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separation anxiety solutions

Thanks to everybody for all the suggestions that were made to help solve
Dakota's anxiety problems.  Actually, I should have been more concise in
describing his behavior---he does well by himself, as long as he's the one
going out, he just gets worried when he's left behind and other horses leave
him.  And he does great when in the company of another horse, but of course
we all know that isn't always feasible during real life.

For anybody else that is having problems like this (hopefully not for the
same reasons), here's what the general concensus of suggestions seemed to

1) It was pretty much agreed that Dakota's had his confidence really torn
apart and it needs to be gotten back again.  A solution for a lot of people
has been to spend time alone with him, gradually working him away from
relying on other horses as emotional support.  A lot of good exercises like
trailering him out, tying him to the trailer and just hanging out with me, a
hay bag and a good book, and other variations on that theme.  In short,
showing him Mom is more fun than any bunch of horses (which is the way he
was as a baby, anyway).

2) Pretty close to being another variation on the same theme was putting him
with a John Lyons-type trainer to regain his old relationship with people
and his own self confidence.  JL was the way he was started and he'd
undoubtedly go back to it like a duck to water.  Working him through alot of
baby-step exercises will reinforce what he knew before, and teach him again
he's doing the right thing.  Actually, this is alot of what Karen's been
doing with him with good results.

3) I definitely agree with the concensus that Dakota needs to be in a place
where he can feel safe and secure again.  He's definitely improved worlds
since he's been with Karen.  I agree that the best solution would be for him
to come home and spend his summer with me, and that would be my choice if I
were going to be here consistently.  However, I've already committed to two
different research projects in California, teaching an AAEP seminar in
Phoenix and a symposium back at the Cornell vet school, and won't be around
enough to work with Dakota consistently---and if there's anything the poor
guy needs now, it's consistency.

So, probably the best all-around solution is putting him with a good
trainer.  I've had suggestions of Jeff Worrell in the Central Valley of
California, and Larry Jeffreys in Lancaster, CA (and some others in other
parts of the country that arent as feasible to get him to).  Mark Rashid is
up here in CO, but doesn't seem to be taking horses in for training, he's
doing clinics all over the place.  Both of the above trainers (Jeff and
Larry) are reputable and professional, and have very good reputations, but
does anyone here have any knowledge or experience of either of them?  Other
than this one ill-advised episode, I've always put my horses with the best
professionals I could find, and had good results, so obviously I won't make
*that* mistake again.  Oh well, live and learn.  (I checked with my former
trainers as well, but they all had full barns with a waiting list, not

So, there's the distillation of the suggestions, any other input would be
greatly appreciated.

Thanks also for all the deluge of support as well, guys.  I sure appreciate

Susan G

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