Young TW gelding
I started handling a 4 year old gelding. He's constantly with his mother. He had been taken to a trainer for 2 months and expressed a lot of separation anxiety for most of that time. The owner hasn't been able to work with him due to a broken foot from a car accident so he has gotten very pasture sour. It takes a lot of time just coaxing him to get out of the pasture without momma and whenever he's away from her, he is constantly trying to find her. He gets quite agitated and uncooperative. I'm lucky to get passed basic groundwork with him right now. Owner doesn't want treats to be used so that is out. What would you recommend? The owner is a beginner
Wait, the 4yo horse has never been weaned?!
I witnessed a situation like this once before with a 9 to mare. Basically one day they sold the mare and trailered her away from mom. Mom was very stressed and then depressed until we found her another companion. younger mare was the same way- calling, running around, it took her about a week to calm down and settle into her new herd.
If possible, I would put them in separate pastures because until you have them constantly separated it will be next to impossible to train him out of this. It's his mother, it's a natural thing for him to want to be right with her all the time.
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You need to make his feet move. When you get him take a lead that's at least 12' long or a lunge line and whip. As soon as his feet get sticky, make him work doing circles and multiple changes of direction. Then ask him to walk with you again. He will soon learn that sticky feet or hollering for momma results in hard work.
Two things you can try one work him and lunge him right in the pasture where he wants to be, when he needs air walk him away to rest, and do desensitizing. If he does not want to leave put his feet back to work. Even if you only get him a little ways each day keep going farther until it is his idea to leave. Pasture and mamma=hard work. Outside of pasture=rest. Second option take them both out, tie the mare up near where your working and use the same approach. Work him hard near the mare and let him rest away from her.
How is the mare when he leaves? Does act silly and whinny for him or is she quiet? She is his herd leader and he relies on her for safety. You need to show him that you are a worthy herd leader and will keep him safe, by showing him you can move his feet near her and control his direction you will gain his respect as herd leader and once you do that he will follow you.
If separating in two separate pastures where they can see each other is an option that would help, but if not you have to work with what you have.
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