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VACountryGirl 07-05-2009 08:05 PM

Separation Anxiety - HELP!
Hi everyone. This is a bit long, so thanks in advance for reading all of it!

I finally got my horses to my house after over a year of working on a barn and pasture for them. When I brought them out of the pasture at the barn where I boarded them on Tuesday, my horse scared the absolute crap out of me. I have never been scared of my horse ever. He would NOT listen. He was trying to run ahead, was bumping into me, neighing, and even rearing! I was so scared that I let him go. After I composed myself, I went back and got him. My mom had her horse already and so I yelled for her to wait for me. Tanner walked just fine all the way to the barn! So fast forward to yesterday and today. I have my horse in his stall and my mom has her horse in his stall right next to Tanner's. Tanner can see Flashy through the bars. Well, my mom let Flashy go and Tanner went crazy!! He started pulling on the bungey that he was attached to and acting like a nervous wreck. He neighed and Flashy came over, as to reassure him. Now Tanner has NEVER acted like this in the 12 years I have owned him. He obviously has some serious separation anxiety from Flashy. Flashy is the dominant one and Tanner follows Flashy all over the field. When we boarded them, they never acted like this until I put him in the pasture at that barn 8 months prior. Since then, I hadn't really gone to work with him because of working on the barn here for them. I went and visited, but never took him away from the herd. What would cause this separation anxiety? And my biggest question is how can I help him get over it? I'm sort of afraid to ride him if he's going to rear and carry on just from being away from Flashy. It's so crazy!! I've even sort of afraid to even walk him away from Flashy since he almost trampled me last week. :( I feel like such a loser because I'm a tad afraid of my horse. I've worked with horses since I was 9, so I just feel like a failure that this has happened. When Flashy is in the stall next to him, I can groom him and do whatever with no problems. But the second he leaves, he flips out. :cry: Any advice y'all can give would be great. Thanks in advance.

White Foot 07-05-2009 09:53 PM

He sounds like a normal horse and he's going to be nervous. Be careful when your handling him until he settles down. Don't worry he eventually will. I wouldn't ride him until he has had a couple of weeks to cool down and get use to his surroundings.

steph 07-05-2009 11:29 PM

I would definitely give him a chance to get used to his new surroundings. Horses are herd animals, and now that he's in a new place, he's relying on his leader, who has been with him for the past 8 months. Once he gets used to his place, slowly try to reestablish the fact that you are the leader and he should be relying on you. But if he's still acting this way in a few weeks, I would ask the help of a reputable trainer and go back to basics.

VACountryGirl 07-06-2009 09:22 AM

OK, thank you for the advice. I will give him a little while to get used to his surroundings. Has anyone else had their horse do this? Is it normal for them to be that upset about being by themselves? I have just never seen that from my horse before EVER. It just struck me as weird. But I am a little rusty to horses now, so obviously I need to learn all over again.

White Foot 07-06-2009 09:50 AM

Yes and yes. Unless the horse is use to being trailerd to a new place everyday then most horses are like that.

luvs2ride1979 07-06-2009 11:01 AM

He's turned in to a seriously "herd bound" horse. Give him a little more time to settle in, then I would start separating them for certain periods during the day. Keep Flash up in the barn for a few hours, then let him back out. As he gets better about his "away time", start taking him off property, but only hand-walk him at first. Use a stud chain if you need to. Keep this up daily (or as often as possible) until he's no longer so worried about being separated.

Both of my horses are joined at the hip. This is what worked for them. They will still act nervous when first separated for a bit, but then calm down once they're out of ear shot form each other.

HorsesHorses08 07-07-2009 09:54 PM

my horse went through the same thing. just let him be. hell figure out soon enough that he WILL survive!

aynelson 07-08-2009 01:12 AM

You are certainly not at loser - don't think that! We have all been there, I commend you for admitting your fear! I think you got great advice - I would add an idea about Join-up. I am a huge proponent to that training technique. Monty Roberts has a great website that goes into it. I worked with a heard bound mare and I think Join Up helped. Establish your alpha and then be alpha. Also, having a halter he will listen to is great. I love the dually halter from MR. I used it with my 3 year old for about a year and now he is very respectful to the halter. He stops when I say so. Good luck - and be safe!

VACountryGirl 07-10-2009 10:57 AM

Thank you so much for the advice everyone! I will look into the Join-Up method (I've never heard of it until now) and I'll look into getting a stud chain "just in case." I'll also look into a dually halter. I feel sort of new to all of this again because I haven't been around them in awhile. Thanks for being understanding too, this is a great board. You guys have definitely helped me feel better about the situation. Whew!

goldilockz 07-10-2009 11:02 AM

I completely understand how you're feeling. Arizona was perfectly fine being alone until we got Dixie, now he flips out if he can't see her. We're working on that as well.

For Dixie's slight anxiety, we work work work her where she can see AZ, and she gets to rest in a spot where she can't see him, so she associates being away from AZ with rest and treats. We'll do the same for AZ when the time comes.

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