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Re: need help with separation anxiety issues in young horse

Sounds like you have done far more for your horse than most trainers can
ever do with him. Just my opinion, but it seems as if your horse is better
off with your training even if it is not as consistant as you would like. It
may be a long road, but with miles and your care it will be worth it to you.
Years ago I was offered a beautiful (but abused) 12 year old Arab gelding
that came with *many* emotional problems. My dream was to someday do
endurance riding, and little did I know, he was far from an ideal endurance
horse. From conformation, a past suspensory injury, to anxiety problems (and
mental challenges from abuse),  boy was I in for a challenging / learning
experience. When I first got him I could not ride him with other horses. He
would prance the whole way, he would be covered in white froth, and I could
literally feel his heart pounding as I sat ontop him with the saddle! I
really feared he would have a heart attack from his intense anxiety around
other horses. Most people thought I was nuts to even consider the slightest
thought of entertaining even a casual trail ride with this guy. As a young
girl,  I was so in love with this horse and kept the blind faith . I think
it took a couple years of fun LSD riding on the trails alone, before I ever
attempted to ride with a friend/buddy. It took another two more years of fun
LSD before Classy could mentally handle riding with a group and at any kind
of speed.
I think it wasn't until Classy was 16 before we tried our first 50 miler.
His anxiety got the best of him on the first ride -- he started "thumping".
The second fifty he was way too anxious, and again started "thumping". The
third fifty (after more at home training) we finally made it with all A's
(but he was barely thumping). As he did more and more slow miles his anxiety
eased tremendously, but was still there. Our first few hundred miles I
battled with myself feeling incredibly guilty and selfish for doing
endurance with this horse, but it was the wonderful and supportive vets at
the rides, like Barney, that helped  encourage me to keep going with him.
When Classy started to relax in the rides his "thumping" diminished. At the
age of 18 (last year) he finally became a joy to ride in the rides. He even
completed a tough 80 miler and 65 miler RELAXED and happy.
Whew! Classy was such a challenge/ learning experience that I value very
much . However, It was a long grueling road, but well worth it. Hang in
there and good luck to you and your horse!
----- Original Message -----
From: Susan Garlinghouse <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2001 12:57 PM
Subject: RC: need help with separation anxiety issues in young horse

> Hey guys, I need some input here.
> I have a very nice coming-five-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding that is having
> some problems, and I need to figure out the best course of action for him.
> A brief background---I bred and raised him myself, he was *perfect*, would
> do anything with total aplomb and absolute willingness.    This horse is
> an airhead.  I started him under saddle and he spent six months with a
> trainer in So Cal learning his basics.  And showed in a junior hunter
> saddle flat class where he took everything absolutely in stride, never
> turned a hair.
> When I moved up to Colorado to start vet school, I was way too gullible
> trusting and put him for 'training' in with someone I thought was a
> the now defunct Visions of the Wind business entity.  A long and fairly
> horrifying story, but the short end of it was that nine months later, the
> horse I rescued back was 200 lbs thinner, untrained or conditioned, his
> floor-length tail had been chewed off from having been turned out with
> strange horses willy-nilly, his tack was broken from his having been tied
> the bit and my perfectly behaved and brought up youngster's attitude was a
> toal 180 degrees turnabout.  He was afraid of the shoer, startled and
> anxious at every little thing, no longer tied without panicking, no longer
> responds to the cues and leads he was taught, and from having shown
> successfully at the Del Mar Nationals a year before, his appearance looked
> like something the BLM would be ashamed asking a $100 adoption fee for.
> to mention that I was out thousands of dollars I'd paid up front, but the
> bankruptcy courts let you get away with anything if you get weepy enough
> tell a good bedtime story.  But that's another issue.
> The bottom line is that he's been with Karen Chaton since last August and
> she's done a *terrific* job of working through the unspeakable abuse and
> neglect that my horse went through.  His health is finally back where it
> should be, he's back on track with his conditioning and most of the
> problems (shoeing, etc) have been taken care of.
> The only remaining problem is that when Dakota origially came back form
> this....person....he suddenly had alot of anxiety about being separated
> other horses, and the problem hasn't resolved with time.  He starts pacing
> and calling, running up and down fences, working up a sweat, the whole
> thing.  He'd never done that before.  We've given him some time and work
> let him get the idea that he's in a better place now, but he still seems
> be really anxious about being alone.  H's good out on the trail, alone or
> groups, but really gets upset when trailered out to strange places, big
> strange groups and so on.
> What are everybody else's experiences with working these problems through?
> Karen is going to be tied up with XP this summer, so I have the options of
> bringing him home and working with him myself (which wouldnt be consistent
> because of my own schedule), or putting him with a back-to-basics
> (professional and reputable) trainer who deals with behavior problems, or
> can put him with another endurance training center (also professional and
> reputable, see, I've learned my lesson) that will keep up with the
> conditioning, but doesn't necessarily directly address the anxiety issue,
> and hope he works through it with time.
> Any suggestions or input would be appreciated.
> Susan G
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