Separation Anxiety! - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-24-2015, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Near Grantham, Lincs
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Separation Anxiety!

Hi everyone. I've just joined and I think it's going to be a bit of a lifeline for me.

Sorry long post to begin with....

I'm back into horses after over 20 years. I'm 48 and used to ride regularly up until I was early 20s. However, I never had any proper riding lessons; the ponies I rode were always someone else's and I never really got trained in horse management.

I've got some lovely horsey friends, but (hate to say it) I do find there's so much snobbery with horse ownership and so many differing opinions and even nastiness from people you thought would be a help. I hate the yard mentality - it's shocked me really! Does it matter what we do with our horses as long as we and they are happy? So I thought I'd post my first problem on here hoping I'd get some unbiased support!

I've got two - Rupert an unbroken 4 year old 13hh Appaloosa/Welsh C and Ruby a 14.2hh 10 year old New Forest/Warmblood. I bought Rupert first in March 2014 - he was living in the paddock at the back of our old house, I got to know him and couldn't face life not seeing him again if he was sold! He's a darling and loves to learn. I'm learning to back him now and he's doing fabulous at lunging (unlike his mummy!!).

Then I got Ruby to ride last August. She's also a darling and although 'season week' is a bit fraught, she's a well trained pony and will teach me loads. I'm having a few lessons which I'm finding hard going, but coping fine! My instructor loves Ruby and said she's perfect for me.

However, I've just got my own paddock/stables on a yard with another experienced lady (5 acres in total). It's lovely to be off a busy yard and it's the first time I've managed a paddock and I'm really enjoying it. Now here's the problem which I'm sure you have all experienced - I want to ride Ruby out with the other lady and her horse, which means sometimes leaving Rupert alone, until he can come with us when he's backed. There is only my two and hers at the yard.

Both R&R live together in the same paddock. The lady I'm with believes horses should live on their own. I don't. I like to see natural behaviour rather than them standing on their own looking forlorn and sad. I'm working on being 'top mare' and when I'm in the paddock, both behave well.

However Rupert does go a bit mad when I remove Ruby from the paddock for lessons. It's stopping me going out with the lady from the yard as Rupert would be completely alone. If I have someone else there, he seems calmer as they wait with him whilst I go out. It's not ideal though.

I realise it's a fine line between watching them be horses and enjoy their time together in the paddock grooming each other and living a lovely fun life, against having the separation issues, but to be honest if they were in separate strip grazing, I know one (Rupert especially) would panic if the other was removed.

Please can anyone offer me some advice? I have thought about a couple of sheep or goats to keep company?

Thanks ever so much and sorry for appearing a bit novice.
Wendy
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-24-2015, 01:51 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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The more you separate them, the easier it'll get for Rupert, especially when he learns his buddy will always come back. It's easy to go all soft for our babies in the paddock, but remember, you are the boss. Rupert doesn't get to decide how many animals you keep in the paddock!

But, if you really want another animal in there, a donkey could be a good choice, but don't ever leave that donkey alone. They get buddy sour too and they can be really loud, which tends to annoy neighbors. The donkey I know is very good at escaping too. But you can let him follow on hacks without a lead or halter and he stays close by.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-24-2015, 02:50 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
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A lot of horses don't like being on their own but some will get used to it if you keep forcing the issue.
As long as he doesn't try to jump out or crash through the fence I'd be inclined to let him get on with his tantrum but if he refuses to stay in the paddock other than see if he'll settle better shut in a stable (something a friend of mine has to do when she takes her gelding out and leaves the mare on her own) you might need to look for a small loan pony to keep him company - no shortage of those in the rescue centres.
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