I bought a new horse, after looking at and trying her twice. The seller was honest about everything, did say she would not ride out alone on trails, no surprises so far execpt one thing. Never mentioned that she was a terror in the stall alone, but I believe the mare was usually out 24/7. I will not have my horses out during hunting season at dawn/dusk so they come in for the night, since there are hunters on all sides of us and they seem to be out most in the mornings and evenings. She has a gelding neighbor who comes in a little later in the evening (his mom is usually late). This mare will try nearly anything to try and get out of her stall, pushing on the door, trying to "jump" out. At least until her "buddy" comes in. She is only attached to this one horse. This is only my third horse and I'm not sure how to handle this. I've never had to deal with a horse that could not bear to be separated from others. She has only been here 3 days, seems to have calmed down a little but I don't know what I can do to alleviate her anxiety? Any suggestions?
this is a pretty common problem. it sounds ilke there are actually 2 issues...
1. you are asking her to get used to being stalled 12 hours per day -- equate that to taking a child whose been allowed to run free all their life and suddenly plunking him into a junior high type educational setting, quiet at your desk all day etc....that's a lot of stress;
2. she is used to being with other horses 24/7; now she is being asked to be completely alone, even for short periods of time.
If the former owner didn't have stalls or didnt use them regularly, she likely didn't even know it was an issue for this mare. (We put ours through "stall training" before they adopt if moving into a stall style scenario as ours, too, are out 24/7.)
Please remember she's trying to manage through these 2 things on top of the simple stress of moving to a new location, finding her place in a new herd in the pasture, etc. that's a lot more stress than many of us ever really realize, until we get one who objects.
I wish I knew a simple magic trick for her; the best I acn suggest is, if you can, for now, adjust your schedule to match the geldings -- or ask his owner if you could bring him in when you bring in your mare, just for a few weeks. Let her get used to the inside at night routine with her neighbor always there...ideally putting him in his stall before she comes in.
once she settles into that, idaelly, bring her in first, grain her if she gets any, and then have him come in just shortly after. if his owner is game, you can even work on some games with her ilke you would do with a toddler -- take him in and out of her sight until she finally gets bored with fussing each time, until it becomes solid in her mind that he will be back soon enough.
I hope this helps at least a little. It really is a pretty common issue without great solutions. Please do take care that she doesn't try to climb out and hurt herself badly during this adjustment time....
AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)