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Pony that can;'t live in
20

seeker · 28/08/2010 20:06

Has anyone advice about dd's pony who goes completely ballistic - to the point of potentially injuring herself - if she is put in a box when there are no other horses visible? If there's a horse either side of her she's fine - but if she's on her own she loses it so much it's scary, and very upsetting. She's the sweetest natured creature in all other respects - it's just this. It usually isn't a problem, she can live out, or in the indoor school if necessary - but it would be so nice to be able to help her a calm down a bit. We've tried a mirror, and it helps a bit - but not enough to make a real difference.

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Pixel · 28/08/2010 20:40

Have you tried having a radio on for her? Some horses find that calming.

Do you have a stable that you can use for the long-term approach? (ie feeding her near the stable each day, gradually moving nearer until she will go in and eat, then leaving her that little bit longer each time).

Have you tried her with a bar or a stall guard across? Maybe she would be less claustrophobic without the door shut.

Are there any other animals that could be within sight if she cannot have a horsey companion? I've heard some horses like to have chickens in their stables or are calmed by a yard cat.

My old pony was like this when he was alone, he was fine when sharing a barn with others. It was horrible to see him in such a state and he was dangerous to handle too (not to mention the amount it cost in churned-up bedding). Fortunately as we had two others it wasn't a problem until he was in his late twenties and was suddenly our only pony and by then it just seemed kinder to let him live out. We knew what had caused it, he was ok until he had a trailer accident and then he became claustrophobic when he was on his own. Maybe if you could get to the bottom of why your pony is like this you could find a solution. Good luck. Smile

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Myleetlepony · 28/08/2010 22:35

I wouldn't leave her in the stable alone at all. I've got a pony like this and it's just not worth the stress to him.
You could try the long training route of bringing the pony from the field alone (when there are no horses in), having a feed in the stable, leaving the door open, allowing pony to explore in and feed on the end of a long rope or lunge line... Gradually seeing if you can progress to shutting the door for a second and increasing... You need a lot of time and patience to do that, it sometimes works. You might still find that the pony would object to seeing other horses taken away from the stables leaving it alone though.

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Myleetlepony · 28/08/2010 22:36

p.s. Be careful with stall guards and bars. If the pony is really upset they lose their sense of self-preservation. Also avoid "letting them get on with it" if anyone suggests that. With a pony this upset you'd probably end up flooding it, and ending up with a worse problem.
It's a tough one.

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seeker · 29/08/2010 06:52

We'll try a radio -thanks. Trouble is, it's not people company she wants, it's horse company.

She'll happily walk into a box, and she'll happily have her feed in there and even usually stand polish off a haynet - it's just if she's there for more than about 10-15 minutes with no other horses around that the problem arises. We do keep her out as much as possible, of course, bu she's an Arab, and gets mud fever, so I worry about her over the winter - particularly if it's as bad as last year.

She's better with a stall guard, but, as you say, it wouldn't be safe to leaver her in case she tried to get under it or something scary like that.

Thank you for all your replies - any more suggestions gratefully recieved!

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Callisto · 29/08/2010 08:50

Does she hack out alone? Is she fine if left alone in the field? Does she load into a horsebox/lorry and travel alone?

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Butkin · 29/08/2010 11:59

We have a hole cut in between each stable with chicken wire covering the hole so they can see/talk to each other but not put their heads through.

We'd never bring one horse/pony in by itself even if this means juggling them. In fact one of the main reasons we keep one of DD's older ponies is to do the nannying job in the stable when others come in for vet/farrier/bad weather etc.

Have you tried loaning a companion - lots of people have older horses/ponies that would do this job and they would be pleased to lend them to you.

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Pixel · 29/08/2010 18:17

I seem to remember you said she was on working livery so I suppose you are limited on options, but is there any way she could go in a paddock with a shelter for the winter? It makes such a difference to mudfever if they get even part of the day (while eating hay) on a dry surface without having the wind and rain on the backs of their legs. My old pony hated the stable but adored his shelter, I think it's what he'd been waiting for his whole life. Smile

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seeker · 29/08/2010 23:17

Callisto - she hacks out alone happily. She's never been in a field on her own, and we've never boxed her anywhere on her own, only with another horse. She was fine with that.

The idea of a field shelter is a good one, but there are quite a lot of horses on the yard, and they are rotated in the fields, so it may not be practical. I'll investigate, though.

She's got scars on her quarters the vet thinks were left by a whip, so I think she's had some very unhappy times in her life. We're thankful really that she's so sweet natured and good in all other respects so we'll just have to deal with her separation anxiety!

There's a picture on my profile if anyone's interested in seeing the "person" we're talking about!

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Callisto · 30/08/2010 09:01

So it is separation anxiety rather than some old stable-related trauma that is making her act like this?

If so I would try and break the habit by slowly building her confidence of being on her own. Horses that have to have another horse with them at all times are a pain in the butt, especially if you're having to rely on other owners.

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Loshad · 30/08/2010 23:09

My mare won't stay in a stable by herself either. she hacks out alone fine, travels to comps alone fine but she has a total hissy fit to the point of possibly injuring herself if left alone in the stable. She's fine with another horse so aquired a very elderly shetland whose only role is stay in the stable next to her if she's in. Works very well for us - the shetland's owners were short of cash to pay for livery etc, so i stump up for all his (tiny amount of !) hay/vits/ etc and his only purpose in life is to calm rosie. He doesn't seem to mind a jot either!
If she's out, so is he, if she's in so is he.

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seeker · 01/09/2010 13:49

Is she completely OK with a companion, loshad? I'm not sure ours would be - she he better if there's someone in the next box, but we've never risked leaving her for long because she's still very tense and anxious even with a friend. Someone suggested we get a sheep to keep in her box with her!

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Loshad · 01/09/2010 20:09

absolutely fine seeker, good job as she's full Tb and even rugged to the hilt can't hack it out during the winter. Sheep can seem to work really well, rosie's terrified of them!! keep meaning to buy a fibreglass sheep from the guy at leeming bar and pop it in her paddock Grin

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Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 02/09/2010 10:09

Fgs! No! I can quite relate to why the suggestion was made, but have, on two seperate occasions, seen a horse and a small pony pick up and toss a sheep into the air! I wouldnt have them in the same field, let alone a box! I don't think it's a good idea to put any other animal into a stable or confined area with a horse which could potentially freak out! You yourself said she was scary! I would try the desensitisation technique ( very very gently) suggested above as a start, and if it doesn't work, consider just living with the problem. If she gets so upset, anything you try is going to upset and stress her. It seems that this poor soul has been abused in a past ownership, let her be as happy with you as she can. Even arabs can grow thick coats when it's cold, resist the urge to rug too soon, and feed lots of hay. There's an Arab at our riding school, who lives out all year round on the side of a boggy hill in Northampton! The most they get there is to stand in a big draughty Dutch barn when the weather is foul! Don't forget how cold it gets at night in the desert!

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seeker · 02/09/2010 16:03

Don't worry - I'm not actually going to get a sheep!!!!!!!

Don't worry, we're not stressing about it or anything - it would just be lovely to be able to tuck her up in a lovely deep bed with a pretty stable rug on when the weather gets bleak. We don't do anything to stress her, i promise - she is very much loved and petted and we never leave her in a box a second more than strictly necessary - honestly. She is so much fatter and happier than when we got her.

I agree about ths icy deserts (although it's dry cold rather than horrible chilly mud) - however she's from Essex!

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Callisto · 02/09/2010 16:10

LOL at your Essex girl Arabian...

Arabians are really hardy, much tougher than they look. Also outdoor rugs these days are really good and great for arctic conditions. You could find a Canadian horsey website and ask for tips on keeping horses in very cold conditions. We tend to mollycoddle our horses far more in this country than anywhere else in the world.

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seeker · 02/09/2010 16:23

She lived out most of last winter, until she got mud fever, then she moved into the indoor school. She was fine - and she has a massive heavyweight rug, so we know she'll be OK this winter too. It's just...she's so delicate looking....... and there's this lovely box...and dd lies in bed worrying about her....and the stable rugs are so much prettier (deeply shallow emoticon)...... Oh all right - we'll chuck her out into the cold and she can just get on with it!

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Loshad · 02/09/2010 21:20

yeah Arabians possibly but TB's not - they are a product of selective breeding and have never had to survive in the wild. i've tried outwintering TB's before (and rosie in fact) and not found it successful.
I do also know of quite a loty of racehores/point to pointers that share their boxes with sheep so it is not an unreasonable suggestion, and as a child my pony lived on a sheep farm, along with my uncle's hunters and point to pointers, and during the summer they all lived out with the sheep. The neighbouring farmers all also had horses/ponies. I've only ever heard of one horse that attacked sheep, and not much evidence to suggest it's a very regular occurrance.

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Mermaid2 · 02/09/2010 21:48

Just as an aside, on my way to the stables, I pass a massive field filled with sheep and there are always two horses in there. Seem to get along from what I can see. Not sure how it would work in stable environment. Good luck with it.

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Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 02/09/2010 22:16

Well, don't say I didn't warn you all, I've actually witnessed it twice! But hey, you never listen to me, I'm always telling you, you know I'm always right in the end..... Oh sorry, thought I was talking to my kids! Grin

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Pixel · 02/09/2010 23:05

We've had sheep in our field all summer. They've had free run of all the paddocks because they just walk under the electric fence and none of the horses have taken much notice after the first day, when they were all freaked-out wrecks and pretending they'd been invaded by aliens. Grin

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