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Horse anticipates turnout

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  • GPjumper
    started a topic Horse anticipates turnout

    Horse anticipates turnout

    hi all,
    New boarder came in a few weeks ago and I need advice from a management perspective. He has settled in well except he anticipates turnout like crazy. I usually feed grain at 6am with a flake of hay and turn out at 7. I’ve done this so that everyone has enough time to finish eating. The new horse won’t finish his grain and will stall walk until he is turned out. We had some bad weather last week where I left them in for the day. Everyone was bedded deep with fresh haynets in the AM. He did nothing but walk in circles trashing his stall and making a trench in 8-10 inches of shavings. Didn’t eat. He would walk a circle stick his head out the door, slowly walk another circle etc. he does this for the hour between breakfast and turnout as well. His owner wants me to leave him in for three-four days tied so he stops anticipating the schedule. Do you guys have any other suggestions?

    ETA: he has been on sucralfate and gastrogard since he came here.
    Its before my coffee so please excuse typos and sentences that make no sense.

  • IPEsq
    replied
    Originally posted by GPjumper View Post

    That is going to be the step tomorrow. Another local trainer has a similar problem and she would work her horse after breakfast so he wouldn’t think eating meant going outside right away.

    If he sometimes won’t eat because of the anticipation, you could also try giving him a handful or two when the others are fed, taking him out for work, then return to the stall for the rest of breakfast. Work doesn’t have to be too crazy—this horse is rehabbing something right? Could just be one of his scheduled hand walks. But something mentally stimulating as opposed to the medical paddock.

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie.S
    replied
    Originally posted by beowulf View Post

    The being fine overnight and then not in the morning isn't necessarily surprising to me and I wouldn't say because he is fine when he is first brought in that everything is okay.

    Think of it this way - when you are fresh from doing something you enjoy, you probably can tolerate things that make you unhappy a little more gracefully.. but when you are at the end of your rope .... it gets that much harder to deal.

    I don't think horses are any different in that regard, and while stalling is convenient for us, it sure isn't healthy or convenient for horses. So at the end of a ~12 hour shift in a stall, I understand why horses get a little antsy. Unfortunately, it's the industry standard and also, the reality, for most horses in the world.
    This is basically what I was getting at re: he doesn't actually like being stalled.

    OP, it sounds like you are being quite accommodating - it also sounds like the horse owner isn't really interested in finding out the reason for the horse's stall walking. This is unfortunate for the horse, but not entirely surprising as I know more horse owners than not that at the end of the day don't care why a behavior is occurring (not so much because they don't care about the horse but because they truly don't understand what the behavior signifies about the horse's mental state and how much improved it could be by addressing it.)

    Since it is not your job to educate the horse, if you can minimize his stress by turning him out to eat breakfast, that seems like the most reasonable option.

    Leave a comment:


  • rockyriver7
    replied
    My horse did that when he first moved to our new barn. He was very insecure and concerned that he wouldn't get to go outside and that we would forget about him. If given the choice between eating his grain and pouting at his stall door, he would just stand at his door anxiously or occassionally pace. I fixed it by getting him a ground feeder and letting him eat at his door. It takes away the choice, now he can both pout at his door and eat at the same time. After a few weeks, he learned the schedule and learned that he could trust that I wouldn't forget him and now he will eat normally. Not sure what your stall set up is but that's what helped my horse.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    Originally posted by Redlei44 View Post
    Sorry if I missed it in a previous post, but is there any reason you can’t tie him, within reach of his hay/water/grain, for the hour it takes everyone to eat? Seems that it would be exactly the same as (for example) show hunters who get tied in the stall after being braided.
    That is going to be the step tomorrow. Another local trainer has a similar problem and she would work her horse after breakfast so he wouldn’t think eating meant going outside right away.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redlei44
    replied
    Sorry if I missed it in a previous post, but is there any reason you can’t tie him, within reach of his hay/water/grain, for the hour it takes everyone to eat? Seems that it would be exactly the same as (for example) show hunters who get tied in the stall after being braided.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    Originally posted by Equibrit View Post

    That does not mean SUCCESSFULLY TREATED. Probably full of forage prior to evening feed,.

    Worth a read; https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi...ve.2018.2.S1.3
    I’m well aware about ulcers. He has a full Hay net over night that holds an entire bale of OA mix. (He doesn’t finish it)

    Leave a comment:


  • Equibrit
    replied
    Originally posted by GPjumper View Post

    He has been treated for ulcers. He is on day 25 of gastrogard and succeed. It’s in the first post.
    That does not mean SUCCESSFULLY TREATED. Probably full of forage prior to evening feed,.

    Worth a read; https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi...ve.2018.2.S1.3

    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
    You are making big assumptions about the cause of his behaviour. How about examining his problems with ulcers and the fact that you have just fed when said behaviour occurs ?
    He has been treated for ulcers. He is on day 25 of gastrogard and succeed. It’s in the first post.
    Also, he has no problems with dinner grain.

    Leave a comment:


  • Equibrit
    replied
    You are making big assumptions about the cause of his behaviour. How about examining his problems with ulcers and the fact that you have just fed when said behaviour occurs ?

    Leave a comment:


  • RedHorses
    replied
    Since you said this behavior is a recent change from how he was when he first arrived, and since he's been trained to stand tied I would try tying him.

    Some people have said it can't work because of whatever reason, but that's not been my experience.

    Leave a comment:


  • jvanrens
    replied
    Since the horse is used to being tied I would give that a try. Put his hay in a net so he can reach both and see if it helps. Most western horses are used to being tied for a while and it is a great thing since they usually just take it as a quiet time and relax. Very helpful at shows where they can spend time tied to a trailer during the day waiting for their time to go.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    I tried feeding him in the medical paddock This AM. It didn’t work. Not only did it upset the others terribly, (to the point where they didn’t want to eat) but it didn’t help him at all. Instead of walking after finishing most of breakfast, he didn’t eat at all and just walked the paddock even worse. At this point, the walking is more frantic outside so I’m stuck leaving him in to eat.

    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    No one is in the barn. I usually dump grain and go back to the house for an hour while they eat. He starts anticipating as soon as he is almost finished. He will walk, not frantically, until you turn him out or at around 230PM (if they have to stay inside for bad weather.) once outside, he paces a bit around the field until he settles into grazing around his buddy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Moonlitoaks
    replied
    Okay. Thank you for explaining the patience pole. I can see how, used properly, it would help a horse settle. I can also see how, used improperly, it could cause issues. Hmm.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sansena
    replied
    I know this may not be practical in a full commercial barn, but what does horse do if he doesn't see you or any other human?

    Oftentimes these types --when they're not actively training a human to do what THEY want-- will settle and just chill if they cannot see a human/ caregiver to persuade to do their bidding.

    Can you move him to a stall or wing where he's not aware of people coming and going, in the hopes he'll just settle until someone comes along to take him out?

    Leave a comment:


  • knic13
    replied
    You could try tying him in front of his feed for a few mornings during that hour. I have a horse that would stall walk when stressed out by a change in schedule. He would also pace if you were late to bring him inside for dinner. Over the years he has learned to be more flexible in his schedule without worrying, but in the short term tying him allowed him to relax and eat hay rather than pace.

    Since he is used to tying and it is only the hour between feeding and turnout I would give it a try and see if he chills out and then wean him off the tying routine.

    ETA: this horse would be frantically stall walking and then go into complete relaxation immediately upon tying, he didn’t fight it out or have to learn to relax while tied. Tying served as a pacifier for him.


    Leave a comment:


  • GPjumper
    replied
    Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

    Fair enough. They may help though, as he couldn't get up enough "steam" without significant effort and would quickly figure out it isn't worth it (in a perfect world).
    He doesn’t really speed walk. He just kind of wanders slowly, sticks his head out the stall, wanders again. He’s not frantic, just impatient.

    Leave a comment:


  • SLW
    replied
    Originally posted by Moonlitoaks View Post
    I don't understand the 'patience post' thing. Was he supervised? I can't think of any practical lesson that would teach a horse. These are not independent creatures. Staying close by while a horse is tied to teach him to stand quietly makes sense, but leaving them unsupervised is going to make a wreck out of herd animal. Is he neurotically herdbound? Perhaps that's what led to his behavior?
    As explained to me by a western trainer that I respect: Say a trainer has 8 horses in his barn for training but he can only ride one at a time in a day. The horse's commodity with us "time", you control the horse's time then you are controlling the horse, the horse trades it's meals for giving up it's "time". After feeding each horse is tied throughout the barn based on it's tying experience- maybe in a stall, a patience pole, outside the barn and so on. A few are standing with saddles on waiting to be ridden. So while the trainer is on the back of only one horse, all the others are working, they are tied. Once the horse is ridden and groomed it's tied up somewhere and the next horse gets the ride and so on. And yes, hay and water is provided throughout the day to the horses in training.

    A correctly used patience pole/tie training has done a world of good for horses. The first thing I train my driving equines to do is "whoa" and "wait", tie training assist in the latter.

    Leave a comment:


  • endlessclimb
    replied
    Originally posted by GPjumper View Post

    I have no idea. To be honest, I’ve never used them and wouldn’t feel comfortable using them.
    Fair enough. They may help though, as he couldn't get up enough "steam" without significant effort and would quickly figure out it isn't worth it (in a perfect world).

    Leave a comment:

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