Piepony (sorry don't know your real name or if you have given it on here or not
) that is an interesting question. I had never considered ulcers before but now that i read about it, it is very likely that Jelli has some...however I don't feel right about giving her drugs without getting her tested just in case...but if there was a herbal remedy...some plants missing from
the pasture or even perhaps they are in the pasture and she is self medicating it would be interesting to know what they were...
Back to Inge's original question...
Before I bacome familiar with AND and the natural lifestyle for my horses they were stabled 12 to 14 hours a day (overnight) and had access to only a small pasture during the day. As it was winter there was no grazing and I fed them hay twice a day in the pasture and again at night, they were also fed grain and minerals twice a day with salt blocks in their stables.
Jelli used to chew her stable walls, Sanni didn't as far as i know (the walls had been chewed up pretty badly by another horse previous to her arriving so it was kind of hard to tell). Jelli didn't windsuck but she did eat the wood, all the horses also ate the wooden fence poles in the pasture, to the point where the poles broken in half and looked like a beaver had been at them. Then when I learnt that horses need food all the time i thought it was down to them being hungry and needing to eat.
However, when implemanting the paddock paradise system I have had reason to rethink this, sure i think it was a little to do with food but also about being enclosed in a small area and even though there were other horses (4 in all) they were bored and restless and needed something to focus their attention on.
Sometimes now, Sanni and Jelli will get sort of stuck in one area of the paddock paradise system and instead of moving around to find more food when it runs out in that area, they will start displaying signs of being enclosed in a small barren paddock once again.
They will start pacing around the area, chewing on inedible things (fence poles or the shelter wall if they get stuck in the shelter) and Sanni will start displaying more signs of aggression to Jelli than she normally does. I have tried going to them and showing them the way out but it doesn't seem to work, they will follow me to boundary of the area (where there would probably be a fence or gate if it really was a small paddock) and then turn back and the pacing and wood chewing begins again.
It has gotten less and less as they have got used to to the system more but occasionaly it still happens, more to Sanni than Jelli. Jelli will sometimes wander off and leave Sanni behind and then Sanni will get stressed and start calling and it takes her a while to remember that she can just go there, there is no gate or fence stopping her. It happened a lot when i used to feed them in the shelter in the evenings, purely because it was right next to the barn, they would come in and wait for me and then i would feed them and after that Jelli would leave but Sanni would stay there, pacing, as though she was trapped and stabled for the night. A couple of nights (i had a small baby and so was up a lot at nights at this point) she would be in there all night until around 6am effectively stabling herself at nights but pacing and calling to Jelli causing panic and stress in Jelli as well as herself. Now i just take the feed to them wherever they are on the paddock at feed times. they are much calmer these days but do sometimes get stuck in certain areas and then spend hours there looking sad and uncared for as i must be starving them...there is no food in their immediate area.
I do wonder at what it could be. Is it feelings of safety by staying in a small familiar area? Is it some sort of psycological damage at being kept in small paddocks and stables for much of their lives? Is it just that they forget sometimes that they can move around as much as they like and find their own food - they are no longer dependant on me to bring it to them at certain of the day? Do they sometimes feel a little lost without the regular feeding times and have yet to develop their own feeding and daily rythm and possibly crave a little more imposed structure in their lives similar to that which the lead horse would give them? I wonder this last one a lot because Sanni, whilst being the dominant one, is not a leader, she can't make Jelli do anything unless fear is involved and has to tell her over and over again to do things and perhaps she feels lost at times without having a leader herself telling her where to go and when and taking over the responsibility, as she has had this her whole life with humans. It could be a period of growth for her as she learns that she needs to change to become the leader and keep them moving to food or she has to let Jelli take over as Jelli has no problem moving around and finding food if Sanni just leaves her alone.
I know this isn't quite the "unwanted behaviour" you were taking about Inge but it is interesting behvaiour that has come about from years of being stabled and not given 24/7 hay access I believe. And yes, I do see it deminishing and improving now that they are out 24/7 with free choice hay and lots of grazing, browsing, exploring and walking to do and their own free choice of when to do it. Very occasionly they will have a little chew on a fence post these days but mostly not, they use them as scratch posts these days
Jelli has another sign of stress that she used to do all the time. i guess it is an "unwanted behaviour" in that i didn't like it happening but because it showed signs of stress and i didn't want her stressed, not because it was "naughty". she stretches her neck out, tilts her head to one side so that one eye is pointing up and one down and then sticks her tongue out and sort of "gurns". She used to do this all the time: if she was in her stable for a long time, if other horses were being moved around outside her stable, if humans were in the stable block for too long a period of time, if you wanted to put her halter on and take her out of her stable, if you wanted to move her from the paddock, if she was cross tied, during grooming, during tacking up (putting saddle and bridle on), especially when girth was being tightened and sometimes i have seen her doing it on her own just standing around in the pasture. I hadn't noticed her doing this for a long time until a couple of days ago. We had a training session involving putting the halter on. As soon as she saw me putting a halter on Sanni, it started, before i had even approached her. whether this was because she was worried I was going to take Sanni away or she didn't want me to do it to her or she just didn't like that i was doing it to Sanni, i'm not sure. I think she just looked at the situation and saw stress. Interestingly, when it was her turn she did the same head stretching thing until I knelt on the floor to do it and let her come to me and didn't follow her with the halter when she pulled away. then she felt less stress and pressure and it stopped.
So again yes she used to do it all the time back in the old way of doing things but I see it less and less now and when I do I know it is a sign that i am putting too much pressure on her and she needs me to back off. So yes, the AND is deffinitely helping reduce the "unwanted behaviour" as the stress in the horse goes down.
I believe that these unwanted behaviours we talk about in horses are actually very useful to us, and should be looked upon as a sign of the horses feelings and emtional state and not punnished. i find the idea of putting an electric collar around a horses neck deeply disturbing. How is this different to whipping or beating a horse?
It causes fear and panick but worse, it causes fear and panic that a horse can not escape from, the thing is attached to them. Perhaps people use them thinking that as they are not touching the horse the horse will not understand that a human is punnishing them and only that the thing the are doing is punnishing them but horses are not stupid, they will know that it is a human putting this collar around their necks, just as AMA's dog knew that it was the human putting this thing around their neck. AMA, i am not trying to say that the sitronella collar was in anyway like the electric one or that it was a bad thing. please don't take my comment as such.
People want a quick fix to everything and there are no quick fixes to pyscoloigal problems and sometimes there are no fixes at all. we have to deal with them like we would if it was happening in humans, with understanding and empathy and try to find the root of the problem not zap them with electric or fill them with drugs to stop the symtoms showing. but then i guess i am preaching to the choir here
and we all at AND understand this.
i don't believe these collars are the same as electric fences if the fence is used responsibly, of course there are ways of abusing everything. But a horse CAN escape from the electric fence, it can simply move away, it does not feel chased or hunted by the fence, the fence does not move with it threatening always to attack again. Imagine as a prey animal having something attached to you that was causing you fear...
And no matter what you did you couldn't eacape it, it was always there, pressuring you, you were always aware of its pressence sitting there manovolently, just waiting for you to put a foot wrong and then - zap! It makes me shudder just to think about it and i am a hunter not a prey animal.
It also makes me wonder what sort of riding issues people will have if they use this system. After the horse has developed a fear of one thing put there by humans that it can not escape and that "gets" it if it does wrong, when you then put an actual human on its back...well...you can imagine the potential for damage there. Does the horse just switch off or go crazy, bucking and rearing at the slightest sign of pressure? Maybe some horses will be outwardly Ok but surely they will be suffering huge internal and emotional problems and probably more "unwanted behaviours" would manifest themselves in other areas. No good can come of it, that is my opinion on the matter.