Anxiety in stall

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by sham373, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. sham373

    sham373 Senior Member

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    I have a 13 year-old gelding who has separation anxiety that is very manageable other than in a stall. I have worked with several trainers on this issue and successfully train and show him in dressage and eventing, as well as trail ride. I can take him away from other horses and/or be totally alone and he's fine.

    The stall is an entirely different ballgame. Some days he is fine, but most days when a horse leaves or I walk away he loses it, spinning, calling, doing mini-rears.

    He's a fantastic horse undersaddle but I want to show, attend clinics, go camping, etc, but he usually is a beast in the stall, which adds stress to any event we try to go to.

    He's out 24/7, worked 4-5 days per week, fed mostly grass hay 3+ times per day, and gets 1/2# Safe Choice twice daily. He is also on a magnesium supplement (MagRestore) as we were hoping that would help his anxiety.

    Any ideas are much appreciated, thank you!
     
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  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I'd try the standard stall toys, doubt it'd help much. A stall buddy/goat. I'd try that. Good luck, next step for me if this horse is near and dear (I'm sure he is) is going to sound very offbeat, but I'd consider a reading on him. There's someone here that's used a person with good results on different issues. @Dona Worry you probably know who it was, I'm thinking @Lopinslow knows the person, but not sure.
     
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  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Tie him on crossties in the stall and remove the horse. You put the ties up high with just enough slack so he can move back and forth without being able to sit down and break the ties.

    People don't do enough with horses in their stall and the horse thinks he can behave how he likes. Habituate the horse to BEHAVING in the stall and he will.

    We don't have horses doing this foolishness on the track because they learn to behave in the stall by being groomed, saddled or harnessed, hooves picked in there, stall picked out, and horses, all along, are coming and going. Whatever a horse does habitually, they tend to continue to do. Change his habits.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    It doesn't sound like he's hurting himself. Is he getting into a sweat or soring himself up? Is he disturbing other horses in the barn? Are horse owners complaining? How long does he do this for?

    Unlike manes I would not leave a horse in cross ties in a stall if he's spinning and rearing in the stall. Especially not an older horse where it is an entrenched habit. It may actually be that cross ties won't settle him but will make it worse. You'd find that out after you got him hooked up. And at that point, you can't safely get at him to undo him. Unless you have quick releases, and put the quick releases at the wall end of the cross ties, then you have him flying around with two cross ties slapping him, which won't settle him.

    And I do not leave a horse on cross ties unless there is a very solid pull-back obstacle right behind him. If the cross ties are long enough for him to back up to the back stall wall, they are too long to do anything useful.

    As long as he could be taught to 'whoa' when I walk in the stall(and I would be very strict about that training), I'd leave it. I'd throw him some hay when the other horses leave and just see if time helps to improve the behavior.

    Usually, this behavior disappears with time. The horse is in a new place or the routine or some of the 'herd' has changed. For example one of my horses started doing this when a mare in heat was put in the stall next to him. I'd say whoa before I walked into the stall, he'd stand still(that was a requirement).

    Some horses don't get over it and in their case about the best thing you can do is ignore it if they aren't hurting themselves.

    If it's a young horse the behavior may be change-able. If he's been doing it for years, not so much.

    It seems like 'rewarding the horse for being bad' in human thinking, but actually, throwing them some hay to calm them down does seem to help most horses a lot.

    We have a wide dichotomy in what people believe here about stall behavior. One says the stall is the horse's territory and another says it's not.

     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    If the horse gives to pressure, and it only takes one second of thought if you have anything to think with, to know that, the horse ties, he is not going to rear and spin.

    Why is he not going to rear and spin?
    See the first phrase of the first sentence.

    Think slick. I know it's fun for you to call me out and disagree for the opportunity to see your words on the internet, but try using a teeny bit of logic, take to thinking before you write.

    The issue is he is FREE in the stall and has not learned how to behave in the stall, but he DOES give to pressure, he rides.
     
  6. brl_rcr72

    brl_rcr72 Full Member

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    I never thought about it this way but it's true no one does enough with horses in the stall. I have figured this out for myself: my one mare is very nervous doesn't stand paces when your in the barn etc. Lately she's been on stall rest and I have cleaned her stall, blanketed, brushed, swept etc, all around her and she's learning that she has to behave and its no big deal.:)

    I usually don't tie them in the stall and just let them deal, but if I had a horse that had a real issue I dang sure would cross tie them, I'd rather them be dancing around on cross ties then rearing over the stall walls.
     
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  7. mkoktavy

    mkoktavy Senior Member

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    Flash used to be a nut in the stall as well, problem was that he also lived out 24/7. I would work with him (literally stay outside his stall for an hour at a time, getting after him every time he tried to rear and "climb" the wall. Eventually he would settle and eat his hay and then I would let him back out again. It was a long process and once started, you have to commit no matter how long it takes.

    Problem was, if he wasn't put in the stall often enough, he would revert to being a dufus.

    Now we are on indoor board, he goes out every day regardless of weather (they always have access to get into the arena) and comes in every night. Now its just part of his routine and he' totally fine. As much as I loved that he was out 24/7 a d think it's great for them, this is working out better *for him*.
     
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  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Trouble is I've seen people do this with horses that were very good at 'giving to pressure' and were going nuts in their stall. And it made the more active type horses worse. A lot worse.

    It just is not the answer for every horse. And you find out it's not the answer after you hook 'em up.

    The problem is that cross ties don't reward a horse that gives to pressure. If he's a nervous type, he gives to one side, the other side pulls on him.

    So I've seen people cross tie their horse in the stall (it actually used to be fairly common at least where I was) and it did not always go so peachily as you describe. The house would be bouncing off one cross tie then the other a couple times and then lose it, rear, have his hind feet slip and down he'd go and then the 'fun' would ensue and the horse would start flailing around with its head caught by the cross ties, hopefully one would break.

    With a more phlegmatic horse, sure. Others? No.


     
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  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You are demonstrating that you have no idea how to set up crossties.
     
  10. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

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    You can put the quick release where it attaches to the halter if you're that worried about getting him unhooked quickly... the problem is if you unhook him when he's freaking out he learns freaking out gets him what he wants.
     
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