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Tips for an anxious horse?

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  • Tips for an anxious horse?

    Hey everyone,

    I just moved my mare to a new barn a few weeks ago. She's somewhat use to her surroundings now, but she's not quite settled in yet.

    This is unusual for her. More unusual than I'd like to see.

    When I ride her she has the hardest time focusing. Granted, the arena is a long walk from the barn and we're there by ourselves. Plus, it's a fairly wooded area and she's pretty much grown up in and lived in areas where she can see everything she hears. I know this is what's causing her anxiety and lack of focus, but I don't know how to fix it. I'd get someone else to ride with me or at least bring their horse down to the arena with me, but the other boarders are adults who don't have very much time to ride. I know that it's highly likely that all she needs is more time, but this settling in business is not easy for her when she's just so anxious all the time. I admit, I can sympathize because I have anxiety problems myself and I know that whenever I take something to calm myself down it helps me settle into unnerving situations better. I just want to make things easier for her because it's already hard enough for her to transition from hunters/HUS to dressage (she's not had a lick of dressage training in her life...even simple things are frustrating for her), and I'd hate for her to be experiencing non "work-related" stress on top of her other frustrations.
    So, what are your tips for an anxious horsey? Any favorite supplements? Suggestions?
    TIA
    (Sorry for the novella )
    If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
    If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
    If I smell like manure, I tripped.

  • #2
    She sounds a lot like my young chestnut thoroughbred mare I moved a month ago. After a rocky first week at the new place, I hired a pro (my trainer's husband) to help me. Though I've been riding a gazillion years, I didn't realize how much I didn't know. My mare is sensitive and hot. She's also a bit herd bound. After just three sessions (in-hand work/lunging/riding), she's really listening to the pro and we're working on getting her more (as in 100%) focused on me.

    Truthfully, I think I was spoiling her. Like you, I was making excuses. The pro gives her tons of praise and treats, but is also quick to reprimand if necessary. No misbehavior allowed, no shortcuts and no compromises. The result is the mare is much happier.

    She's not on calming supplements or anything artificial. (ETA: I did treat for ulcers with Ulcergard, just in case.) So, though my advice might be unpopular here, it's to not waste money on calming stuff and spend it on training.
    Last edited by Jeito; May. 6, 2012, 08:04 AM.

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    • #3
      I had a pony that I moved from barn A to barn B, and it took her MONTHS to settle in. She was bucking, bolting, rearing, and just being a P-O-N-Y.

      I had started her myself, and never had any problems.

      You said that your mare gets frusturated with the dressage stuff that you're asking her to do... have you thought about just popping her over some fences so that she's back in her comfort zone? The combo of the new farm, and her frustrations over what you're asking her to do may be a little bit too much for her brain to handle at once. That's what worked with my pony. I let her go rip-roaring around the arena, then it was time to work. She settled in MUCH better. You could also try just taking a nice stroll to the arena, having a bit of a graze, and not ask much of her. Just to relax.

      I agree, though, that you can't keep making excuses for her. Enough has to be enough, and you have to learn to draw the line.

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Earplugs. And NOT judging, but is it possible that you are stressed about it and she's feeding off of your anxiety? Think about getting a pro on her a couple of times to see if that helps. I'd also start her on ulcergard or poprocks--she may be anxious because she's ulcery or she may have gotten ulcery because she's anxious about the move. Best of luck to you!
        Originally posted by EquineImagined
        My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the replies!
          I agree...enough has to be enough. I haven't thought about earplugs...I do have a fly bonnet for her. Would that make on ok substitute?
          As far as ulcers go...what should I be watching for? I've never really dealt with or seen others care for a horse with ulcers.
          Thanks again!
          If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
          If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
          If I smell like manure, I tripped.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DottieHQ View Post
            Hey everyone,

            I just moved my mare to a new barn a few weeks ago. She's somewhat use to her surroundings now, but she's not quite settled in yet.

            new home new mates new enviroment
            horses can take a bit of settling in so her routine must not change ie your feeding time and riding time as this is your building block wereb she can feel secure loved and wanted till shes found her feet


            This is unusual for her. no its not
            her stable might be smaller than she is, 12x12 upto 15.2 14x14 for bigger neddies
            herstable might dim, might be well lite, might be windy part of yard might be bissy part of yard or to quiet, she might not be able to see other from her stable or stabled next to a dominant horse
            look at from her eyes- then chnage or move to btter part of yard if nesscary
            give her a sweed in stable or carrot and drill a hole in and tie to rafters so she has something esle to occupied her mind




            More unusual than I'd like to see.

            When I ride her she has the hardest time focusing.

            i will answer this in a mo

            Granted, the arena is a long walk from the barn and we're there by ourselves. Plus, it's a fairly wooded area and she's pretty much grown up in and lived in areas where she can see everything she hears. I know this is what's causing her anxiety and lack of focus,

            no as above time to answer this is you - transmitting those thoughts to her by your sub consious mind

            horrses have all there senses and can pick up on any vibe as unlike humans and in our sub concious way guess what happens

            we tense up------- so what does neddy do--------------- panic
            run of spooks and scoot rear leap about and be a total piss artist

            and then you wonder why lol you told him to haha








            but I don't know how to fix it.

            simple- dont think to much clear your mind and ride with confidence and in turn this will make your horse confident



            horses only have 2 fear factors 1st is to flee 2nd is to avade you be it ridden or handled




            I'd get someone else to ride with me or at least bring their horse down to the arena with me,

            dont be daft this is your horse you ridden her loads of times
            just get on and say to self --------- see that gate down there at the areana that where we going and mean it and keep saying to self till you reach it then smile when you do and then ride her as should with assertiveness determination and confident and thus will help your mare settle as quick a s anything


            but the other boarders are adults who don't have very much time to ride.

            and your not- shame they cant advise you to be more determined


            I know that it's highly likely that all she needs is more time, but this settling in business is not easy for her when she's just so anxious all the time.


            shes anxious becuase you are- so stop being a muppet and get on and ride you mare with guts

            I admit, I can sympathize because I have anxiety problems myself and I know that whenever I take something to calm myself down it helps me settle into unnerving situations better.



            look mate - see didnt get this far its you, try putting your mare on a cool mix or low energy if your feeding her sos shes getting her grub but nothing to explode her brain cells or just feed hay she wont die as hay is there main diet lol

            talk to her more tell ehr how you feel get on and sing out loud till you reach the gate do simple exercises
            but change rountine of work as in mare sure you give a variety and play with your horse- do simple gymkanana games andas you do more you gain confidence


            I just want to make things easier for her because it's already hard enough for her to transition from hunters/HUS to dressage (she's not had a lick of dressage training in her life...even simple things are frustrating for her), and I'd hate for her to be experiencing non "work-related" stress on top of her other frustrations.
            So, what are your tips for an anxious horsey? Any favorite supplements? Suggestions?
            TIA
            (Sorry for the novella )
            thats you not the horse------- dressage is a french for schooling so any amount of fun you have with her then the more you will both learn
            and schoolling can be - gymkana games, walking as there more than one pace in walk likewise in trot so mix it with canter and bobs your uncle guess what its basic dressage

            lol

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