Separation anxiety

OvergrownShetland

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23 February 2014
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94
The horse a share and his best friend have recently moved yards. The third horse they were with all winter didn't move so there's just two of them now. Hacking out or schooling was never a massive issue, some silliness but nothing ridiculous before we moved. Now the horse I share seems to be suffering with separation anxiety and if he can't see his best bud he screams the place down and refuses to move on hacks, or isn't focused when schooling. his best bud is just being backed so can't come with us...

If anyone has any tips or advice on how to overcome this it would be greatly appreciated! :)
 

kandm

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I think it's a case of the more you do the better your share horse will get :). I will soon be putting my brave pants on to hack my ex racer out on her own for the first time since having her, but I'm going with the analogy of short and sweet hacks and then lengthening them :). It's about building confidence.
 

L&M

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Is there space for a 3rd horse? This is not an uncommon problem when keeping 2 horses but from experience is a right pita!

How long have they been there? It could be just a matter of settling in, but also could be indicative of a long term problem.
 

OvergrownShetland

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I think it's a case of the more you do the better your share horse will get :). I will soon be putting my brave pants on to hack my ex racer out on her own for the first time since having her, but I'm going with the analogy of short and sweet hacks and then lengthening them :). It's about building confidence.
Thank you for your reply :) I'm just fraustrated with him at the minute, he's improved so much and this has brought us straight back to square one :(
 

OvergrownShetland

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23 February 2014
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Is there space for a 3rd horse? This is not an uncommon problem when keeping 2 horses but from experience is a right pita!

How long have they been there? It could be just a matter of settling in, but also could be indicative of a long term problem.
There's not really space for a third :/ it happens every time they move from winter to summer grazing, as the third one goes to a charity to help autistic children. They've been there 2 weeks, I know it takes Ben a bit longer to settle as he doesn't really like change, but he's normally settled by now :/
 

luckyoldme

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when i had issues with this i took my own horse out for very short periods of time and built it up over time. his companion eventually got to the stage where although he looked for him when we came back he wasnt troubled at all by his absence...baby steps!
 

Rockman

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10 January 2014
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Another vote here for the baby steps, I got my ex racer 15 months ago. He raced for 10 years and hunted for 2 so had never been expected to be independent. We hacked out the same route with a friend and her house for a few months, then led him that route for another month, then progressed to me riding him with someone walking with us and eventually started to ride the same route alone but in small stages. He did have his moments and I wouldn't say it was easy but have since moved yards and we are already hacking new routes on our own! He does still shout when he knows he's heading for home but there is no silliness!

Just take your time like kandm said it's all about confidence and trust.
 

OvergrownShetland

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23 February 2014
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94
Another vote here for the baby steps, I got my ex racer 15 months ago. He raced for 10 years and hunted for 2 so had never been expected to be independent. We hacked out the same route with a friend and her house for a few months, then led him that route for another month, then progressed to me riding him with someone walking with us and eventually started to ride the same route alone but in small stages. He did have his moments and I wouldn't say it was easy but have since moved yards and we are already hacking new routes on our own! He does still shout when he knows he's heading for home but there is no silliness!

Just take your time like kandm said it's all about confidence and trust.
Nice to hear a positive story :) well done you :)
 

AdorableAlice

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24 October 2011
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Put the young horse in a secure yard with hay on the floor and nothing it can get caught up on and leave it to get over itself. Ride the other out and mean it when you say forwards, if the horse says no drop the stick on it.

They are big creatures and they do as they are told.
 
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14 November 2012
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My boy used to hate doing anything on his own, he's gone through fences and almost come over stable doors just to avoid being on his own, made me a nervous wreck and hated seeing him so distressed :( I sought some advice from a very experienced horse woman who said the best thing I could do was put him in a safe paddock on his own and pretty much let him get on with it! I was about to move yards at this point and luckily new yard had a safe secure paddock away from the other horses that I turned him out into on his own for 2 weeks. At first he hated me for it and I felt so guilty but felt I should persevere as I was all out of options! It turned out to be the best thing I ever did! Bit by bit he eventually stopped fretting and started to settle, he learnt to self soothe and looked forward to my frequent daily visits strengthening our bond. I wasn't sure it would last once I turned him out with the others but it did, I could bring him in on his own, spend time with him no fretting or anything! Eventually we progressed to hacking out alone but with someone on foot (usually my daughter or OH with the dog!) and whilst I can't say that he loved going out alone he coped with it and that was a huge progression for him! It's still work in progress where the ridings concerned but just the fact that I can bring him in on his own and do things away from the others is nothing short of a miracle! I'm not saying this process would work for all horses but if you can get him doing things on his own even if it's in bits and pieces hopefully he'll soon improve and be happier to go out alone. Good luck :)
 
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