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ChocolateGal 04-25-2008 11:25 AM

Scared to be alone
Has anyone had a horse that just seems to be scared to be alone?

I own three Quarter horses, of varying ages, and the youngest (which is 6) seems to be afraid to be alone. He is difficult to ride away from the others - or won't cooperate.

Would separating in different pastures help or should he be moved out of site of the others and for how long?

Thanks for any suggestions.

farmpony84 04-25-2008 12:39 PM

He's not "scared". He's heard bound. Seperating them MAY help. I should not post a reply 'cus I don't know how to cure that.... sorry... I'm no help.

SonnyWimps 04-25-2008 02:41 PM

I sounds like he's herd bound not frightened. Seperating him from the other horses "should" help...but I've seen a couple horses where it did not help and infact made them worse.

What exactly is he doing?

Equina 04-26-2008 03:38 AM

I've thought the same thing about my horse before. If we ride in the indoor arena when all the horses are outside, he calls to them and sometimes acts up. Same thing goes for riding outside when all the horses are in their stalls. Also, whenever we get near any horse, he loves to stop, sniff noses and socialize until I pull him away.

Is your horse very social like this too?

Our turn-out arrangements were moved around a bit this summer, and for a couple weeks, my horse was alone in his pasture. He seemed so depressed! Then, after 1 day of being out with another horse, he perked back up to his usual happy self.

If your boy is super social, I don't think I'd recommend separating him.

Maybe try to work with him on seeing YOU as part of his herd. I did a lot of groundwork with my horse...taking him away from the other horses...taking him to where he can't see the other horses, etc. All the while, talking to him, treating him, having him succeed at simple tasks that I asked him to do, praising him. Now, he is perfectly calm and well-mannered when I walk him anywhere. Our next step (we're working on it) is to get him to behave alone while I'm mounted. I think it's harder for him because he can't see me. I talk to him a lot and reassure him that I'm still there with him.

Again, I don't think solitary confinement is the ticket. Build his confidence in you as part of his herd.

If you really need him to be able to be alone (w/o you riding/working with him), you could work with having him be alone for short amounts of time when he's occupied and happy...such as feeding time. Put him in his stall alone with his feed, then just when you start to feel him get nervous, bring in the other horses for feeding. Each day extend his alone time by a minute.

my2geldings 04-27-2008 02:16 AM

Herd Bound eh. Happens in a lot of horses. I had a horse who was like that and would try to throw me off if he realised we were leaving a herd of horses or even a barn buddy. He may not trust you.

In order to fix the problem he needs to understand you are one of his buddies. You need to spend a lot of time one on one with your horse, with no one else or other horses around. Take him out grazing one on one. Take him out on walks with halter and lead, one on one. Anything that you can think of you guys doing which could be enjoyable with no one around, do it.

He needs to realise that being with you is fun and ok. You need to build a good bond with him. Get him comfortable with you and build a bond.

Once you build a good bond, he will be more than happy to go out with you. He'll see you as one of his friends.

Bitless 04-27-2008 03:12 AM


should he be moved out of site of the others and for how long?
I seriously wouldnt reccommend that as that would further increase his seperation anxiouty. ( omg i cant spell, lol. )

Yea he dose sound heard bound. My TB gets like this. Keeping him in a seperate paddock may help, it does with my TB. But if you choose to keep him seperate do allow for a day or two were he gets to share it with another horse so he is still able to interact , such as grooming and play.

And totally agree with My2Geldings :D same advice i would reccomend.

Vidaloco 04-27-2008 06:49 AM

I'm with everyone else, I don't think seperating will solve the problem.
Do you ride with someone else or alone? One thing that has helped us is playing hide and seek with the horses. When out on the trail we seperate and "hide". Then try to find each other. I think they need to know that although they are leaving, they will be comeing back. LOTS of repetition of leaving and coming back should help. Even just walking him out of sight of the others then going right back over and over again. Make it fun when he is away from his buddys. Hope this helps :D

ChocolateGal 05-03-2008 09:50 AM

Thanks for all of the great advice and suggestions.

I have 3 horses that I alone work with and solely ride. From these testimonials I think I need to increase my time in the barn or move down to 2 horses. I would hate to part with any of them but keeping them all may not be in their best interest.

Thanks again.

PaintHorseMares 05-03-2008 11:42 PM

When you ride him, keep his mind busy..he would think so much about leaving his buddies. You can do circles or having him back up or such to get him focused. My experience has been that it us usually the first few minutes that are the hardest. We have 3 Paints and I typically ride solo, too, or pony one of the young ones along. Every one in a while, one will get that 'I would rather be back with my friends' attitude, but I've always been able to refocus their attention with a little patience. After that, they have always been fine.

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