I moved my horse to a new stable near Glasgow from Edinburgh in June and she continues to have difficulty settling. When turned out, she paces incessantly back and forth along the fenceline. Otherwise she is quiet in the stable and continues to be no problem to handle and ride. This anxiety-related behaviour pretty much only manifests itself when she is in the field. I am aware that it is "searching" behaviour but unfortunately things are complicated by the fact that she has always had issues relating with other horses. Hence she has spent most of her life turned out by herself. In some cases she can be turned out with another horse if it's one or two she gets on with, but this is not an option at her current barn, as everything else there is an expensive livery and understandably they don't want to risk turning one out with her and her (selective) horse-aggression issues.
I have had this horse for ten years and have seen this behaviour before when moved to a new barn ( but not all new barns). At several stables we were able to find a field or paddock she liked and at another one, they had a pony she got on with and the owners of the yard were cool with putting the pony in a field with her. In other barns she never manifested this behaviour at all. Weird. In any case, we've tried her in nearly every field at this barn to no avail and as I said, there isn't a horse on the yard that the owner is willing to risk as her turnout buddy.
The vet is coming out to see her and give her a blood test later today. The yard owner is convinced it is a physical problem which is making the horse anxious, but I'm sceptical that this blood test or whatever tests the vet may do will show anything. I think it's a psychological issue. If I'm right (if I'm wrong, life is easier because then we can medically treat it) I am at a loss for what to do. Was wondering if anyone on this forum had any suggestions or thoughts.
Welcome to the forum!
Interesting dilemma. Not knowing the distance between the stables, why did you change if she was doing reasonably well at the other one? Aside from that, can she at least see other horses in her paddock? Is the anxiety from total seperation or from not being near a buddy that she likes?
In the states, there is a product called "B Kalm" which is a paste and used for the obvious reasons. Perhaps that may be an alternative to her pacing even if it is used until she settles in - sort of like a dose of Prozac for horses (LOL).
Here are some links to different products:
Horse - Daily Calm - Springtime, Inc.
Products to Calm Horses / Equine - Shanes Tack
Cheers for the reply. I've thought about horsey Prozac.
She can see other horses and we have had her adjacent to other horses. This has kept her happy in the past but doesn't seem to be appealing to her now. That said, she doesn't have good fenceline relationships with all horses but usually we have found her someone she can get on with across a fence. Currently she is at a very small yard -- only seven or eight horses -- and she hasn't made friends with anyone there.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are about fifty miles apart. I moved her because I moved from one city to the other.
edit: Sorry... I shift between British and American horsey slang as I am originally from the States but have been living in the UK for three years. Livery yard = horse boarding stable.
Off topic a little but how did you like Edinburgh? Son #2 is going there next month to do his graduate work.
Edinburgh is a lovely city. I spent two years there before moving across the country to Glasgow. It is a brilliant place for students -- loads of bars, cafes, music venues, several fantastic parks. Your son will really enjoy it. That said, Edinburgh University could be a pain to deal with but that's true of universities (and other large bureaucratic organizations) everywhere.
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