herd bound horse..This can't be healthy - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-24-2011, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Question herd bound horse..This can't be healthy

I've read a few other threads about separating herd bound horses, and most of them have ended with ' keep them separated until they get used to it' sort of thing.

Hers a bit of background: My horse has always had problems with being seperated from his chosen buddies. I can walk with him for miles without seeing a horse, and as long as he's got his halter on and i'm leading, its all good, the moment i take that halter off, he panics. I can put it back on, and he's fine. After moving to a new stables, we really saw how panicked he becomes when he isn't around his chosen horses.

he was in quarantine for two weeks. He was stalled at night, which he was fine with, on the opposite side of the aisle than the other two horses there. When outside, he could still see them from a distance, and he had 10 other horses closer to him in other paddocks. But he didn't care, he couldn't be with those 2 horses from the barn, so he panicked. for 2 weeks he didn't eat or drink outside ( which was around 8 hours of the day) and ran himself to a sweat continually. He screamed, trotted the fence line constantly and long story short, he became lame and lost A LOT of weight in that time period. the barn owner had never seen a horse like this, she was constantly concerned with him colicing, and after quarantine it took months to get him back to his previous standing, both muscle and weight wise.

Even now, if you leave him in the barn without buddies, he circles his stall, doesn't eat or drink, and all around loses his marbles.

Now, this obviously isn't healthy. I am bringing him home this summer and despite having a buddy, they won't always be able to together 24/7. How should I go about separating him without risking his health? If I was to separate him, will he eventually give up? ( he didn't give up in the time he was in quarantine so i'm skeptical)


Last edited by iridehorses; 03-24-2011 at 03:22 PM. Reason: moved to training forum
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-24-2011, 08:57 PM
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Oh my...that sounds pretty bad x.x

I hope you get some replies on this!
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-24-2011, 11:53 PM
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I may sound like a complete idiot but is it possible to treat a horse for separation anxiety??? It sounds like that's what he has-and dogs get it, so why couldn't horses???

"Not evil, dear. Wicked." - Once Upon A Time.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 12:30 AM
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Your concern about colic is valid. There was a horse at our barn who was overly possesive of the mares when put in with the herd. He was sepereated by only a fence, could still see them but not join them . And he still worked himself into a colic and died 24 hours later.

I dont know how to deal with herdbound issues so will be curious to see what sort of advice you get. I only wanted to say that your concern is not without merit.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 12:33 AM
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Abby does the same thing now that she's the only outside horse. When the inside horses are turned out with her, she's fine, but when they go back in, you'd think the sky was falling. I can take her for a walk away from them and it's fine. Just when they're taken away from her. However she calms down shortly after and goes back to eating.

Maybe try a calming supplement? Abby's on one and she lost a lot of anxiety (she was previously herdbound and would howl and prance around if I wanted to take her for a walk down the road). She's been on SmartCalm for maybe a month or so and she's much better (except for the random spazzing for a short while after her friends leave). But even after her friends leave, she calms down not long after. If he's still doing that while separated all the time, I'd be concerned too.

That's what's worked fairly well for me and really the only suggestion I've got.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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I'll ask the vet about calming supplements next time she's out. My concern with those is that he's a relatively calm horse otherwise; do these supplements create a 'lazy' ( for lack of a better word) horse or do they just offer aid in those times of anxiety?
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 12:46 AM
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Abby's certainly not lazy. I lunged her last Tuesday to get some energy out and all she wanted to do was lope in circles forever. She was soaked by the time we were done. I brushed her out a ton yesterday while waiting for someone else to finish using the arena. She used to hold her head up and be really..aware? of what's going on. Does that make sense? Ears up, eyes wide, etc. And every time I'd walk away, she'd paw at the ground and look around. Yesterday, she just stood there like an old pro. Head low and chewing. I brushed her everywhere and the most reaction I got was when I was way back under her belly by her back legs and she was like "Hey. That's new."
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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ohh ok... i'm going to look into this. Thanks Poseidon! Are these supplements just added to their feed?
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 01:03 AM
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We use Clomipramine in dogs and cats with amazing success. Helps them stay anxiety free and doesn't turn them into zombies or ruin their personalities. Has it any use in horses??? anyone know???

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-25-2011, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Lonannuniel View Post
ohh ok... i'm going to look into this. Thanks Poseidon! Are these supplements just added to their feed?
Yep. SmartPak has a 28 day supply that you could get to test it out. It only takes about 2 weeks to take effect. But if you order the bucket instead of SmartPaks, make sure you dig out the scoop it comes with. I assumed it was the same size as all of the extras in my barn's feed room and was just using one of those and yesterday I was like, "I started her on this over a month ago, why is there so much left?" And then I saw the scoop it came with barely sticking out of the pellets..it's quite large. Haha. Abby hasn't even been having the full daily amount.

Either way, the 28 day supply of pellets is like $20, so it might just be worth a shot anyway. I think the powder is cheaper (and it smells amazingggg. Like that powdered blueberry muffin batter. mmmm)
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herd bound , stress , weight

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