Worried about leaving horse on his own

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by mzgtr, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. mzgtr

    mzgtr Well-known Member

    Just curious if this is just me or do other people have the same feelings.

    Have four horses, two horse next door together and the other two at home together. Whenever I take one of the horses out and leave the other in the paddock. I get so worried that the horse is going to go through the fence or go something stupid. As they always call out to each other, don't stand still when tied up.

    One of the couple of horses, when I ride one I have to straight tie the other one. Just because I don't want anything to happen to him. I ride the horse right near where he is tied so if anything happened I would see.

    How does everyone else deal with this?
  2. Siren

    Siren Well-known Member

    Omigod!! ALL THE TIME

    I have one gelding that goes bonkers everytime i do anything with ANY other horse, regardless of where they are. And he has hurt himself, once very badly after a mare foaled a couple of years ago, and he decided he wanted to check out the new baby, hes very maternal.
    I have been told by a few people that constantly moving horses so they dont buddy up is a good way to cure it, although it can be hard to do in certain set ups. It has worked with any other horse of mine that has that separation anxiety problem..... except this gelding. I have even taken the tough approach, a few times, and just made sure it was safe, then let him go until he settles down, a couple of days later without eating or drinking much, and i give in because he is one of those horses that lose condition very rapidly. It drives me insane *#)

    Would be interested to see what other tips people might have.
  3. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    A good strong safe round yard...put the offender in there!**)
  4. Ali

    Ali Well-known Member

    My daft TB gelding who is 25 does this when I take my Tb mare out of his sight, he screams out and runs up and down the fence line. He doesn't give me the impression he'd be stupid enough to ever go through a fence but at his age the stress of it all can't be good!! When I had him at my own property I would go out with my mare and get back a couple of hours later and my hubby would tell me that the horse spent the first hour calling out and trotting the fence line looking for her, even when I left him with feed or hay and he was always in with other horses, some just seem to always be that bit insecure.
  5. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    I also have a daft TB X Holsteiner gelding that does this whenever his paddock mate leaves - I used to worry - NOW im over it. I just let him run around like a fool.
    I actualy trust that he will be okay now and not run through fences....we had a rather scary accident a year or so back when he was the only on left in the paddock with fetlock height wire - when all the others had spooked and busted out.....so I think it will take quite a bit to send him through a fence.

    He just really needs to at least TRY and learn.
    However - he is 13 and not 25....so hopefully their is potential to learn **)

    When I leave the property,in other words - for a few days, or a whole day, He goes in with the others - but I leave this till the last, as once again....he's a bit of a fool - and stirs everyone up..the big dork....lol :)
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009
  6. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    i have 3 horses.

    The arab goes silly when one of the others leaves, but is trained well enough to behave when he is taken by himself. Most he does is scream and trot about for a few mins - unless he is left alone then he will get upset. I try and avoid it.

    The stbred neighs when the arab goes but he doesnt run much, just neighs. He is fine if i take both horses and just sulks in the back of the paddock. He is also no problem to take away from the horses if he is occupied, but forget having him relax and graze the lawn if the others are calling him. But he has enough manners to behave when being ridden/saddled etc.

    The little WB i have never left by himself. He has been separated from teh others and was upset for a day but it was just trotting about and a little bit of neighing. He is great out byhimself because he trusts me.

    Basically all you can do is:
    1. ensure you have good and adequate safe/strong fencing. Use electric fences so they respect them and wont try and run through them. I use taperail by daken - that stuff is POWERFUL!
    2. Distract the horse by giving hay or turning out onto grass when he is left alone.
    3. ignor them and hope for the best. I find they all generally learn that their friend will be back shortly.
    4. make sure they have very good manners and respect for you, and trust you enough to not get emotional or pushy when they are away from their friends with you. Cross tie is good if the horse respects them.
    5. put boots on the horse being left to prevent knock injuries. I dont know how effective this is but perhaps it gives more peice of mind?
  7. Siren

    Siren Well-known Member

    NOW im over it. I just let him run around like a fool. Hear you there Eoroe!!!

    Thats all you can do with the more serious ones i think, make sure its safe, and hope for the best :eek:
  8. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    All you can do is put them in a good safe yard/paddock and keep taking other horses away regularly and bring them back.

    They eventually work out that their friends will return
  9. horse girl Jess

    horse girl Jess Well-known Member

    Although that would keep the horse in, and probably safe from running it's self into a fence, I think this would cause some serious phycological effects. Stress can kill and animal, and cause on going side effects, even if they aren't that obvious.

    You could give it food to give it something to do, to help it focus on something other then being on it's own. Are there any other options for you? Could you buy another companion animal such as a goat or sheep or cow?
  10. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    I have a horse with seperation anxiety. I take my riding horse out and she goes berserk, I used to think she calmed down after a little bit, but I have gone out for 2 hours at a time and apparantely the whole time she was running around! I get back to one very sweaty pony!

    If I take her out by herself she doesn't act up...

    Jingles might run up and down the fenceline a few times and call out, but she stops after 5 minutes.

    It's a horrible habit!! I have tried seperating my horses and keeping them paddocked seperately for a week at a time, and nothing, I think it's just a habit that she won't grow out of!
  11. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    in my experience having a 3rd horse doesnt stop the calling out and stress. Peiko goes nuts when i take 1 horse or 2, even if he has a friend.
  12. ASH lover

    ASH lover Well-known Member

    Ive only ever had one horse that has suffered from this and ! have recently given her away as a broodmare to a breeder because she would run herself ragged if a horse left her paddock - to the point of lameness!

    She never tried jumping fences but would gallop and prop at each end of the fence and she had ongoing suspensory ligament strain because of it.

    I tried putting her in the yard and she would do exactly the same - gallop - prop - gallop - prop!

    I could not stop this behaviour so her ligaments never had a chance to heal - so I decided a life in a herd as a Mummy would suit her best...such a shame she was not a bad riding mare - but just couldn't get consistency in her riding cos she spent so much of her time lame!
  13. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    Exactly how Buckley did his tendons - but not due to separation, just playing in the paddock... #(
  14. Andhi

    Andhi Gold Member

    Tally did his leg injury being silly when his paddock mate went out on a ride.

    Even today he still is silly when I take Sass out in the cart and he is in the paddock with George.
    Sass may call out a bit but in general the hay I give her and George is way more interesting when I take Tally out
  15. Siren

    Siren Well-known Member

    i have half a dozen horses, give or take a couple over the years. taking them out, bringing them back, making it safe. I have had this paticular gelding for about 4 years now, we have all moved house 7 times since i have owned him, he has moved with his friends, always chopping and changing who he shares with. No change, he doesnt actually have the one buddy, it is every single horse he comes into contact with. He doesnt stress about leaving the others behind, when its him being taken out for whatever reason.
    Just loves his 'heard'. But aslong as he is always in a paddock with another horse, or yarded next to one, he's ok. Its when left completely on his own the s*&^ hits the fan.
    Can i ask what breed everyone elses culprit is? (this bloke is a OTTB) :))
  16. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    My offender is a conny/arab, she is too bloody smart for her own good and just gets bored as hell if she doesn't have company.

    God forbid she does what other horses do and just stick their head down and eat.
  17. ASH lover

    ASH lover Well-known Member

    my mare was a part bred arab...and she is very much the sensitive arab type...not a malicious bone in her body...just extremely reactive to everything around her!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  18. himitsu

    himitsu Well-known Member

    anglo arab LOL and his sister was WAY worse (think trench along fenceline)
  19. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    You can approach this as an issue to desensitize them to if you have the time and patience.. catch the one you want to take away, and make as if to leave - watch the other for the SLIGHTEST sign of anxiety - and stop there. Let the other horse go. Praise all round, go away. Build up gradually over time to the point where you can leave the paddock - and then just hang out next to the gate until everyone relaxes and starts to eat (take a book!). Again - put the other horse back, praise all round, go home. Keep on building it up in tiny steps until you can leave the gate (but stay in sight) for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5, 10, and so on. I have found that if you get to the point where you can go out of sight without anxiety, then you can be gone as long as you like - their sense of time is pretty elastic so out of sight for 5 minutes is the same as 4 hours! Helps if you have an observer to tell you AS SOON as the head goes up and the worried look appears on his of her face.
    I'm not a fan of shutting them in a round yard - anxious horses need to move their feet, and I have seen horses attempt to jump stupid heights due to the stress.
    I have seen it in all breeds and my own Arab X will do it but not to too bad an extent. It does seem much worse in OTTBs in my experience (but then, isn't everything??!:p).
    If all else fails, beg borrow or buy a Shetland/donkey/goat for company. A really old one who can't be bothered runnig, and won't join in all the silly buggers - it seems to help more to calm the other one down if the one he is left with compltely ignores the stupid behaviour.
  20. deschuur

    deschuur Gold Member

    I have several like this - drives me nuts! My fences are all electric so they don't test them thankfully.

    My culprits are two TB mares and a frieisan warmblood filly I mix them up often and it does not seem to help one in particular - she will even stress if a horse that is not in her paddock is taken out of their paddock:rolleyes: the other one was a chronic fence walker and stressed if she was put in her yard (next to her buddy) however since she had a foal she seems to be more relaxed about life.

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