Anxious Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-08-2012, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Anxious Horse

I have recently purchased a 12 year old Quarter horse who is incredibly anxious about almost everything. He doesn't like to stand in cross ties, and will rear and paw at the ground if he is in the cross ties and there is not another horse in the barn. If a horse comes into the barn or leaves the barn while he is in the barn he paces, or "lopes in place". He also does not like to be anywhere where he cannot see another horse. He panics in a stall if he cannot see any other horses and won't eat if he doesn't have a field buddy.

I bought this horse specifically because my riding instructor knew the horse when he was younger. He is a reiner, however we haven't made it to any reining manouvers in the six short months i've owned him. He was a researched purchase as I thought I knew what kind of horse I was getting, however in the few years from when my instructor knew him to when I bought him, he seems to have changed. I know the last few years haven't been easy on him, and some of the owners pervious to me have been hard on him. He seems to have a hard time focusing and seems to just be worried all of the time. He is currently at my tainers barn, because I'm a relatively new rider and need help working though some of his issues. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice or have dealt with anxious horses before? I've been doing lots of ground work with him and realize that i haven't owned him long. Any advice is welcome!
RKONEILL is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-08-2012, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northern Illinois
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Is this horse anxious, or just buddy sour? Hard to tell over the internet.

I find it interesting that you say that the previous owners were hard on him. I'm thinking the opposite may be true, they weren't hard ENOUGH on him, or were "hard on him" in the wrong ways, and thus made him anxious. My point being he needs a leader.

Horses freak out when they feel left alone because they need a leader, it is in their instinct to be in a herd. If they feel the owner is their herd leader, they freak out less when they are taken away from their buddies.

Since he is majorly freaking when he is alone, I would assume he lacks basic respect principles. Consistent work on the ground will most likely help.

If he is really truly just buddy sour, and is good all the other times, then I would suggest looking up the many threads on how to fix a buddy sour horse. It can be done with consistency and time.

** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
Lakotababii is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 06-08-2012, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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I would purchase a calming supplement like Qiiessence (has magnesium in it) while at same time develop a routine to make horse more comfortable. Once horse has learned to trust you, and see you as herd leader, then you can change, very small change at first, the routine.

Build trust
Find exercises on hand and under saddle to get and keep horses attention on YOU - not other horses, not environment - just YOU!
Calming supplement may help horse to settle faster.

Dressage is for Trainers!
Valentina is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 06-09-2012, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Thanks for the advice, he is on a calming suppliment, as suggested by the vet and by the trainer. I think that it is helping a little.
I say anxious and not buddy sour because there are times when I'm working him and there are other horses around, specifically his field mates, and he still is tense. He has had a couple of homes where he was treated poorly, which I don't feel I need to go into detail about, but I do beieve they add to his anxiety issues. They also caused him to be a little head shy, but we are working on his issues with that. We will just keep on with the same for a while, and I know with a little more time we will get through this too! He's getting worked twice a day right now, once by the trainer and then once, much lighter, by me... Which seems to calm him down too. Thanks for the tips! I really like this guy, just want him to settle in and be the self-assured boy he was when he was younger!
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