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Yearling Freezes Up/Zones Out
We have a 1.5 year old that came to us from a really bad situation almost a year ago. He has made huge strides since he came here and will pretty much let you do anything to him. Great with the farrier, leads, ties, is accepting of everything you throw his way. The problem is this...intermittently he will just freeze up and zone out. It is almost like he goes into some kind of catatonic state. We have tried everything we can think of to snap him out of it, but nothing works anymore. It can happen when he is being led or when he is being tied. Used to happen when he was just standing in his stall, but that hasn't happened in quite a long time now. We have tried a tug on the lead, clapping hands, wiggling his top lip, a smack on the rump, a holler, playing with his ears....nothing works. If you put your hand near his eyes....he doesn't even blink when in this state. After several minutes (has lasted up to 10 minutes before), he just comes back like nothing has happened and continues on with whatever was going on before hand. It can be really unnerving. When this first started happening, if you took hold of his top lip and just fiddled with it back and forth, you could pull him out of it, but now that doesn't work either. Anyone have any idea what could be causing this or how we can help him get over this? We can't find any common denominator as to what is going on when this happens, time of day, or anything like that.
subbing.. interesting.. would like to know whats going on as well!
Has he been thoroughly checked out by a competent vet?
That sounds scary!
He sure has.....clean bill of health.
I spent months working on a horse such as this, only he'd spook when he came back to reality. What you need to do with this colt is to just spend time with him, grab a chair and read and ignore him. Let him check you out. Don't touch him unless you are concerned for your safety. As soon as you touch him the mental contact he was working on is gone. Sometimes just greet him with an extended hand and walk away with your back to him. Walk maybe 10 or so paces then turn sideways to see if he followed you or not. If not, greet him again. It is important that he reach the last inch to your hand, don't you do it. If he won't greet you after 15 sec. turn and walk away. Oh, always bend a little at the waist to greet him and look at his nose, knees, not his eyes. Altho this might not seem like much he is learning to trust. He has been compliant, but not trusting. Otherwise he wouldn't zone out. Don't halter him and always offer him the option to walk away. Do this for a week and let us know how it goes. It's ok to greet him 5 or 6 times over the course of the day. If you feel frustrated either don't enter the pasture or leave as he will sense it and want to move away from you. When a horse zones out he has mentally shut down. You could probably beat him and get no response. Mine would do it frequently so with greeting him many times over the day, the zoning out began to wane. First an entire day, then a week and then 3 mo. At this time there was one brief episode and that was the end of it. I still greet my horses daily just to keep the connection.
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