How do I keep my horses from developing separation anxiety?
I’m moving my gelding soon to a little farm that I’m renting. Small 3 stall barn, one 2-3 acre pasture and one ‘quarantine’ paddock against the barn, which is across the drive from the pasture (so no shared fence line). I have one ‘boarder’/half-lease situation lined up, with a little 3 year old mare that is weaned but owner wants to get away from her dam (I believe they currently share a fence line) and have someone handle her daily. My horse is currently and has usually been at big hunter boarding barns, with solo or group turnout, but has been at a much smaller place with just 3-5 horses and was fine.
My concern is with just the two of them, and more specifically the only other horse being a mare, that he might get attached and become a pain to ride or bring up alone for grooming/baths/etc. I’ve read some horror stories on here under the ‘separation anxiety’ tag and really want to prevent such things. Ultimately I’d like to be able to hack down the road or take the mare on educational hand walks on the trails without having someone lose their cool.
My first instinct would be to turn them out in separate paddocks to prevent this, but the smaller one is small enough to really be more of a run. I could rotate them back and forth between the bigger and smaller, but I don’t want to cause a different problem by disrupting their routine every day. Lastly, I potentially could run step in posts and hot tape and divide the bigger pasture, but there is only one gate so I’d be walking a lot further to turn out in the lower section, and it would add another water trough and longer hose, as well as the expense and maintenance of the hot tape. I am willing to do these things, but a little overwhelmed (and maybe worrying about a problem that isn’t there?).
Does anyone have thoughts or suggestions on a routine or set up that might help prevent attachment issues? I was thinking of starting from day 1 having one hang out in the barn alone for a bit after the other goes out, bringing up one and feeding some yummy treats and hay in the stall and then turning back out, etc.