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Turn out anxiety

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  • Turn out anxiety

    This is a new one on me, so I'm hoping some of you have a "magic cure."
    I have a 9-year-old Arabian mare, very high-strung. I've owned her for her entire life, and in all that time she has been turned out with a companion in an approximately 1/4 acre lot. I finally completed fencing the rest of my land, about an acre and a half. I was so excited to finally be able to turn my mare, with her buddy, back there for some wonderful grass, and thinking, won't she just love this.

    Well, not so much. She works herself up into a state of near-panic, running full tilt until she's in a lather. Pacing the fence by the barn and hollaring to come back in. Her buddy is grazing unconcerned out there, but she acts like she's there all alone.

    This has been going on the last 3 days. I've only been turning her out for an hour at a time, but last night she was lathered up within 15 minutes of being out.

    What in your opinion would be the best way to handle this? Ace? Just leave her out until she figures it out, i.e. settles herself down? I thought today I may turn her out until she can't take it any more, bring her back in and let her calm down, then turn her back out, repeat as necessary.

    Arrggh! All that lovely grass, and continued dry lot is just not an option. I thought she would be in heaven, but she thinks the pasture is a nightmare.


  • #2
    Is the new turnout atteched to the old one? If so I would just leave the gate open between them so she can expand her comfort zone as she feels comfortable.



    • #3
      Christa's idea is a good one if possible. I've had this problem with horses in the past (mostly with mares too) when we've had to charge their turnout location. They do eventually get over it. If it were me I'd try giving her a little ace and then hand graze her in the new area by her buddy. Try to avoid bringing her in when she paces though (I know it's hard to watch!) because then she "wins". She will soon figure out that she's not being punished and that she's actually in horsie heaven! Good luck!
      Originally posted by EquineImagined
      My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


      • Original Poster

        The two turn outs ARE connected by a sort of paddock, so this is very possible. Thanks! Sometimes when it's my own problem I just don't see the obvious solution. I'm great at giving advice to other people, though!

        Turned them out this morning for a couple of hours, and she was MUCH calmer, actually figured out that the grass was mighty tasty.


        • #5
          I'm interested in hearing more ideas too. My BO has a gorgeous stallion that used to turn out fine, got injured by another horse at 3 years old and needed stall rest. Since he's a stallion he now needs to be out alone. Ever since the stall rest when she tries to turn him out he goes nuts. Won't stop running the entire time he's out. She finally gave up and he's stalled 24/7 now with hand walks and riding. She would love to turn him out again but she's so worried he's going to hurt himself or go through the fence.
          Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


          • #6
            OP - glad the girl is getting used to her new area! Some of them, especially the anxious mares, get so settled on their routine that the tiniest little change throws them off kilter. My mare was t he same way, but the older she got, the more she became a go-with-the-flow type. Now she is happy as long as she has a buddy.

            Keg - my guess is the stallion doesn't want to be out alone. He doesn't HAVE to be turned out alone. He could have a gelding companion or a mini or goat. He probably needs a friend to feel safe.
            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.