Severe case of separation anxiety?

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Severe case of separation anxiety?

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  • Controlling separation anxiety in horses
  • Horse seperation at horse show

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    04-21-2010, 11:07 AM
Green Broke
Severe case of separation anxiety?

Has anyone got any tips for dealing with a horse that has the worst case of separation anxiety I have ever heard of?

She is a 4yo purebred Arab, very pretty and nice to ride, would eat 'em up in the show ring except...

She has a meltdown if another horse is taken away from her. It doesn't matter which horse it is and whether she knows them or not, she just can't be left alone. Apparently it is so bad that she will literally try to climb up walls with total disregard to her own safety and has injured herself in the past doing so. Obviously a bit of a problem at shows as horses are coming and going all the time. Previously her owner has tried tying her up in the stall but this led to further disaster. Also can't take her to the side of the ring as she calls out and distracts all the other horses.

What to do what to do?
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    04-21-2010, 12:47 PM
I would do a lot of work with her at the barn or at a show (probably one you have taken her to just for experience) and take her away from other horses for a short period of time and then let her join back up. Gradually increase the amount of time she is separated until she learns to control her emotion. John Lyons has a pretty good training session on this if you are able to find it in his books or maybe on line. Most horses that separation anxiety (or are barn sour) can be taught to control their emotions and alleviate most of their anxiety through your patience and training.
    04-22-2010, 12:01 AM
Green Broke
Great, thanks I will be sure to try and get her owner to try that at the next few shows, sounds like she should just tag along to a couple anyway for practice.
    04-22-2010, 01:36 AM
I'll be following this thread too. Our OTTB is horrible with separation anxiety. She even tries (well it looks like this) to dislocate her jaw.
    04-22-2010, 10:46 AM
Think of it kind of like desensitizing the horse. The "scary object" is being alone. You expose them to what makes them nervous, then calm them down by removing that anxiety. Take them away from their friends, then take them back. Your goal is to make what scares them or makes them anxious be not so scary. You are teaching them to control their emotions.
    04-23-2010, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
Makes good sense to me, sounds like we may need an additional person to come along as it will be a full time job at whatever show she is at. Have you ever done this yourself? How long did it take? I understand every horse is different but since she is an arab I am hoping she picks it up quickly, they are usually pretty smart.

Thanks 99!
    04-23-2010, 11:58 AM
I had a horse that was mildly barn sour and this worked great on her. A friend of mine has 2 horses that were raised together and she uses one for calf roping and the other for barrel racing. If the takes both of them to a show, one of them throws a fit if the other one leaves the trailer. She tried everything she could think of (including hobbling) and the horse continued to go the point that he could be seriously injured. She started working on separation at the barn and continued working on it at shows and he has made HUGE progress. He's not dangerous to himself or others when she takes the mare away. She's not 100% there yet (still in the training process) but she at least knows he is safe being tied alone at the trailer now.

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