Panicing getting out of control
Primo has always been an over-reactor, consequences of being abandoned in a field for 4 years. He had been getting better, but we have had a major set back and it's just spiraling out of control.
A few weeks ago there was a meeting at the barn but in another building. As I was finishing up grooming the barn people wandered in. He backed up, hit the end of the xties and panicked, broke loose and ran to the nearest grass (thank goodness for his rumbling tummy). Now he is panicking all the time. I can't xtie him... sick of fixing them and breaking halters. Instead of scary stuff he's afraid of anything in my hands near his face, halter, fly spray, brush, it doesn't matter. He flies to the back of his stall and shakes or tries to run out of his stall if it looks like there is room. It's getting dangerous. I had to twitch him for the farrier and am considering drugging him for the safety of my farrier in the future. With no warning he will just fly back.
I have been working him in the round pen trying to desensitize him all over again, but he is acting so outrageously scared that I'm afraid he'll get hurt if I push it.
He is boarded and I am truly concerned for the safety of others handling him. When his panic switch is flipped there is nothing stopping him, until he is free of whatever scared him and has found a grazing spot.
You might look into supplementing magnesium.
Magnesium for Horses | Natural Health for Equines
I have one that is still likes to live in the reactive side of his brain .. it's a PITA ... and can be dangerous.
It may be time for professional help.
I love CA, BUT if you get RFDtv, I would watch Dennis Reis. He is very calm around the horses that he retrains. It isn't just a show when he stops in between schooling. Letting the horse stop when he does right and rest next to you for 5-10 minutes at a time establishes trust. I think if you could copy HIM, your horse would improve.
Corporal- I love Reis.... I wish RFDtv showed more of him. I am following his methods, tweaked to what has worked in the past.
As for training... I think yes that will probably be what happens. Though it doesn't start to solve the issue because the darn horse broke a barn door and needed stitches last week. My bank account is stretched for a little while. I'm not sure if there are many "behavioral" issue trainers around. Any idea what I should be looking for?
He's been on Magnesium for a year now, which made a huge difference. Silly me thought we were done with this crap it had gotten that good.
Don't forget--if he invades your space and becomes dangerous to you, get physical and define the word, "NO!" THIS is what any horse herd leader does and it gives the other horse confidence in the leadership.
He will become calmer.
The fact that he stopped, dropped (his head), and grazed so quickly, suggests more of a disrespectful attitude than panic.
Is there anyone around that you can ask for an opinion? Someone who can observe the behaviors?
When horses behave like this then I get very, very cross with them. This does not mean that I beat them up but they sure as heck know that I am there and in command.
This horse seems to have life off pat. He frightens himself and everything stops. He gets loose and goes to graze.
If he pulled back in the cross ties then I would be very quick to get behind him and use anything to hand to drive him forward. (Knowing he would do this then I would have a yard broom to hand and use the bristles of that.)
You might love this horse but he sounds to much of a problem for you to handle and with many horses like this being to loving just does not work. He has to be shown that throwing a hissy fit gets him nowhere.
The stall behavior would make me wonder if someone is treating him badly in his stall. It could be that he acted scared and someone thought it would be funny, cute, whatever to keep scaring him. If he is that reactive, they would not even have to be IN his stall. But, I agree that when you are there, I don't care how scared he is, YOU run the show. Especially in small places like a stall.
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