High Anxiety/Spooking.

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High Anxiety/Spooking.

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  • Retraining the spooking horse
  • How to handle a high anxiety horse

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    01-01-2011, 09:35 PM
Green Broke
Question High Anxiety/Spooking.

I have an 11 year old Arab gelding who has suck a high anxiety & stress level, it affects his training. Whenever he trots, he trots fast, tense. He trips over his own feet! He constantly is afraid. I've had him going on two years. This just recently sparked. Nothings changed in the last 6 months for him to be this way. We've actually cleared more, shouldn't that reduce stress? Because of the claustrophobia being relieved? What can I do to help him?

Thanks - Amanda.
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    01-01-2011, 10:06 PM
Super Moderator
You say you cleared more, do you mean openned up his paddock? I don't think his physical surrounding would have anything to do with this unless there are new horse neighbors. Once a horse gets used to its' physical surrounding, they rarely are anxious about them much, outside of occasional things that come so rarely that the horse doesn't learn to tune them out.

You say he trots around with his head in the air and is tense? With and without a saddle on his back? Are you sure his saddle isn't pinching his withers? The front of the saddle looks a little bit higher than one would expect it to be.
Have you added grain to his diet and he didnt' eat it before? This is one of the most common reasons for horses to go wacko unexpectedly. Diet!

Is he getting exercize regularly? Is he alone all the time?
Being alone would cause him to feel anxious as it places the entire burden of watching for predators on his shoulders alone.

He is a cute horse and looks to be put together rather nicely.
    01-01-2011, 10:37 PM
Green Broke
Clearing question: No, we're clearing a new paddock RIGHT next to his. I figured that wasn't it, but it's "a big SCARY tractor" that's super loud.

Trotting question: No, with and without the saddle. One that's not propertly fitting was also my guess. But he'll do it in the western saddle that puts no pressure on at all. Or saddle-less. He can't stop moving.

Diet: No, it's been constant. He's even on the grain that his last owner had him on. 2 cups of Triple Crown Complete. He's on it for weight. They're on 24/7 round bale (Fesque/Orchard grass) & they have 0 access to grass.

Exercised: It's not constant. I try to lunge him oncec a week, and then ride. But I ride him bareback around my farm normally. W/t .

Being alone: He's usually with 3 other horses. The chicken coop is in their field & we had a fox get in there once. That was about a month ago. Otherwise he's only alone when I'm working with him, and the other horses are in sight.
    01-02-2011, 11:37 AM
Green Broke
    01-02-2011, 12:01 PM
I bets its that tractor!!!
    01-02-2011, 06:39 PM
Yeah it could be that. But he would get used to after seeing it for a while and being right next to it. All the Mustangs did. The best thing would be to find out why he is being stressed out. It could be the tractor still though. I would bring him up to it and try to get him used to it, let him sniff it and stuff and show him its nothing to be afraid of. Other than that all I can suggest is maybe adding B1 to his food. Its a natural calming supplement. Its not very expensive and it helps them relax a little bit.

advice, anxiety, spooky

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