want him to hurt himself, which I'm scared will happen when he's out in the field and putting his legs over the fence when he rears. I don't know whether to tell him off or just get in the field so he's stops! When he's out in the field he's happy, he doesn't pace or gallop about etc it's just when he sees someone coming to get him. It's a really bad habit and I want to try and deal with it somehow! He's perfect to deal with in every other day it's just the days when he's an anxious giraffe!
 

Micropony

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Is there an option for him to be turned out with at least one other horse? Both of mine have been content on individual turnout, but much happier with one or more friends so they can engage in proper social behaviour. If your only alternative is pairs turnout it can still work, but I would suggest it's best if his field buddy isn't stabled near him so he doesn't get too attached.
 
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