Separation anxiety at competitions- any advice please?

Cragrat

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13 August 2013
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We have 3 horses kept at home, one of which is basically retired.
Of the other 2, one mare has competed quite a lot, mostly by herself, sometimes with the now retired mare.

Now however, we have started taking her to places with the other horse, an inexperienced gelding.

It's a nightmare. Every time. They shout and whinny to each other constantly, always spinning and stressing to see where the other is. They aren't ever in the same SJ class, so we have tried keeping one on the lorry whilst the other competes, and tried bringing both out together so they can see each other. Neither works. Dressage, they do often do the same test, so we warm them them together- they are fine in warm up, but as soon as they separate to go in the ring, the stressing starts.

At home, they DO NOT always work together- we have always, always made a point of taking each horse out by itself, several times a week, and they do this calmly and quietly. Equally, they hack out together happily.

For the last competition, I tried giving them both oxyshot, but it had no effect whatsoever:(

Any tips either for training or calmer? I think this year they have been to about a dozen venues, with NO improvement- will time eventually help? Our nearest venue is 45 mins each direction, so unfortunately I can't go every night of the week until they got over it- though it's tempting!

Thank you if you read this far - didn't realise it would turn into such an essay!
 

GinaGeo

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The last time I took my two out competing together similar happened. I'm afraid I haven't bothered since - I compete for fun and that was far from it.
 

gunnergundog

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At home, they DO NOT always work together- we have always, always made a point of taking each horse out by itself, several times a week, and they do this calmly and quietly.

There's your answer.....take them to competitions one at a time. Have seen this many times.....last instance, a married couple with horses stabled next to each, become dependent, take to comps together and all hell breaks loose!

You may need to take to comps on their own several times before you get the desired behaviour, but that's def the way to go.
 

Cragrat

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13 August 2013
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There's your answer.....take them to competitions one at a time. Have seen this many times.....last instance, a married couple with horses stabled next to each, become dependent, take to comps together and all hell breaks loose!

You may need to take to comps on their own several times before you get the desired behaviour, but that's def the way to go.


Thank you!

So you reckon it's worth trying the gelding by himself a few times, then he will learn to settle even when the mare is there? It's worth a try! The mare has competed by herself countless times, and always perfectly well behaved, but sadly a nutter if the gelding is there ( and being in season or not makes no difference- she isn't one of these who becomes a nuisance once a month).

I really don't want to only be able to ever take one- both are fit, schooled, ready to go, and the fuel and time off work costs pretty much the same for two as for one - and one is my sons, the other my daughter and I share, so we all want to have a go:)
 

charlimouse

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I had a horse who was fine tracing and competing on her own, but if she was out in a pair and the other horse was taken away she would go ballistic. On one occasion she tried to climb underneath the lorry partition, got stuck halfway. Had to get vet to sedate whilst the back of the lorry was taken to bits to free her. I would love to say we managed to sort it, but we never did. We just had to take her out to competitions on her own.
 
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