Anxiety in stall

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

  1. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    Start with just a few minutes in the stall and work up from there. Lead him in the stall, tie him and groom him or clean out his feet or whatever. Untie him, walk out and close the door. Correct him if he spins or rears just as you would if he was doing this while you were leading him. When he settles, take him out, but not until he settles. None of mine stall well since they are out all of the time. I have to work up to being able to put them in a stall and leave.
    It is not natural for a prey animal to accept isolation AND containment. They have to be trained or conditioned to it. Small steps.
     
  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Good point, but sometimes when a horse is really honestly freaked out, what he wants is less restraint, and that's the only thing that will help the situation. Oh...I've seen my share of devilish little ponies calculatedly pull back on cross ties and ping 'em out of the wall and quietly jog out the door to eat grass...but all horses aren't like that.

    Years ago at a boarding barn a gal i knew was grooming a new horse in cross ties in a wash rack. The horse panicked. It started scrambling, rearing, throwing its head up very near the beam running across the ceiling of the wash rack...it didn't look good. She went to leap on the horse's head (no, the people there weren't particularly experienced, why do you ask? Lol). That didn't help. The horse continued to scramble, its feet slipping. Finally one of the trainers walked calmly over and unhooked the cross ties, the horse immediately quieted down and stood still.

    I guess my main point is any time you cross tie a horse, don't discount the possibility of panic.
     
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  3. sham373

    sham373 Senior Member

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    Thank you so much for the replies. He does fine and is quiet in the stall as long as I am in his line of vision, whether it be loose, in crossties or tied. When he gets worked up he spins, calls, will start popping up on his hindlegs, and will strike the wall (with front feet). He hasn't ever actually hurt himself, just gets in a panic. I have tied him high and short with a quick release based on a trainer's suggestion and he does not pull but will kick the wall. He crossties fine until left alone and will try to rear and spin. I do feel that him being out 24/7 contributes as he spends little time in a stall, but he has been stalled in the past and never did settle, even after several months. I've tried toys and treats in the stall, he could care less. I also do give him hay when being left but he doesn't pay attention to it at all. I've tried just leaving him thinking eventually he will give up but he doesn't. I board so unfortunately cannot have a smaller animal in with him.

    Our routine is I bring him in and put him in the stall where we groom and tack up. I try to take my time, making it enjoyable for him to be in there, and will walk away for short periods of time, returning while he is calm (trying to reward the good behavior). He doesn't leave the stall until he is calmed and listening. We work and then return to the barn and back in the stall for untacking and grooming.

    Has anyone tried a mirror? http://www.thehorse.com/articles/15050/weaving-in-horses-another-look I've been looking at shatterproof mirrors.
     
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  4. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

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    My horses all tie and cross tie but it seems like if they get wound up, they do a bit better in the cross ties because they only have a certain box of wiggle room... whereas on a single tie, they can swing their butts around and get more leverage to start tugging... it's almost like having more room to start worrying and pacing lets them wind themselves up. I guess it just would depend on the horse.
     
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  5. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

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    Huh. Sorry OP. I have one that is awful to stall too. She's fine if there's food in front of her face but otherwise she kicks, paws, and paces. Her stall rest for an injury lasted 2 days before I decided she was going to hurt herself worse in the stall. I wish I had a better suggestion... it sounds like you're doing everything right...
     
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  6. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    If he didn't settle after several months of stalling, he probably won't. I have a mule like that and, to keep him from tearing the stall up, he gets hobbled and tied when stalled. He is really hard on our pens too when we have him out of the herd and penned up. Even with a buddy, he paces and calls and leans on the fence. He just doesn't like it and doesn't mind telling us he doesn't like it.
     
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  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    In such bad cases, as a last resort, in a chronic and severe problem with an older horse, what amounted to severe phobias, I've occasionally used a low dose of tranquilizer for a few weeks. That's of course something to discuss with a vet. I am no expert on this and it is a little - odd.

    The vet recommended I give what everyone told me was a miniscule amount and wouldn't do a thing. The horse would not be sedated at all, they argued. That's exactly what we want, said the vet.

    He said that a tranquilizer can have a 'paradoxical effect' at very low doses, and he wanted that effect to happen. And in fact, in each case, it worked. The horses stopped 'acting up' in the specific situations. And they were not sedated. At all. It was discontinued after 3 weeks and there were no more problems in either case.

    Something to discuss with a vet.

     
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  8. sham373

    sham373 Senior Member

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    Very interesting... I'll talk to our vet. I want to go to clinics and show this year but am already dreading bringing him places, which is frustrating because he is great other than the separation anxiety o_O
     

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