Turning horses away for a while

ShadowHunter

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Just a moan really, a bit of reassurance perhaps. I'm having to turn my horses away for a good few months as riding them is nearly impossible. My gelding has pair bonded with my mare and becomes downright dangerous (rearing) when taken away, so i cant hack him alone. The mare would go alone but i genuinely fear that the gelding would seriously injure himself in his panic. I can't ride in the field as too wet and dangerous. Theres no one to ride with as my brother is in the army; i had a rider for my gelding, but that fell through after the weather started to turn.
We've put planning in for an arena but its just been rejected today, the appeal can take up to 19 weeks if not more once put through. So I'm stuck until the spring and i can ride in the field or until the arena is up.
I feel guilty and a bit useless. I miss riding but everything is so difficult. I don't know what the point of this post is really, just to get it off my chest. Anyone else had to take an extended break and been fine? Am i worrying needlessly? I'm pretty sure they couldn't care less anyway.
 
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indiat

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We had to take a long time off last winter as we have no hacking and the fields were a bog with all the bad weather. They were all happy to come back into work come spring but they did get turned out every day. Don't sweat it.
 

AdorableAlice

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Turn them out and stop worrying.

I went through the same drama in Feb 2013, all ok one day and then the next told I was having surgery for breast cancer within 7 days. My beloved stabled, pampered horses got turned out into 6 inches of snow. They did have barn shelter and a ring feeder with big bales.

They were fine, the youngstock grew on and 12 months later none of them had forgotten anything.
 

ShadowHunter

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What would happen long term tho re your set up? Are you always have to stick to riding in your arena or field?
Most of the time yes. Some weekends when my brother is home we could take them out for a hack but most of the time its just me, myself and I. I cant take two out at the same time.


I knew i was being silly. Watching them eat their tea peacefully, reminded me of how little they care and how lucky i am regardless.
 

AdorableAlice

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Most of the time yes. Some weekends when my brother is home we could take them out for a hack but most of the time its just me, myself and I. I cant take two out at the same time.


I knew i was being silly. Watching them eat their tea peacefully, reminded me of how little they care and how lucky i am regardless.
You are not being silly at all. None of would keep them if we didn't care, but every now and again life throws a spanner in and we have to adjust. It will soon be Spring and you will be back to normal.
 

laura_nash

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Mine have been turned away for the winter for the last three years, for various reasons. I don't think its a problem providing their established at whatever you want them to do and your not working towards any important goal that requires a high level of fitness or extra training. Also assuming they have enough turnout to be happy without any additional exercise.

Sounds like you'll need a plan for the gelding for spring though, maybe you can work on his separation issues in hand over the winter?
 

be positive

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Most of the time yes. Some weekends when my brother is home we could take them out for a hack but most of the time its just me, myself and I. I cant take two out at the same time.


I knew i was being silly. Watching them eat their tea peacefully, reminded me of how little they care and how lucky i am regardless.
They really don't care whether they get ridden or not but you are going to be limited in what you can do long term if they really cannot be separated and the gelding may get worse, is getting a third an option at some point so you can work towards being able to get at least the mare going out alone, a mirror in the stable may also be worth trying, they may be happy with each other but if something did happen that meant one having to go into hospital or worse the one left behind may not cope if they are too bonded and reliant on each other.
 

canteron

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Turn them away and enjoy your winter, I genuinely think it is a good thing and short periods of a complete break helps keep them healthy. I think you could also use the time really productively to help manage the separation anxiety.

If you understand it as a lack of confidence then you can work out how to make a little bit of separation part of their life and build their overall confidence, which will have huge benefits in the long term. For example, I have a new horse who is bonding very closely with my existing mare. I am very conscious I don't want separation anxiety ever to be an issue, so I consciously just lead one in then the other (never together) and expect them to cope, just so they get into a routine of being left for 5 minutes but they are also focussed on their food at the end of the trip. Once they have a little bit of security in the routine and that they are coming in for food, then I will change it and bring the other one in first. I will then bring one in, feed it, and swop over with the other, essentially I will take baby steps to achieve complete flexibility. You do need someone to help for the first few days, but I am sure that if you research you will find something really useful you can do with this time off, that will help with managing the separation anxiety in the future - it is a soluble problem, its just building their confidence.

Good luck with the planning permission - waiting is horrible!
 

Mule

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I turn my boy out for a couple of months in the winter. I take his shoes off and let him relax. I find it really good for him.

He's much more enthusiastic about working when he comes back and his fitness is barely affected.

I think it's also helps with stress, which sounds like it could be a factor in your situation.
 

Antw23uk

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Take the shoes off, let them have a holiday but put some thinking into sorting the separation anxiety because that is no fun and dangerous. What if the mare had to go to the vets? You need to plan for worse case scenario but agreed with everyone else, stop being silly, shoes off, hay, shelter .. job done. Enjoy :)
 

ShadowHunter

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That's a good idea, working on his separation issues over the winter. We did discuss with the vets what would happen if one had to stay in hospital, only way would be to send both. Worst case scenario, i have no idea.
We're looking at a third but it wouldn't be until next summer.
Thank you for the reassurance everyone.
 

canteron

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Just had a reminder from my teacher today, which I thought might pass on. When returning a horse to a field, if the horse in the field neighs/gets upset, stop and wait for it to calm before letting the horse you are leading back move forward, i.e. never reward the horse in the field for getting upset! If you hold that concept in mind, then I am pretty sure you can get the separation anxiety to a manageable level.
 

poiuytrewq

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Op, I had a horse who had absolutely hysterical separation issues. He was like yours in becoming dangerous and had no self preservation (forget about people preservation!)
I sent him to a TB rehoming place and after a time they sent him back! I eventually got a Shetland and shut them together for a few weeks with no contact with other horses. They became besties very quickly and I was able to put them back with my other horses. The one with the issues after that as long as his pony was with him didn't even look up when I rode out.
I appreciate this isn't an option for everyone but was the best thing I ever did and I finally felt he was settled and happy.
 

Goldenstar

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I would turn away if it suited me ,the only horses I would not turn away especially in winter are arthritic ones who are still in work as it does them no good .
 

Pinkvboots

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If it suits you then yes do it horses don't care if they are ridden, I had a mare that would go berserk if I took my gelding away the only way I could ride him was bring them both in together and stable her when I rode, she was very upset to start with but over time she got much better but I never left her in the field alone as she would jump out, with the 2 horses I have now I never leave one out on there own they both come in its much safer sometimes when you only have 2 it's the only answer.
 

sport horse

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You can of course turn them away but that will not sort your problem long term. Two is probably the most difficult number as there is always one left alone if you ride. Have you room for a small companion pony? There are plenty in rescues or around and about. Discuss with your vet whether you could sedate the gelding while you ride the mare - hopefully after a few times you can gradually reduce the dose and he may start to accept that he gets left alone. His behaviour when you ride him and want to leave the mare, is known as 'nappy' (couch it in any terms you like but that is the brutal truth). You will have to start, possibly by long reining him, so that he learns that when you say move forward you mean it, not that is is a suggestion if he concurs. The rearing is learned behaviour and he has twigged that it frightens you (it would me too!) so he has got his own way. If you ride the mare can you shut him in a stable with the top door closed? I doubt he will kill himself - yes he will trash the bed and sweat up but he has to learn to be any use to you or anyone else. Good luck - I have been there, am regularly there still with young horses that come into work from the herd. It can be quite scary but ultimately if they cannot leave their friends they are actually useless as a riding horse, competition horse or anything other than a herd ornament.
I actually have a 4 year old that used to rear and put his legs over the top of the walls of internal stables. I gave in until he was 3 and put him in a barn with others. I then decided I had to deal with the situation and put him in a brick walled stable and shut all the doors. After two days I was able to open the top door and place a full grid in the space. After two weeks it went to an anti weaving grid. He is now broken, ridden away, loaded and travelled really easily, going to small shows, shod, clipped and everyone's favourite.
 
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glamourpuss

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Yes, turning away can be fine for a period of time. Particularly in the winter when motivation is low & the weather is crap.

Going against the grain though I think this would be the worst thing you could do for your horse. You don't have to ride but I would be seriously working on your horse's seperation issues.....because if you don't come the spring they will still be there (& possibly even worse if they've spent every minute together for 4 months)

Sorry but I really wouldn't be turning this horse away.
 

glamourpuss

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For what it's worth I have 4. They are out in pairs in a fields next to each other - where they can see/touch over the fence. I would run as a herd but due to only 1 mare it had the potential to be a nightmare.
Even if only 1 is being ridden all 4 come in, the potential for injury is much greater if they start thundering around the field because their buddy has gone away. I can take away any of them & the others are all fine if they are stabled.
 

pennyturner

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I've only had separation problems once, with a Shetland, who would find any way at all of escaping if the others were hacked out. I think I would start with separating them at feeding time, so that they associate separation with something positive. It might only have to be around a corner to start with, then progress to taking one out of the field, and feeding the other in the field. Having them happy to be left behind but expecting a bucket of something is much safer!
 

ShadowHunter

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Sorry but I really wouldn't be turning this horse away.
I've already said that i will be working on the separation issues. However, I cannot take him away from the mare. We'd both come back in a box. He's already taken chunks out of the side of the stable and bent the bars, the mare wasn't even out of sight at the time. Taking him away completely would not work at all.

I appreciate people want to offer advice but i know whats best for my particular situation.
 
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