help with separation issues

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help with separation issues

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    07-14-2009, 01:59 PM
Question help with separation issues

I will try to keep this shorrt. I bought a 4 yr old TW stud 6 weeks ago, had him gelded a week later. Of course, he doesn't realize he is no longer a stud. When I remove him from the pasture where our mare is, he acts up, gets anxious, and I can't do anything with him. I can't lunge him, ride him or anything if he is separated from Dahli. Last night I took him to the adjoining pasture to work a little while, I thought he had settled down so I went to fix their grain and he jumped the fence to get back in with the girls. Any suggestions????
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    07-14-2009, 04:56 PM
Even once the hormones are all gone from his body he will probably still act the same with the mare.

Can you completely seperate them? Like put him in a stall so they can't even see each other? I have a gelding that I tried to take him away from his girlfriend and he would become uncontrollable. I tried taking him away a little at a time then bringing him back..repeating this for a while. Didnt really work. Also tried tying her in the arena when I wanted to ride so she was there with him, but that is just a band aid.

What eventually worked was removing them completely from each other for a couple weeks. It took about a week for him to stop looking for her, but it worked. Now he is much more calm, well, as much as a hot TB can be.

Another option you can try is talking to your vet about putting him on progesterone for a while. Its usually for controlling mare cycles but can really help to calm geldings and get them over seperation anxiety.
    07-15-2009, 10:50 AM
Out of sight, out of mind.

The only way to fix a herdbound issue is to fully separate for an extended period of time. During that time you need to build your relationship with him so that you become his leader. I suspect in this case it's going to take several months. Once the relationship is established then you can put him back in with other horses, however, you should separate him every single night/or day depending when you do your turnout for weather conditions.
    07-15-2009, 11:00 AM
We are dealing with this issue right now with our mare and gelding. They are inseparable. The gelding is far more of a butthead than the mare when separated, though.

We've taken to keeping them in separate corrals at night. The gelding can see the mare... except when she goes in her stall to sleep, which she does often, so it is slowly working. He now looks more to us for attention, since she can't be bothered.

Also, we've begun giving him one flake of hay when she gets taken out to be worked (which for now works as showing him that Dixie gone = yummy hay), and she gets to rest from working out of sight of him, so that she associates rest and praise with being out of sight of him.

I don't know if any of that will work for you, just relaying what we're trying with ours :)
    07-16-2009, 12:04 PM
Thank you for all the advice. When DD starts school in a few weeks, she will be taking her mare with her. If he shows the same problem with our little filly, we will let her take her also for a month or so and see what happens.
    07-16-2009, 01:17 PM
I used to get lots of different solutions to this problem. I have used the "completely cut them off method" and its not my favorite. I hear people say "work them by their buddy and rest them when they are away" but then I think, "why would I want to use work as punishment, don't I want them to enjoy their work?". So, I went to the source of the problem.
Its not simply the act of being by another horse, but it is a lack of security. An insecure horse is going to require the closeness of the herd for protection, by themselves they will feel vulnerable. For example, I got a horse in about a week and a half ago with severe seperation issues. I turned her out with my herd and worked with her owner on getting her to a more relaxed frame of mind in various situations. At the same time, we worked with her physically to increase the suppleness and control in her body, making her more secure there. We still have a long way to go, but her seperation issues were unrecognizable in 1 week. I won't say they are gone, because I know that she is not solid enough here to be able to take care of this herself and the behavior will return if she goes back to her previous situation now. Give us some time and she will "own" her security, and that will go with her wherever she is.

I have a very solid herd. My lead horse accepts me as his leader, which gives me even more power in the herd. A herd doesn't want a weak link, so they are not going to accept an unstable horse in their herd. They teach her acceptable manners, and I give her the tools to strengthen her mind and her body, making her an asset to the herd rather than a hinderance.

You don't have to seperate a horse to teach it to be alone, you have to build its confidence in its mind and stability in its body to teach it to be more comfortable outside of the security of the herd.
    07-16-2009, 01:20 PM
I agree with Flitterbug. We use a combination of the two really.

The more we work with her, the more trusting and secure she feels with us. Adding in that where she rests is out of sight of AZ, and it all sort of falls into place together.

AZ in his corral when Dixie is out of sight? Nightmare. AZ out and about doing his own thing (grazing, etc) when Dixie is out of sight, he doesn't even care. He's a kook.
    07-17-2009, 10:34 AM
Originally Posted by FlitterBug    
You don't have to seperate a horse to teach it to be alone, you have to build its confidence in its mind and stability in its body to teach it to be more comfortable outside of the security of the herd.

This is true, the problem is most people don't know how to give the horse that confidence, particularly when the horse is doing everything in its power to get back to the herd, making an unsafe situation.

Then there's the issue of taking a secure horse away from the other horses and having the other horse/s go berserk when their confidence blanket is taken away and endangering themselves.

The easiest, quickest, most effective way to teach horse AND human is to separate completely and let horse and human build there relationship w/o inference from another.

The advice one gives needs to be appropriate to the situation, but mostly it needs to be appropriate to the person who's having the problem. If the OP could instill confidence in this horse while letting it remain with the other horse, they wouldn't be here asking the question. You also have to keep in mind the OP is working with a young, green horse who's been a stallion until very recently. We've got hormones, adolescence and ingrained behavior, perhaps prior poor handling and training to deal with.

You're giving a false sense of solution here. It can take months and even years, depending on the horse, situation and past for this horse to gain that type of self-confidence you're talking about. You have no idea what this horse has been through or what his base personality and temperament is. You don't know if it's his hormones talking, or if he was always the baby in a herd who was allowed to jump and breed whoever was in the vicinity.
    07-17-2009, 09:52 PM
Mercedes, thank you for your help. I don't know a lot about his life prior to my getting him. He seemed to have been handled very roughly and I am trying to not do that as well as earning his respect and his trust. We have a ways to go....but we are taking it one day at a time and gaining ground.

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