The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:38 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Washington State, USA
I lease my gelding Alexie and I take care of another horse for Lexies owner, A TB named Dexter. They are very attached to each other and call frantically when they aren't within sight. I thought the attachment issues would go away once they settled in at the new barn, but it's been 2 months, with no changes. Lexie has calmed down and is ok as long as I'm next to him he doesn't show much anxiety about it, but Dexter neighs and runs frantically as soon as Lex goes anywhere. Lexie did practically raise him, but it makes working with either horse more difficult. It's more stress for both of them too. I appreciate the fact they're friends within the herd but it's not always easy to accomodate their needs to always be within 10 feet of each other.... The girl who rides Dexter says Lexie is more attached to Dexter than Dexter is to Lexie, but it seems the opposite when I'm with Lexie. So possibly a leadership factor in there too.

Does any one have any creative ideas for helping either horse cope without the other? Thanks. :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:46 am 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:40 pm
Posts: 4733
Location: Belgium
To train two horses to be apart can be very time consuming. You have to work and train them both to teach them to e apart, keep sessions short and get them bac together before fear overtakes them. It is vital to keep both of them busy with something they like to do and also food helps. So at best you do this with two people who are capable of getting a horse's attention in a positive way. The horsed need to learn that fun things happen even when not together and that they will always see each other again.

To avoid this from happening...Normally, when rehoming horses or adding a new horse to the herd, the first 3 weeks I advice to keep the new comers, or the two friends in a new home apart for 12 hours a day so they are used from the start to not see each other and knowing they will see each other nevertheless.

So either you now, train them being apart. It is vital to keep sessions short and keep their attention or (Many people won't like me for it, I know) take them apart where they can not see each other for a few days or even a week and then continue the 12/hour apart regime for 3 weeks. Ussually in my experience the problem is then solved and the horses are in the end more happy for it. Their fear of loosing each other is gone. After that it is vital to keep taking them apart every week for at least 1 hour so the fear habbit will not grow back.

Hope that this is helpful.

Josepha

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:38 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Washington State, USA
Thanks for the tips Josepha! I will give them a try.


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