Stall issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-22-2015, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Stall issues

My horse works himself into a sweat and panics when put in stall. What should I do to break this behavior ?
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-22-2015, 09:08 PM
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Ignore him, make sure has hay and then don't feed into it any by talking to him, "soothing" him, or even reacting. And walk off. I have never seen but one that would try to climb out of stall, and he was just hardheaded.

What is the set up like? Closed completely, other horses in barn, how big are stalls, what type of doors and are you needing him up for ????

A lot of this is caused by owner bringing it on. Is he on any type of feed that is making him hotter, or?
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-22-2015, 10:37 PM
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must horse live in a stall? really? stalls are necessary in urban environements, or places that need shelter from REALLY bad weatehr. but, we have horses living out who NEVER go into stalls. they are fat, happy and sassy, and so much happier than the average stall horse.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-22-2015, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
must horse live in a stall? really? stalls are necessary in urban environements, or places that need shelter from REALLY bad weatehr. but, we have horses living out who NEVER go into stalls. they are fat, happy and sassy, and so much happier than the average stall horse.
The weather has to be really bad, for most breeds of horse. Remember they are creatures of the Eurasian steppe, at base: endless grass, endless views, searching wind, heat, blistering cold . . . we don't give them enough credit.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 05:43 AM
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Lots of good hay, plenty of clean water, preferably at least one other horse nearby-either in an stall he can see or tied close by.

Then walk away and leave him for a while. He cannot stay in a state of panic forever and needs to learn that a stall is a place of safety and food.

A lot of us have situations where we have no choice and our horses live in stalls. Even the new ones in the barn quickly learn that it's fine (but then again, they can see many other horses around them that are calm and happy and they learn from that).
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 06:22 AM
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Don't feed him outside, only feed him inside. Make being in a positive experience. If he doesn't eat while he's in his stall, oh well, put him back out. Bet he won't miss more then 1 meal!
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 06:48 AM
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There is a reason why your horse gets upset when put into a stall. As some have suggested, you can ignore the behavior and it will eventually improve. However, ulcers are very expensive to treat so I personally try to avoid them. A horse that goes off his feed and stresses for a day or two can easily develop ulcers. Also, if you do go that route, make sure the horse is being safe in the stall. I've seen horses fall and injure themselves in stalls as well as cut legs open on water buckets.

So...what is the reason? Does the horse never go into a stall and this is a new experience? Have you switched stalls around? Is the stall too small and claustrophobic? Can the horse see other horses? Is it related to separation anxiety?

To avoid illness and injury, I try to make it easier for the horse to adapt. If it is related to separation anxiety, bring the horse's friend and put him outside the stall until the horse is calm, then gradually bring the friend horse farther distances away. Sometimes if stalls have been switched around, you can find a stall the horse likes better...perhaps closer to a horse he is comfortable with.

Most horses that sweat and panic when put into a stall are just not used to being in a stall. Are you only putting the horse in a stall for vet care? If so, you need to adjust the horse to walking in and out of a stall before the vet is necessary. When he is comfortable standing in the stall with the door open, close the door for just a little while then let the horse back out. Bring a buddy horse along to help him stay calm. Sometimes if your horse only needs to use a stall for vet care, all you need to do is tie another horse outside while the horse is being treated.

Anxiety and fear are not really behaviors. They can cause behaviors. You might have anxiety and fear on an airplane, and it might make you flail around and jump out of your seat. Restraining you will not help your anxiety or fear. If you can't be safely restrained, you may harm yourself or others. It may also harm your health to have a very high blood pressure or heart rate. Horses also may come to harm from anxiety and fear. In my opinion it is better to treat the anxiety and fear rather than hope the horse won't get too stressed and colic, get ulcers, or injure himself.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 08:31 AM
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What you see as a safe containment area, the horse sees as a trap. Because of it's marvelous hearing and sense of smell, it's always concerned about predators. Horses are designed to run from a predator and being in a stall goes against his deeply ingrained desire to flee. This is one horse that would benefit from being turned out 24/7 with a bit of shelter from the wind. Many horses accept stall life but not all. And as mentioned, it's costly treating ulcers.

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post #9 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 08:54 AM
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I don't feel that stalling a horse is as "unnatural" as some would think, and no more unnatural than being ridden is. Horses in the wild will seek shelter from the sun, wind, and rain and a stall can provide that for a domestic horse. The horses at the barn I manage all enjoy their stalls for a portion of the day. They feel secure and the night check will find more of them lying down than you would ever see outside. We currently have thirteen horses in six pastures and they still function as a herd knowing what is going on in the different pastures and that the herd is all in the barn. The OP's horse may simply never had been stalled and may also be thinking "why am I in when everyone else is out". I would work on it gradually and feed him in the stall and if possible bring in a buddy to be with him.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-23-2015, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Spartan52004 View Post
My horse works himself into a sweat and panics when put in stall. What should I do to break this behavior ?
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How is he in a trailer?
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