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Filly with seperation anxiety (herd bound) HELP!!!!

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  • Filly with seperation anxiety (herd bound) HELP!!!!

    Hi people!
    Im new to this thread and this will be my first post so please give me all the suggestions possible, Im really going to need them!!!

    Okay so here goes....
    I bought a filly about 3 months ago and she WAS very happy and calm and had excellent manners(with both people and horses). When I brought her home she was put in a pasture with a newly weaned colt the same age (who had no manners with other horses or people!).
    So for the first week and a half the board owners would not allow me to take my filly out to work with her because "their colt was not ready for that and was too emotional". So during the week and a half the two foals bonded like glue! stuck together like they were attached at the hip! But now we have a HUGE problem... after the week and a half of not being able to work my filly they were stalled overnight due to extreme cold (they are usually on 24/7 turnout) so again cant take filly out because the colt may hurt himself in the stall. So now its warmer and the two are back 24/7 turnout... so now i can work my filly right well to my absolute horror my filly has turned into a raging herd bound little $hit for lack of a better word. I attempted a few times to take her out while the two were stalled together but the colt just screams bloody murder the entire time so my filly got so upset she just lost her mind trying to run back to the stall and pushing through me like a bulldozer! So this past week I figured hey now that the colt is going to be staying outside my filly wont be able to hear his screams... wrong!!! So heres my play by play... I bring in the filly to get a trim and all is going well we are walking around in the barn, shes respecting my space and listening well and then someone leaves the barn door open and she hears the colt! (i know i shouldnt be angry that someone opened the door but bear with me) So the farrier is trying to trim her feet and she is going completely berzerk! to the point that he just said i dont think i can do this today and he had to walk her out (with a STRONG hand). So the next day the owners brought the colt in and to my extreme surprise he was excellently behaved ... huh? Well it turns out my filly doesnt scream when left alone (weird) and so i say wow hes really coming along! and then they tell me yeah we have been bringing him in everyday because it turns out hes totally fine to leave my filly but not so much when my filly leaves him! I am at my wits end and am appauld that their complete lunatic of a horse is becoming better behaved then my what was an angel of a horse... I have the means to bring her in everyday even if its just for 5 or 10 minutes or so but i have almost given up completely to the point where im writing her for sale ad in my head! I cant even bribe her with food... she wont take treats! So now i ask WHAT IN THE WORLD CAN I DO TO CORRECT THIS BEHAVIOR AND GET PAST THIS RIDICULOUSNESS!?!?!?! Im willing to try whatever you throw at me!

    And yes i know this is why foals shouldnt be pastured together by themselves but i had no idea when i brought her to the stable i would be told i cant work with her!

    Sorry for the long thread im at such a loss i couldnt help but vent!

  • #2
    I think you have multiple problems here...

    Yes, weanlings and yearlings and young horses definately SHOULD be raised together, live together, and form normal horsie relationships of a herd. This is what makes them easy to train and pleasant to work with throughout their future lives with humans. It is WHERE they learn manners, that the humans MAY learn to take advantage of when they work with the horse.

    When trying to have your filly's feet trimmed, do this in the close company of her companion. It is not a time for "training", it is a time for trimming. She will be quieter with her buddy nearby, or even touching her butt. This gets the job DONE, without injuring your farrier. As she gets some more age and experience with trimming and leaving her buddies while retaining her focus and confidence (both in you and herself), this will no longer be an issue.

    For training... the colt's owners have been taking him out for training but you are not "allowed" to do the same thing with yours? And you have accepted these regulations? For training, the young horses will need to be separated, so that the young horse can focus on YOU rather than their buddy. YOU must be the most important thing in your young horse's life, his buddy is the second most important thing. It is not uncommon for the horse who is left behind in the paddock to whine and pine, but the one who is with the trainer must be focused on the trainer. This is your job to figure out how to do this, this is horse training. If you are currently NOT the most important thing in your horse's life, then you have to start by figuring out how to become this person. It is not a problem with the horse or it's training or manners, it is a problem with YOU. The horse only reacts to the reality she percieves. The enclosure containing the left behind horse must be adequate to hold a young horse safely if a temper tantrum ensues. So it is not the fact that your horse "can not hear her companion's cries", it is more that she does not care about her companions' cries while she is busy with YOU.

    After a few sessions of being separated for training, then coming back together to the shared paddock, horses figure it out about what is going on here, and accept the separation and the training. Seems to me that you need to re-establish the relationship with your filly, which has lapsed currently. If the owners of the other foal will not allow this, or if you do not know how to do this, you have a problem that will need solving one way or the other... selling the filly, or moving her to another situation. Or having the owners of the colt change their "regulations" about what you can and can not do with your filly. Good luck


    • #3
      I agree with the previous poster on all accounts.

      My 13 year old mare moved barns a week ago and is having similar issues. She's never been an issue before and has always had excellent ground manners. I have been on her like she is a yearling and she has discovered that if she puts one foot wrong, she is going to get it -- no exceptions! It hasn't been easy for anyone, but she's getting it. Whether she is being a good girl because she doesn't want to get in trouble or she's feeling like I'm a true leader right now, I don't know. But, it's working!


      • #4
        Throw another older horse in with them both.
        Be patient with your filly, all young horses have issues. If you don't want to deal with issues, get an older horse. Not being mean just honest. She is a weanling, treat her like a 5 year old child as opposed to a bad adult. Their little minds have short, insecure attention spans. Take time and do not expect too much. Many people just teach them to lead, load and trim then leave them alone till they go under saddle. You could also post on the breeding forum as there are people there that specialize in young horses.


        • #5
          I have spoke to the board ownder about putting another horse in with the two but they keep putting it off and avoiding doing it. And she has had her feet trimmed... she knows what its all about but she seems to have forgotten everything. I did have a very sucsessful work with her today. So i am feeling a little better about it. Thanks for you opinions.


          • #6
            The people that own the colt run the barn, correct? If they are being unreasonable by telling you you do not have rights, when they do exactly the same thing you wanted to do (bring filly in for one on one work), and which is to be EXPECTED as part of boarding your horse, I think it is time to look for another facility, or have a serious discussion with them, whichever is easier for you to stomach. You are a paying customer. You DO have rights.
            I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

            My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com