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pastrychef 09-05-2012 12:41 PM

herd bound yearling
I wrote a thread before about this...but it has changed a little. Heres the old thread and my new question will be after the new description below.

; Me and my sister in law, both bought filly's. The person we bought them off of, said mine was a very sensitive filly, when she weaned her, she took it harder than she's ever seen. When she knew the 2 were coming together, she put them together and mine grabbed onto the other. Here lies the problem. They are kept at my place, can see each other in thier stalls. When I take mine out(sensitive one) she keeps looking towards the barn and whinnies but is okay. Now you leave her in the barn and take the bigger one out, mine LOSES her mind. Throws herself against the walls, whinnes, kicks, rears, and gets sooo worked up, that iam scared she's going to hurt herself, or take a heart attack. I've always had horses, but never had a foal. Never ever had this problem!.Everything is awesome except for this. This is my huge problem! I've had horse friends tell me different things...leave her in the stall, to freak out, when she calms, take her out, I had some tell me to tie her very very short to a post, a well anchored post...when she cannot hurt herself, and leave her until she calms. I've had someone suggest, just take away one of them for awhile, I've had someone else say get other animals for her to bond with.
What iam wondering is has anyone had this problem? Or tried any of these things? I've looked on the internet, and nothing really is what iam looking for, or need, specifically. I need help with this issue. Anybody have suggestions...or stories that they did with thier horses?

Here is the new situation:

So they are yearlings now. And it has got much better, although there is still quite a problem. I have another horse here now. So i thought If i can get my herd bound yearling (ayla) to bond with the new horse, have a start. they have been all out to0gether. all hanging out together. SO i decided to put ayla and mackenzie out and left Bella in, then i switched them hours later. there was hollaring between bella (outside) and ayla inside....but she had mackenzie with her so i figured...she wouldn't feel alone.(and 4 goats) it went well.
the next day i did the exact same thing.

Someone in the house said to me i just saw a horse walking by the window of the someone out?
I went out...Ayla had somehow knocked down(kicked down...etc) the 4-5 foot wide wall between her door and and the next door in one piece, it was just laying on the floor, screws all sticking up. She had thrown the garbage everywhere, ripped calenders off the walls, pictures, shovels, rakes, thrown everywhere, a broom in a empty stall and bent, and the part on the top that you use to hang it up, ripped off and thrown into mackenzies stall with her. blankets ripped off walls, halters and leads knocked off. She just seemed pissed. And all she was concerned about was where bella was outside.
She can see her in a door and a window (both closed but can be seen). I am just......iam unsure what to do.

If i removed her or bella from the property for a month or so, then brought her back.....would that work? weaning her away from her like as if it was her mom again?

As of right now, Bella is in the top pasture by herself and mackenzie and Ayla are in the lower pasture. no problems. Bella hollars every now and again and one of the 2 or both will come up so she can see them. and then after a bit they go back down out of sight.

anybody have had anything like this?

Foxhunter 09-05-2012 01:06 PM

First thing I think you are expecting a lot of a yearling to be happy on her own. Most are not. I would state that unless kept on their own all yearlings are herd bound.
Secondly you stall cannot be very secure for her to have been able to push it down.
Thirdly if all she had been interested in was to get to the other horses then she would not have spent time playing with things in the barn - that was pure curiosity not deliberate destruction!

I have reared young horses from birth, I never expect a yearling to stay on its own - even with other horses in sight. They run together or with other young horses and or the mares and foals.
If I do have to separate one for one reason or another then I will always have another horse around them. I have not yet ended up with a herd bound horse.

You have an insecure filly that needs to be assured and not shut away on its own even for a short period.

Oh, panels in a wood barn need to be bolted and not screwed.

pastrychef 09-05-2012 01:23 PM

she was in good view of the other horse in the barn at all times. there was only a alleyway between them. Thier heads are able to stick out of thier stalls.The other yearling outside doesn't mind being on her own, as of the moment they are all outside but 2 down below and 1 up top. everyone is out of sight. and no one is even bothering to hollar.

the stall was built very well. thats the puzzler.It would not have just taken a few bucks and kicks... It amazed even our trimmer that came yesterday. it was rebuilt even better still. And never just a panel....this is thick cut wood boards with stability and support. we have had horses for over 20 years,never had a baby of my own but had experience with them, we know what a sturdy stall has to be built like, that isn't my issue, that was to explain how upset she gets even with other horses with her.

I have her with another horse. So she is never on her own. Since the last time i posted, she never has been on her own. everytime they were seperated, there were other horses around. At a horse show, horses everywhere and julie took bella out for a walk. she didn't kick, but hollared and paced her stall.Iam trying to ease her into it. But easing still doesn't seem to be working. And ive known people that thought they will grow out of it, and they don't. So when julie takes Bella out for a ride in a couple years...i don't want Ayla taking a fit. If they get thier barn built in the next few years, Bella will be removed anyway, but iam trying to deal with it in a slow manner before bella is removed from property.

i know curiousity is majority of it, but shreading things like fly masks andalso when i went out there, she wasn't in her normal state of mind. i don't even think she knew i was there. all she was concerned about was Bella outside whom she could see. I know curiousity was mostly it, but pissed off was there too. you had to see her.

thanks for your posting.

Cherie 09-05-2012 01:45 PM

I think she is a neurotic mess and probably always will be. The hardest horse someone ever weaned would not have been my choice to buy. A sensible 'thinking' foal will translate into a sensible thinking adult horse. You can pick out the neurotic 'reactive' foals before they are ever weaned. But now, it is what it is.

I have had to keep up and train and condition literally hundreds of yearlings. When they are fitted for yearling sales and shows, halter futurities, etc. they are trained as much as any performance horse -- they just are not ridden. I've fitted TB race colts for the summer and fall yearling sales and fitted AQHA race, cutting and halter yearlings. Not all yearlings have the luxury of running out until they are put into saddle training. Show and race colts are frequently fitted from mid winter or spring on.

Personally, I like yearlings running out on big, rough pastures, but then I know they will not be suitable for sale as yearlings, especially at the big sales.

I would guess that this filly will always be reactive and will always be pretty neurotic and will always be very prone to be herd-bound. If she ties well, I would try to get her over the separation anxiety by tying her out in a safe place well away from the barn and other horses. It might take several hours for several days in a row, but that would help a lot. I would also be tempted to put her out this winter on a place that had no other horses at all.

Horses are all born with different dispositions and natural character traits, just like people. I would doubt that this one is going to be the quiet sensible kind, even later on.

Keep us posted and let us know how it works, whatever you try to do.

pastrychef 09-05-2012 04:03 PM


Thanks for your post also.

I love reading different peoples opinions and suggestions. iam open to them all.

And ya know thats what i think geez shes neurotic! But Training wise...beautiful. Not afraid of anything. Will try anything. Is a dream for me and multiple kids to be around, very quiet, you can handle her all over. You can take her out of the barn and go anywhere with her. Its when you take Bella out of the barn and out of her sight.

The lady i bought her from said she was easy going and a sensitive filly. It wasn't until i got her home (she came almost across country...6 days on a tractor trailer) and after she was well settled in....i found this alternative personality (lol) come out. And its only when bella is taken out of the barn out of sight without her, any other situation is usually fine. I wrote and asked the breeder, and she said she did take weaning from her mother hard. She was just 5 months old at the time. and grabbed onto Bella.her new mother i guess.

Anyway, ill keep you updated as time goes on. Shes enjoying being a yearling with her 2 friends now...but when Bella moves to her house about a mile down the road........

Would this be a sign of anything to do with this or is she just curious. The mare i just got, went into heat the other day, and Ayla was all over her, as she would stick close by, lick her fur, as in on her back and belly and then started sniffing her udder.......

anyway thanks cherie.

Saddlebag 09-05-2012 04:45 PM

In understanding herd dynamics, any horse that is on the outside of the security of the herd is deemed lunch for a predator, especially youngsters. So she is motivated by genuine fear. Just being able to see her mates isn't enough to allay her fears, she needs the social contact and to be in their midst for safety. One way to help her with this is to take her for a way away from the others but only until she begins to get upset, then take her back, then leave again. It's a yo-yo effect and what it's doing is creating high stress, then relief, over and over as you will be able to extend the distance. The next time you do this have a pan with some treats in it at the farthest point you made the first time. Give her a little incentive to want to leave the others.

PunksTank 09-05-2012 10:43 PM

Ok - I haven't dealt with many herd bound horses, most of mine are fairly good about it as the horses they're out with changes often enough to keep them guessing. But I recently just moved my mare and pony into a barn alone. They are face to face in their stalls all the time and Boom of course they became herd bound!

Now I had thought through a number of ways to fix it including the popular' tie them to a tree until they give up trying' this idea bothered me so I tried something a little more subtle.
I put my mare in her field, and brought the pony where she could see him and was happy. My pony is not overly herd bound but my mare is, my pony is also much easier to handle than my draft mare :P So if he freaked out I could handle him better. And I took him for a walk. I walked around the mare's paddock first just circling it. My mare watched us carefully the first time around, the second time around she seemed to stop caring what we were doing. So the third time around I went around her paddock and the house too, so we were out of her sight for about 2 minutes. When we got back she looked up and seemed surprised, like she didn't know we were gone. I repeated this until she stopped looking up. Then I gradually made me and the ponies walk longer and longer until I was out of my mare's sight for a good 20 minutes before returning. This the taught her that the pony was going to leave her sight, but he was always coming right back. Now I can take my pony out for hour hikes without any big ordeal.

I have a feeling your yearling is going to be far more extreme than this, but you can start with something like this, just circling her paddock with her friend until she looses interest then going away for just a minute then coming right back and continuing the circling, gradually increasing your time away. If she gets too worked up call it a day and practice more tomorrow.

Yours is a yearling and clearly had a hard time weaning so she'll definitely be difficult. She may be the type who will never tolerate being along, but you can work on making her more comfortable with 1 less friend at a time. Switch up which other horse you take away and circle her paddock with until she doesn't mind them leaving.

This is my best thought I really hope it helps! Good luck

pastrychef 09-06-2012 07:44 PM

Thanks, i will definately try that and ease her that way, see what happens.
thank you

PunksTank 09-06-2012 08:32 PM

Just thought I'd let you know this:

I was away for the weekend with a family emergency and my horses were forced to stay locked up inside and only let out for the 20-30 minutes I was there to clean their stalls. Someone else fed them. So they spent 5 days face to face with only each other for company. So naturally my mare who had just gotten over being herd bound started acting up again.

So I let her go out into her paddock where she is comfortable and can see the pony, then I took the pony for a walk - just like I did last time. This time she worked herself into a serious lather during our first walk, galloping around her field screaming and hollering. But instead of stopping like I usually would have I decided to just keep walking, making that big circle, over and over by the 5th circle me and the pony did my mare didn't even pick her head up from her food. She got the point that he was going to go but he was always going to come back. My 6th time around my fiance stopped me to talk somewhere she couldn't see us. I spent a good 20 minutes out of her sight and when we came back she had barely moved a foot.

I strongly stand by this method it has worked twice now for me - I mentioned it to a woman I work with and she tried a similar method with her mare (she walked her mare around the property instead of walking the mare's friend) the mare quickly realized that even though she was leaving she was always going back. If she rushed back toward the barn when they got close she would turn her and start walking away until she was calm again then turned back, repeating until she could walk the loop calmly.

Good luck with your filly <3

PunksTank 09-08-2012 05:48 PM

Have you had a chance to try anything? how's it going?

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