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Any help with "curing" separation anxiety?

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    Any help with "curing" separation anxiety?

    Talk to me about how you cured your horses with severe separation anxiety... I have a tb gelding that absolutely loses his mind when put up in a stall or tied out of sight of other horses. When stalled it doesn't matter if there are horses in his line of sight, he screams and runs his stall until he is dripping with sweat. He is normally kept outside 24/7, but I need to be able to keep him stalled occasionally without him losing his mind. He has trailer ing issues due to this as well. Any tips or ticks to get him over this? He is 11 and has been off the track for several years. He is currently being treated for ulcers.

    Snort tries to dig to China even with a neighbor in a standard stall, with full front door and barred half walls, KY style, which are alternate 4 inch plank and 4 inch space between horses and normal bars to the aisle. Calls all day, walks the stall.
    We put him in a corral panel pen 16x16 with a neighbor at home and he was ok with that, he would walk if the neighbor was away but within sight. When we took him back to the barn he wound up in the foaling stall, 20x 20 with a pony and was happy there, and our last incarnation is a 12x12 run in made into a shedrow with half walls, Spanish style, no bars of any kind, and one neighbor. If the neighbor leaves he gets upset but not hysterical as long as he has lots of food and can see the neighbor mares. He'll stand at the door and paw, but no running, no stall walking, he's not too frantic, just impatient.

    Some of it is buddy sourness, the neighbor is the same pony, the rest is fear of being abandoned.
    My mare that I had as a teen would leave her companion no problem, go out etc. but if he left her, I couldn't get a thing done, she was dangerous to catch and still upset even if we left the pasture area.

    Unfortunately it's not straightforward as to what gets them going, I was surprised that the type of enclosure had so much to do with Snort's anxiety level.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


      My TB mare has this problem and is also a complete nut in a trailer because of it. What seems to be helping over time is by my keeping her away from other horses. I have two ponies and previously she would lose her mind and behave in a terrifying way when separated from them. I started keeping them in a pen where they could see each other but not touch, and that has worked wonders. She still has a pair of goats but is not so attached to them. I work her away from the ponies and have to introduce new things (like walking down the long scary driveway away from the safety of the barn) verrrrrrryy slowly over a long period of time. But she kind of looks forward to going someplace new, then gets very antsy coming back.

      Another thing that has been crucial to staying safe with this horse is lots of ground work to get her respect and trust, so that when she gets wound up and afraid, she will still look to me and mostly pay attention. What a long, annoying process. But the difference is significant. Good luck!


        Is he turned out alone or with other horses?

        For the bad ones, I absolutely don't turn them out with others. They stay in their own paddock, with other horses in sight around them, but I find with this type it makes them completely insane if they are used to having buddies in the same paddock with them

        And yeah - been there as well with some of the mares we've had in for breeding, and new horses coming in. Some SO bad they are slamming themselves against the stall walls, throwing themselves at the door, crashing into their water buckets, trying to charge through the open stall door if you go in, etc. And the other horses are just across the aisle and beside them - in full view - but that doesn't seem to matter

        Its worse than weaning the little ones at 5-6 months old - some are downright dangerous

        I always leave halters on them until they get sorted out - no way in Hell I want to get close to them to try and put a halter on

        Good luck - its a total PITA for sure and no one method will work for all of them

        True Colours Farm on Facebook


          Original Poster

          Thanks everyone! I used to have him turned out with my full herd, but he was dropping tons of weight breeding my mares and acted even worse than he is currently when separated from them. Not to mention the mares went nuts when their "boyfriend" was gone. So I pulled him and another gelding out and put them in a smaller pasture by themselves. He is making very small steps forward in improving his behavior, but he still has a LONG way to go. It drives me absolutely nuts, but we will keep working at it and hopefully get him past this to where he can have a happy and productive show career.


            Some of them are buddy sour, some of them are barn sour if you know what I mean. So when we took Snort back to the barn we split him and "his" pony up, and he got upset, and we tried finding him a new buddy or group of buddies and darned near got him killed one day poor old sod, they ran him ragged and we had to open the gate and let him run for it, then we found him a new pony and eventually he wound up turned out with him, and in the foaling stall, but all he'd done is transfer his attention to the new guy really. Still, if you go for walks daily with one or the other, I would ride the large pony past Snort and his new pony and he paid no attention at all, you may be gradually able to get them past it. Maybe, and it takes a long time.
            I would long line him and he'd balk up until we hit the road, and then his "oh, we're jogging now brain" would take over and he'd start to work, but we'd do quite a few figure 8's on the way to the driveway, or just general evasions. EEK, the cat!
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible


              Forgot to mention that my mare is now (as of yesterday) being stalled for a medical problem, and to my everlasting surprise is being quite calm about being kept out of sight of her ponies. I didn't hear her call at all last night. I used to have to give her ace. Today she is a little on edge because the goats also are out roaming and she is alone in there but is doing remarkably well. We have been working on this for nearly 2 years and she is coming along slowly but surely. Just some words of encouragement.