Super stressed out new pony? - The Horse Forum
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  • 3 Post By jaydee
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-27-2017, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question Super stressed out new pony?

I am super lucky and got my first horse last Tuesday, her name is Sydney and she's a grey mare, 14.2, 7 years old.

She's cute as, really friendly and on the whole pretty respectful. When I was trying her before we bought her home she had no problems, calm, sensible, but when I tie her up at home, she might be sort of okay one minute and then stick her head in the air, ears *****ed, eyes wide, she'll stand like that for ages and then try and walk off. The rest of the time she won't stand still, she'll wander, pull back on her lead, swing her butt in your face. She does the head-in-the-air thing when you're leading her as well and its like nothing else exists in the world, she'll start walking off in the direction she's looking and it takes a lot of effort to hold her back.

The only reason I can think of why she might do this is stress, its a new place with no other horses for company but it can be really dangerous, especially when she walks off when you're working around her feet or leading her anywhere. Can anyone think of any other reasons why she might do this? She's going to have another friend on Friday, so if it is stress is there anything I can do in the meantime to calm her down? I can't do a lot with her without back up because of this so any help would be super!
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-27-2017, 03:57 PM
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There are a couple of things
1. She might have been sedated when you went to try her, always a good idea to get a blood test done as part of your PPE
2. She's never been on her own before and she's suddenly being asked to cope with a new home and a new human without the security blanket of other calm horses around her and its all too much for her. Her primitive instincts are working on over drive
If you have horses local to you that are close enough for her to catch scent of them that could be what's hyping her up
Are you noticing that she's happier in or out of the stable?
Depending on how stressed she is and how difficult she is you could ask your vet for something to take the edge of her until the companion arrives but the over the counter calming supplements on the market really won't help her much short term as they take a while to start to kick in and by then she will hopefully not need them anyway.
If you really want to try something like that then those containing Valerian Root are about the fastest acting and most effective as an actual sedative

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-27-2017, 04:08 PM
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You don't need to do a lot with her, do you? it sounds like you are not used to dealing with a horse that is upset and acting out. you have to have the firmness and strength of leadership to get her focussing on YOU and not on something out there. I think your best bet is to just keep her safe and wait for the other horse to come. you can hang around her, and maybe bring your dog, or if you had a goat, to BE near her as much as possible, but don't try to 'do' things with her.
I say this both for your safety and that working with a horse that is emotionally 'gone', when you aren't an experience horse handler, will only reinforce a bad relationship between the two of you.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-27-2017, 06:12 PM
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Horses are completely different when you bring them home versus when you test ride them. It took my guy two months to settle in at the new place and stop being a spazz, and even then he never got back to the point where he was when I tried him out (which is 100% fine by me, I knew from the get go that he was going to have a lot more pep as he got stronger and more capable). I think it's important to have a good balance of patience and clear boundaries. I know for my guy I usually gave him a few extra seconds to get a good look at things when he seemed nervous, but then I still expected him to stop sticking his head up in the air and get back to work/pay attention to me and what I was doing.

I do think you should wait to do anything with her until there are some other horses around, though.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-02-2017, 07:26 PM
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I just brought a filly up from TN...she was a handful. Took her about a 2 weeks to fully settle in and a firm hand from me about whats acceptable. In no way is she allowed to be unsafe around me. That also means being strong and firm about it. There are other horses on the farm here too, so I can imagine your mare is stressed if she isn't used to being alone.

Sounds like she's in a new place, alone and looking for someone to take leadership and control to make her feel more comfortable. If you aren't confident in doing that at this point, make sure she has hay and lots of water and in a safe pen ...then give her some time to adjust until her new friend arrives on Friday, and give them both some time to adjust after that. Then try again.

Congrats on your purchase!
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-03-2017, 04:12 AM
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Honestly, she doesn't sound too horrible. How much experience do you actually have, FWIW? The thing is, you have to be calm

If you feel her start to tense up, get her attention on you!!! You don't have to beat her up, but when tied and she starts getting nervy, poke her in the side with a hoofpick. That generally gets their attention back pretty quick. I'll also push them off balance some to make them catch themselves, that usually breaks up the worrying.

When your leading her and you feel her start to tense, immediately start changing directions and keep her feet moving where you want them to. The last thing you want to do is lean on them with constant "singular" pressure (as in, standing in front and pulling), that's how you get horse to flip. Keep your leading dynamic the moment she gets stressed, and release when she listens to you. Praise relaxation.

“Thoroughbreds are the best. They’re lighter, quicker and more
intelligent. The best of any breed is the Thoroughbred horse, the best
of that breed is better than any other breed." - George Morris
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