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FreeNFoxy 04-13-2012 02:45 PM

Horse Panics Alone in Field

I have a Thoroughbred mare that panics when she can't see the other horses. Leaving the other horses out is not an option as the grass is rich and they are already putting on a lot of weight... She desperately needs to be out on grass as much as possible because she needs to gain some weight. She won't eat more hay throughout the day. Upping her grain is not an option.

She isn't out more than a few hours. When we bring the other horses in she is ok for maybe ten or fifteen minutes but once she realizes they are actually gone she goes into a panic and runs the field.

My question. Can I leave her out in the field in hopes that she will relax on her own? I don't want to set her up to injure herself, but she really needs to be out longer. She doesn't try to run through the fence or jump it or anything... just runs and runs. Her pasture isn't far from the barn.

Corporal 04-13-2012 03:24 PM

She is feeding her fear--pardon the pun. Does she tie? or, is she an OTTB that never learned?
Are you sure that she'll hurt herself? Has she tried to jump any fences?
You know they only hold OTTB's, the trainers never teach racehorses to be tied for ANYTHING. **grumbling**
You'll need to wean her off of them. If she is that panicked you'll have to do it gradually, but start ASAP! You'll want to devote 2012 to desensitizing her fear of being alone. If you can't do it any other way, start with short sessions and gradually lengthen them.
There are 2 behaviors that you will never change in your horse:
1) Desire to be with the herd
2) Desire to run back to the barn.
You CAN teach your horse to respect you as leader and allow you to work with him/her solo. It has to be practiced.
"Corporal" could always be ridden solo...anywhere. My commander used to LOVE to send me on errands right before a battle bc Corporal (Arab, 1982-2009, RIP) and I would get it done quickly. I remember one location where the public was always walking down the one dirt road in and out of the historic village, right before a battle and my horse and I had to join the throng. We would be walking behind, in front of, and to the side of the public. Every once in awhile Corporal would call to his herdmates and scare the beejesus out of the people in front of us who didn't know a horse was behind them. But he did just what I asked. Arabs are as hot as TB's, but your horse is worthless if he refuses to be worked alone. You might invest some $ in CA's basic ground training videos, too.

natisha 04-13-2012 03:29 PM

I'd put a grazing muzzle on another horse & give her company. She'll never gain weight running it off & she's a prime candidate for ulcers too.
Nature tells her it's unsafe to be alone. Some horse never adjust being alone.

94broncoxlt 04-14-2012 01:08 AM

Get a goat! They have been companions for TB's for like centuries! Virtually no maintenance, will gobble up your weeds, and are fun to watch. They have a few drawbacks, but if you get a good wether I think you will find it is a worthwhile buy for you and your horse.

PaintHorseMares 04-14-2012 06:14 AM


Originally Posted by Corporal (Post 1453465)
There are 2 behaviors that you will never change in your horse:
1) Desire to be with the herd
2) Desire to run back to the barn.
You CAN teach your horse to respect you as leader and allow you to work with him/her solo. It has to be practiced.

Yes...with all the talk about leadership and respect, something people always seem to forget (or ignore)....

oceanne 04-14-2012 09:56 AM

You can try tying in a stall or cross ties,since many racehorses are hooked up to the wall when grooms tack and groom them.You just have to see if your horse was one of them who learned to tie.As far as a pasture buddy,is it an option you can leave one of the other horses out there with her while she has her pasture time?

FreeNFoxy 04-16-2012 03:35 PM

She stands and ties/cross ties without an issue. She is generally a well behaved horse other than a few fear issues. Unfortunately, I can not get any type of companion animal as it is not my barn. At our previous barn she was out 24/7 and at the very least could see other horses in nearby pastures. When a grooming muzzle is used, the muzzled horse runs and is generally unhappy.

She gets as much hay as she will eat when she is inside, and enough grain. Her weight is acceptable, but the grass would certainly help.

I have tried leaving her out and usually she is alright for about fifteen minutes and then she realizes that she can't see the other horses.. sometimes she just walks a little, eats, walks... and sometimes she canters. I always bring her in if she starts running.

The other horses are not mine and they are all very easy keepers and can't be out on grass any more than they already are.

We can hack out alone and she is generally fine other than a little bit of nervousness.

I don't want to change her desire to be with horses. That is her nature and I would prefer she could be with other horses, but it's unfortunately not an option during the extended grazing.

I've come to the conclusion that for now... I will just hand graze her every day.

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