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I think my new horse is depressed!

(34 Posts)
Freddorika Mon 20-Feb-17 19:55:15

He arrived on Friday. He's lovely and we've been out and about, to a show, a lesson and hacking. His owner said he thrives on work and to get cracking straight away. He's in at night and out in the day. Yesterday and today I've noticed that when he's out he just stands staring at the hedge. Like a statue. It's quite weird. I can go up to him and pat him and he looks at me briefly and then goes back to staring at the hedge! I have two others in the field (separated at the moment) so he's not alone. Is this normal??

frostyfingers Tue 21-Feb-17 14:26:37

My new horse did this (and still does to some extent). When I bought him he was used to being stabled pretty much 24/7 apart from working, exercising and brief periods on a walker. I kept him in for a couple of days and then turned him out, first just during the day and not long after all the time. For at least the first month he ate a little and then just looked (at what I have no idea) - sometimes the grass he was eating just fell out of his mouth he was so distracted! Quite often I find him just looking into the middle distance at nothing in particular.

No idea why yours would be staring at the hedge but I'd give him a while to settle - could you move him into a different field and see what happens?

Garnethair Tue 21-Feb-17 15:23:05

He sounds shut down. Is he eating ok?

LowDudgeon Tue 21-Feb-17 15:37:25

They'll be missing the place they've left & the people, won't they? A dog would, & horses are pretty smart.

(NB I'm not a horse person, it's just what I'd have assumed)

Freddorika Tue 21-Feb-17 19:12:03

He's eating OK. When he's ridden and in his stable he's very cheerful. When I turn him out he just looks as though he doesn't know what to do!

Garnethair Tue 21-Feb-17 19:13:19

Chuck some hay down for him when he's out? Hay solves everything here!

Freddorika Tue 21-Feb-17 19:16:11

Yes he has lots of hay. We don't have much grass. He didn't like the hay feeder so I put a load down by where he was stood staring at the hedge and he did put his head down and eat that

Freddorika Tue 21-Feb-17 19:16:33

Maybe I'll put the pony in with him

QuestionableMouse Tue 21-Feb-17 19:23:03

If he's mostly been stabled he's probably quite puzzled by this great outdoors lark. Having a friend in will probably help, as would scattering his hay about a bit more to encourage him to wander about.

I used to look after a mare who hated to be turned out. She'd go out, buck/fart/roll and then come back to the gate to come back in.

MasterOfMuppets Wed 22-Feb-17 11:13:05

Could he be watching for the 'monsters'? Is his posture relaxed or alert? Giving him hay loose sounds like a good idea.

Giving him company may help him relax if anxiety of keeping watch for danger.

beansbananas Wed 22-Feb-17 11:26:39

Poor little thing. I'm not a horse expert, but I too think a bit of company with your friendliest horse will hopefully help. He sounds lonely and overwhelmed by the new surroundings.

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 11:37:16

He has two others right next to him but seperated by electric tape.

He doesn't particuarly seem anxious. No eye-rolling, no jerking away when I pat him, no snorting etc

He just...stares. I suspect he wasn't turned out as much as they said he was.

redcaryellowcar Wed 22-Feb-17 11:37:59

If pop him in with some friendly ponies, could you find him some toys? You used to be able to buy feeder balls which you put pony bits or similar in, hang a swede from a tree?

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 11:51:21

I am going to put my little pony in with him at the weekend. Just wanted a week for them to get used to each other. My other horse will bite him hmm.

SteppingOnToes Wed 22-Feb-17 12:01:35

My competition horse was like this when I got him - just vacant. He had be institutionalised in a stable and had to learn how to be a horse again. He's now chilled in the field and interacts with other horses.

Company in an adjacent field isn't actually company as they cannot interact. I'd introduce the quietest one and then the other a couple days. He'll soon turn around smile

Sweepingchange Wed 22-Feb-17 12:03:50

Yes, was going to say he sounds like he has been stabled more than the previous owner said. Hope he settles in soon.

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 12:17:00

He is quite sharp (he is a competition horse). I wonder if keeping him out with a very friendly little pony might chill him out a bit. Thanks all. He definitely perks up when in work.

Frouby Wed 22-Feb-17 12:22:23

Probably doesn't know what to do with himself. Might be waiting for 'permission' to do normal things bless him.

My pony went a bit like this after an op and 6 months boxrest. Took months to integrate her back with the others and for her to be normal.

Either that or you have a philosopher on your hands and he is contemplating deep and serious matters.

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 12:22:57

Lol thats what dh said. He's planning his getaway grin

QuestionableMouse Wed 22-Feb-17 12:27:26

Is he German bred by any chance? A lot of the dressage horses (especially those who have come through the auctions) seem not to have a clue about turn out.

Frouby Wed 22-Feb-17 12:27:47

He is possibly an evil genius plotting your demise and planning a getaway trailer to retire to a life of luxury over the border!

Chuck your friendly pony in with him. Might be a bit of argy bargy to start with but they will soon settle down once small friendly pony has established he is boss and big event horse is his minion.

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 12:29:03


Small pony is obsessed with him hmm So far he is ignoring small pony and avoiding huge face of terrifying massive horse in next field who WILL take a chunk out of him as soon as he gets near enough

Freddorika Wed 22-Feb-17 12:30:21

No hes a welsh x tb

His owner said he was turned out in the day and in at night and vice versa in the summer

tattychicken Wed 22-Feb-17 13:02:41

If you got him on Friday, i.e. only a few days ago, and you've already been to show and a lesson and out hacking, he may just be a bit overwhelmed. That's a lot of change in a very short time, give him a chance to settle and get used to you. New home, different routine, different people and horses all take time to get used to, however confident he is.

SteppingOnToes Wed 22-Feb-17 15:40:50

Tatty chicken - that's the worse thing you can do with a competition horse. It's an upset to their routine, they suddenly have a lot more energy with no work and you then are sitting on a ticking time bomb. The horse is described as sharp so I think the OP is doing the right thing by keeping him in the work routine he is used to. You don't give them a few days off to settle when you go to a 3DE which can be 5 days away from home.

Also getting on board before the horse has settled allows you to get a bond whilst the horse is unsure and looking to you for reassurance. Leave it a couple of weeks till they are testing boundaries and it makes getting on so much more difficult.

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