Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has developed an effective method for training horses. It’s training the owners that poses a real problem. Join him as he tackles some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and with problem owners. This week, Clinton will show us how to correct horses’ behavioral problems in the stall.
Some horses have behavioral issues when they’re in stalls. It’s not uncommon, especially when horses are kept in stalls most of the day. Not all horses get along. The easiest way to address any problems between your horses is to simply separate them or move them to an empty stall. When you have a group of horses that are all getting along, that’s great. Leave them be and try not to disrupt the herd dynamics. If you can avoid it, don’t keep switching up the stall assignments every day. Doing so results in face offs and you’ll find a lot of horses begin to squeal, then paw, and then they get irritated and kick a little bit. Simply put, it leads to a squabble. While we’d hope for that to be the end of it, sometimes it’s not the case. It can lead to further behavioral issues that can create dangerous situations.
To avoid these problems, it’s best to rearrange the barn as best you can. Try to put the horse with the most attitude toward the end so he only has one other horse to interact with and a wall. Unfortunately, horses are similar to people—sometimes they just don’t get along. Taking the time to better understand which of your horses get along and which ones don’t will make correcting behavioral problems in the stall easier.
If you are traveling out of town with your horse, try to avoid stopping overnight at boarding facilities. Boarding facilities may result in your horse being stalled near a strange horse that causes them distress. This can revert years of hard work and training and even lead to injury. Instead of stopping at a stable, Clinton keeps his horses on his trailer. He doesn’t take them off because every time you put your horse in a strange environment, you run the risk of picking up bugs and viruses. It’s as simple as that.
Clinton also wants to address horses that weave or pace in the stall. Typically speaking, horses that have nothing to do all day and nowhere to go develop these problems. It intensifies when they don’t get enough turnout, or interaction with other horses. All you need to do is make an effort to give your horse more turnout time in a pasture or interaction with other horses. This could be as easy as keeping the stalls open so that the horses can see each other and have minimal contact between each other. Simply being able to see, smell, and touch another horse helps develop a strong sense of community and established herd dynamics. Isolation is what makes horses go a little crazy. Horses that are really athletic also have higher energy levels and can get bored in stalls, so consider putting some toys inside so they can entertain themselves when they’re not in the pasture. Give your horse a job, give him something to do, and you’ll find that he does much better in the stall. Horses are meant to be mobile, not stand around, so balance barn time with activity and you’ll correct bad behavior.
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