Can horses get depressed? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Can horses get depressed?

My mare is very fond of a gelding at my yard that in a few weeks will be moving they've been next to each other for the last 9/10 months, i'm wondering if this will have any adverse effects on my mare as she doesn't really bond with other horses, and also the mare the other side of her a few weeks was sold and she spend 3 days pacing the fence line...

so basically i want to know what sort of behavior to keep an eye out for if she's getting stressed or depressed?
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 09:58 AM
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What other horses will she have access to, once the gelding is gone?

She's stressed because all her herd buddies are going away, and she doesn't have anyone left to buddy up with.

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 11:13 AM
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Yes horses can get depressed over their buddies disappearing. I sold my gelding over a year ago and my mare suffered a great deal over it all. At first she wasn't too bad as a fellow boarder shifted her gelding closer to Honey but now he and another mare just roam the property so they would come visit my mare and then leave her - stressing her out. This only got worse in the last 6 weeks as the neighboring farm has a notorious pony who gets through the boundary fence and comes visits my mare. Once he somehow brought his 17hh friend and my mare started to stress and wouldn't settle.
Whilst she's been lovely to handle she has been dull ever since the selling of my gelding. Her emotions go up and down depending on when she has visits.
I just recently this week acquired a quiet little mare to be her new friend. She's smitten with her already and they're acting like best friends - which after the first hour together had already started to become apparent haha!
Will it be possible to buddy her up so she doesn't get lonely? My solution was extreme but neccessary :) all the best!!

Last edited by ohmyitschelle; 04-11-2012 at 11:16 AM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 06:37 PM
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Yes, most certainly horses can stress and get depressed. My gelding was kept in paddock on my parents farm. When he could no longer see the other horses (my sister's horses - we don't get along, so her horses were kept separate) he wouldn't sleep. The side effects led to low body temperature, loss of condition, hard keeper, really low immune system. Because he has AF, my vet and myself thought he was in congestive heart failure. I moved him to a pasture where he could always see his mates and he's made a 180 turnaround now that he is happy and content.

Change is inevitable, even for horses. Just make it as easy and comfortable as possible. If she has other horses around, not sure there's much more you could do to make the situation better for her. Someone else might provide some suggestions.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 06:43 PM
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Being a herd animal she will stress over her only security leaving. Horses need to be with others for the safety in numbers and the complex social interaction.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 06:48 PM
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Horses get depressed, they whine, they pout, they mope. I've seen it, without a doubt.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-11-2012, 06:52 PM
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Yes as long as she has another friend there to chill with in the pasture, she should be fine. But watch her..

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-19-2012, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Hi thanks for all the advice, I bought a calmer and lucky she has fallen in love with a new livery horse called Fred :) she still paces the fence where her friend use to be but she isn't as bad...

Will keep a eye on her still though... I don't like to see the poor thing upset :(
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