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I have a sixteen year old TWH gelding (well soon to be 16.) He has always been on his best behavior and has never had a problem with bein cross tied in the barn, that is until now. We've moved out of state and the barn I have now is not nearly as spacious as the one I use to bored him at. I noticed he began to act out in the cross ties and thought it was part of him trying to adjust, that is until it wouldn't stop. I thought it may have been out of boredom but now I'm not too sure. He's pawing and swaying, his eyes are constantly bugged out. He "dances" around and has to watch my every move. Yet when we are out he's my sweet steady MAnMAn. I've noticed my narrow barn is also dark and a bit dreary, do you think it may be the fact he's not comfortable in the darkness of my tiny barn?
 

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It might be from the enclosed area of the barn. Also, does he have any buddies at this barn that are far away from him when he's being cross-tied? If he's not close to his friends, then that might make him unhappy and antsy (my horses do it ALL the time!). You also might want to give him treats and groom him a lot when he's cross-tied, that way it will be a happy experience instead just an OK one.

Hope I helped!:)
JumpersRule
 

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How long have you been at the new barn? He could still be nervous about his new surroundings, and the shadows and dark spaces might not be helping. He also might have a vision problems if he's uncomfortable in dark but hes perfect while he's out in the open space.
 

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Or are the cross ties positioned close to the stalls of other horses who might be making faces at him? My gelding is great in the ties at one end of the barn, but terrible in the ones at the other end where my pony pins her ears at him from 10 feet away.
 

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I would suggest making time in the crossties as nice as possible, just be sure to NOT give treats while your horse is acting antsy or he might think the bad behavior is what is getting him treats. Some horses respond better if you just ignore the baby fits. I have a arabian /walker cross that will act out only long enough to see if anyone will come running to him to calm him down. He will paw and dance around, but after he sees no one is coming to "console" him he stops and stands like he should. this guy is nearly 10 now and still thinks he is a baby, that why we call him Colt. He was the second foal I raised and shortly after he was born his dam died. I bottle raised him and fussed over him way too much, so i admit its my fault. It took me awhile to realize I was spoiling him and rewarding bad behavior by giving him attention or treats when ever he acted out. Once I learned to ignore it he calmed down alot. he still trys though.
 

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Older horses take a lot more time to adjust to change. It took my guy a long time to get used to his new barn (think months, not weeks). Be consistent with him, which is the biggest thing you can do to help reassure him. I agree with keeping it a positive experience, but don't baby him. He will rise to your expectations as long as they are reasonable. Think firm fair leadership, reward when he's giving the desired behavior and you'll have your old reliable guy back before long.
 

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Hi,

I think you're right in thinking it's him not having 'adjusted' to the new surrounds. Perhaps he was confident in the old place in x-ties because he was well desensitised to it, but not desensitised gradually to this place?

If he was taken there, he was nervous in the barn or x-ties but was tied(trapped) there anyway, this may have confirmed to him it's not a nice place by forcing him to stay in the stressful situation. The more 'practice' he's had at that, the more confirmed(strengthened) his attitudes will become. Therefore the harder & longer it will likely be for you to change them.

So I would avoid x-tying him in the barn(I don't personally like the idea anyway) and avoid locking him in the barn at all, until with repetition, he's comfortable just walking in & out of it with you. Once he's comfortable doing that, you can take him in there for gradually longer. Then lock him in there for short periods of time with some yummy food - maybe stay there with him if there are no other horses to begin with. Repeat the processes over & over at each stage until he's confident & blase about it before doing something slightly more difficult for him. Then you can start tying him for short spells. I'd start with the tying on a long, yielding(using a tie ring or such) rope, before gradually shortening it & then moving to x-ties if you wish.
 
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