I recently got my horse, an OTTB, back after a two year illness (mine) and he was moved to a new facility. He was placed in a run with three other horses - one a mare in season. They bonded immediately and to the point where my horse gets separation anxiety when I remove him for schooling and rides. It has been five weeks. On some days he is a perfect gentleman. The next he is squirrelly, jiggy, hard to manage, hollering, and tries to go every direction except where I am asking him to go. I have worked with him on the ground (moving him around when he hollers or loses focus on me, and trying to get him to relax). In the saddle I have been trying a lot of different things to get him to relax and pay attention to me while trying to remain patient and relaxed and careful to remove pressure when I get the desired behavior, no matter how slight. I keep mouth contact light. We always end on a positive note, no matter how minor. But it is not improving. Once he gets into the reactive brain, his reasoning brain is left behind. Saddle fit is good. No soreness that I can find. Bit is what he has used for years - A Happy Mouth jointed D-snaffle. Teeth are good. He gets almost daily turnout for several hours. Feeding is good. At best it is no fun at all. At worst, we are toeing the line on what I am capable of handling in the saddle (on those days I get off and work him on the ground). I am asking the owner of the facility if we can try separating him and maybe moving him around to several different runs. He is 15 and I have had him since he was three and he has never behaved like this - usually a steady, level-headed guy (with a rare “idiot day” here and there, haha). Suggestions welcome. Thanks!
Yes- separate him. Some geldings just can’t live with mares and not loose their brains. Some can’t even be beside them and need to be separated by several paddocks. If I have a overly buddy attached horse, my first go to is to make them live alone or play around with the turn out dynamic to find someone to whom they don’t get so attached.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Working with barn owner… no options for moving yet, but there will be soon. Hooves crossed.