Separation anxiety - ideas??

JanetGeorge

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I have a nice 6yo coming back today - as his first 3 weeks at his fist new home has turned him into a monster. I've only had this problem once before - with a lot of horses sold - and the 1st one had some excuses. He was 11, never been off the place before, the original Mr. Laidback. He came home exactly the same as he was when he went - just 50 kg lighter. 3 months later I sold him again - and he was fine.

This one could be different. He has been a bit quirky - but the buyer was more confident. And 5 years younger. Current plan is to bung him next to his full brother (his last best friend) and then move him after a few days. If there is no apparent problem, then he'll go to a yard a few miles down the road (where my No.1 rider keeps her own) and see what happens there.

Any other thoughts, suggestions. He is a pure-bred Irish Draught, sire and dam with excelelnt temperaments - and nothing of consequence gone wrong in his life until he left home.
 

Abacus

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I've not had many problems with it but sounds like you are doing the right thing - a gradual but not-too-slow move from his comfort zone (next to brother) to something less familiar.

Only other thing I could suggest is an additional interim period of 'visiting' the next yard so that he is familiar when he goes there. Maybe hack there if close enough? and leave him in a stable for an hour then come back. Might take a bit too much time and effort though.
 

JanetGeorge

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It's a bit of a distance for him to hack solo - and if he goes with a friend, THAT would need to come back solo. And I don't have enough riders to send two companions, lol. I guess I'll have to see what he's like when he arrives.
 

be positive

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Whatever you do now depends on how he is when he returns and why he got in such a state in his new home, if the new owner expected too much too soon and made him live alone or with just one other that was taken away before he had settled in then he may need just a bit of time to relax when he gets back before you start to push the boundaries.
I think it a lot to expect a young horse who has never left his breeder to go out alone or to accept living in some yards where horses routinely get left out when everything else comes in or it's field companion is taken out without careful introduction to it, once they get anxious which can happen very quickly it can take months if not years for them to get over it, I think you are extremely generous having him back as this is likely to have been avoidable if handled well in the first few weeks or months but some people are just impatient and expect too much of their new horses.
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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Careful going out and back will help, has he ever left home before Janet? (I mean day trips for competing/visiting/hacking etc)
I would let him settle back and then intro trips out, then intro night(s) away as if competing. Then a stay with pro rider down road. Blag favours from friends to let him have a stay-date with them.
As with your usual steady approach, I would invest in plenty of time for him now to re-inforce going and coming back, with perhaps a longer stay by the end of a few weeks..
Have had this issue when having something from breeder that hasn't left home from day 1.
Hope you get him through this.
 

Luci07

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I assume your yard has a fair few horses around and things going on. Is the new yard very quiet or with very few horses? My friends chilled out mares turned into clinging divas when she moved to a much smaller quieter yard. Impacted her so badly she literally couldn't take one out of sight of the other without causing hysterics and these were both mares who could previously take or leave other horses. She then moved them to another bigger yard where both mares would always have horses around although did have to go through a process whereby she could ease the clinginess. Mares then reverted back to normal. One mare was a 3/4 ID who is normally the most relaxed mare ever but even she couldn't cope. Nothing wrong with the first yard but not enough horses around for the mares to be comfortable in.
 

YorksG

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Daft as it sounds, has the horse moved somewhere with a very different soil type? With a very different bed rock? If so it could be worth looking at mineral changes, I know is a bit rattly to be showing foot event lines but may be worth a thought perhaps.
 

stencilface

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I adopted two from WHW, one of whom was very attached. Its taken a couple of slow years, but I can now take the pony out and about without the mule throwing himself at/through the fences. This is mainly due to him growing up (he's now 4) and the fact that he's attached to my sisters older horse now a bit.

Are there any horses at the new yard that could come for a day/overnight visit to yours so he could see them in his comfort zone, then he could move to the new yard with that horse?
 

Illusion100

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I'd be inclined to give him a couple of weeks chilling out doing nothing (apart from a quick teeth and back check over in case he's chipped or tweaked something along the way and needs that seen to) to get his head around things, quick bit of groundwork after that to assess he's still mannerly enough, then if he is pack him off to your riders yard and see how he fares.
 

Dubsie

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Could it just be the actual place he went to doesn't suit? One of ours is on livery because she hates home. In that we brought her home once to stop overnight between outings to save us time, and had to take her back to her livery because she just paced, and I mean really paced! At a gallop too. Got in a complete sweat about it. We only put her on livery in the first place because her field got too wet a couple of winters ago and we had nowhere else for her, and realised that she was a changed personality on livery, she wasn't happy or settled the whole time she was at home (we just regretted the purchase!). We're even thinking of moving house to resolve this. Never been an issue with the others, or with other peoples horses here. Just her and home is not a good combination.
 

JanetGeorge

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Well - Mr. Darcy is another Lofty. He strolled off the trailer after a 5 hour journey - cool as cucumber. Was a bit of a prat having travel boots taken off - but it was only the second time he'd worn them. We chucked him in the manege for 30 minutes to run and roll, then chucked him in a new stable he didn't know. He hardly stopped on the haynet for an hour - then we saddled him, into the manege, and despite the high wind, he was as good as gold! So he can work for a week and then go down the road for a week - all going well he'll then go on the market again, but will look for a buyer with plenty of confidence and ideally not too far away! I suspect he might have got bored with a happy hacker home - he loves his jumping and seems to thrive on work.
 

Wheels

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You know sometimes they just don't like their new home! I had one a few years ago, dreamy sweet mare but then I moved her to a yard closer to home and i spent the next 6 months dealing with a crazed maniac! Managed to finally get her back to her old yard and she walked into the stable like shed never left - she just did not like the new yard, not sure why? Maybe something about her stable, the atmosphere, different grass, one of the horses? No idea lol
 

Annagain

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A friend moved her horse to a new yard last Autumn so her daughter's pony and her horse could be together. Neither our yard nor the pony's yard had space so they both moved to the new place. Pony was fine, her horse went nuts. He can be a bit stressy - can't be left in the field alone and while he's perfectly happy in overnight, if another horse goes out before him in the morning he hates it. After 6 weeks in the new place, he was so stressed he was literally climbing out of his stable over the door every night and was so clingy to the pony he was climbing over her to the extent the YO insisted my friend had her 17yr old who had never done it before rig tested (all clear).

She moved him back to our yard and the moment he walked off the box, you could see him take a huge breath and relax. We took him and my share horse (his best mate) out for a short hack and then turned them back into the field together, they couldn't wait to have a groom. It was like he'd never lef,t except that in 6 weeks he'd lost 100kg and frankly, looked like a skeleton. After 2 weeks back home, 40kg had gone back on. The other 60 took a few months but from the moment he was home you could sense the relief.
 

Rollin

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I purchased two mares from Hungary, the 3 year old settled immediately, the 6 year old stressed for months. The older had been part of a carriage team and I think she pined for her friends. I expect horses to take time to settle in a new yard.

The stressed mare turned out to be a delight to ride and hack, alone or in company, it just took time for her to make new friends.

My 6 year old mare would not eat when we sent her to our professional for SJ training. She lost so much weight I brought her home, now however we take her for a few days before each big competition and gradually she has got used to being away from home and is no longer a problem.
 

AdorableAlice

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Well - Mr. Darcy is another Lofty. He strolled off the trailer after a 5 hour journey - cool as cucumber. Was a bit of a prat having travel boots taken off - but it was only the second time he'd worn them. We chucked him in the manege for 30 minutes to run and roll, then chucked him in a new stable he didn't know. He hardly stopped on the haynet for an hour - then we saddled him, into the manege, and despite the high wind, he was as good as gold! So he can work for a week and then go down the road for a week - all going well he'll then go on the market again, but will look for a buyer with plenty of confidence and ideally not too far away! I suspect he might have got bored with a happy hacker home - he loves his jumping and seems to thrive on work.
What a relief for you. I would think a bit of hunting would make a man of him.
 

Bessi

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Im another with one who just hated a yard, no reason i could ever figure out, refused to go round to the school reversed and reared, refused to go into the american barn - ditto, refused to hack out napped and reared. Just a total nightmare and most unlike him, moved to a different yard and got my horse back and has never done the same at either of the two yards we've moved to since or either of the yards he'd been at previously. If he had been new to me id have thought he'd been doped and been questioning the seller on what id bought..

Sounds like you've got a good plan and hope it all works out!
 
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