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Dream 05-11-2011 11:15 PM

How to train a horse to relax in a stall/tied?
Since our new boarding stable doesn't have a shelter/lean-to for the pastured horses, my horse is going to have a stall where I can put her in inclement weather and where she will spend her nights. During the day she will be turned out in a large 20 acre pasture.

She's still getting acclimated to the new stable, and has not been allowed in the pasture yet--just an oblong pen. She's such a nervous horse that she's paced along the pen's fenceline until she wore a path/packed the dirt down, and in the process (since Sunday) lost quite a bit of weight. She's simply exercising it all off! Her weight was fine when we brought here here. I'm starting her on Nutrena SafeChoice twice a day, and she also gets a flake of hay in the evening, and will be able to eat all the grass in the turnout pasture that she wants. She also gets Source Focus HF.

She has been stalled before, and didn't like it (but it was a very open stall on the end of the row, near all the action, and it was only 8' X 8')--she paced enough in there to lose a TON of weight and wore her hooves down to the whites.

Now, with her going back into a stall, how can I get her to calm down and chill out a little? The stall itself is in a much quieter area than the previous stable's we were at, and it's much bigger and much more solid (made of solid wood instead of just open horse panels). I'm also planning on putting some toys and other things that could occupy her time instead of being upset about being in a stall. What else could I do to help her?

And how might I go about trying to teach her some patience? I've tried tying her up and leaving her for awhile....I've done it for hours and I can't get her to give in and just stand nicely/relax. She paws really bad and will dig a nice sized hole. Her breeding has a lot of stubbornness in it, so for those of you that have worked with super stubborn horses, what have you done to get through to them/learn patience?

I'm more stubborn than she is, and we've worked through all of her other problems that we had, but I can't get past this lack of patience. She's a Paso Fino, so she's naturally pretty hot, but since I've had her since the day she was born, we've got a pretty trusting relationship and I trust her a lot. However, I'd really like to get her past this last hurdle if possible and get her comfortable being in a stall without having to pile on the feed! Thanks!

horseloverd2 05-12-2011 05:24 AM

Is she near other horses when she's stalled? If there is a horse near her she might calm down.

Some people may recommend hobbles and you may want to consider it. I've never had experience with them so I can't really say one way or another.

mbender 05-12-2011 06:47 AM

I wouldn't hobble her in the stall. But I do agree with horselover on possibly having a horse near her while she is stalled. There isn't much you can do to calm her. Instincts tell her to be with the other horses. She's not feeling safe by herself. Natural reaction. And she was bound to loose weight as she is nervous and stressed with being in a new place. She hopefully will calm down once she is on a routine. Maybe throw two flakes at night. Will keep her busy and calm. Good luck.
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iridehorses 05-12-2011 07:27 AM

Is there a reason to keep her in the stall at all? My horses have free access to a common area in my barn where they are fed; other then that they are out 24/7. Weather doesn't bother them the way it bothers people.

When I was up in PA, it was common to see them with a foot of snow on their backs rather then be inside. Down here, they will be out in a thunder storm and come in for breakfast soaked rather then stay dry in the barn.

My point is that some horses do well in a stall and some never get used to it. It's not something you can train them for. Another horse that she can see may help but it may not.

BTW, hobbling them all night in a stall when they are paniced is not a good idea.

gypsygirl 05-12-2011 08:14 AM

iridehorses, i have found the same thing with my guys. i live in wisconsin and my horses live out. i have only found them in the shelter once in the last couple years. when they lived in north dakota they didnt even have a shelter or blankets and they were fine. if i try to stall them during bad weather they are fine with it, but they always want to go back out even though its horrible outside.

candandy49 05-12-2011 08:42 AM

Horses really are happier and more healthy both physically and mentally living outdoors 24/7 in good weather and inclement weather. What you might think about when your horse is stalled is to keep hay availabe to her the entire time she is stalled. Her behavior is indicative of being insecure and worried. Hopefully she can be turned out in the pasture soon.

Sunny 05-12-2011 09:01 AM

My aunt took a video two weeks ago when an F5 tornado ripped through our city. The video shows the horses at the very top of the pasture(furthest away from the lean-to) facing the raging thunder storm, practically asleep.

My point is, horses don't look at weather the same way we do. They are made to survive it. Our horses only get under the lean-to when they want shade. They almost always stay out in the bad weather.

It sounds like your horse would be much more comfortable pastured, so I would reconsider your boarding plan.
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Dream 05-12-2011 09:50 AM

Ok thanks guys. I will think about it. :) It would be just so much easier for shows if I could have her in a stall, but I will think about her best interests. Also, yes she's always been stalled next to other horses. Thanks!

Sunny 05-12-2011 11:13 AM

I don't know about your barn, but at my barn there is something called "stay-clean" where you pay $10 to stall your horse overnight before shows to keep it clean. You could check in to that.
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morabhobbyhorse 05-12-2011 11:32 AM

When I first got Sienna she was stalled and she chewed the wood. So I went to 'rough' board and she quit that. I moved her with her trainer who went to another barn, and she brought her in at night with the other horses and Sienna was fine, although she'd really rather be out. Pawing? You find something for that and I'll try it. I've tried the same thing, tied up (well not for hours) I made her an anklet of beads that tied on and that worked for a while. But She is just really a jealous attention seeker. She seldom paws when I'm next to her but as soon as I walk away she starts, even if she can see me. I decided to live with it since it bothers other people a lot more than it does me, kind of how you get used to traffic sounds at night after a while. She's a really high energy horse, and doesn't do it to the detriment of her feet, etc. I know they used to put old horse shoes around their ankles for that but I won't do that.

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