Separation anxiety is a common problem in horses and can be very frustrating and stressful for their owners. Equine behaviourist Justine Harrison has 5 tips to resolve the issue.
The key to dealing with separation anxiety is to change how the horse feels about being alone very gradually, so as not to reinforce his fear. Remember you should never force your horse to leave other horses, or punish him if he is anxious- this will only make the situation worse.
1. Reward good behaviour
Always reward your horse for any separation, no matter how small.
2. Plan ahead
Plan any programme carefully and take it one step at a time.
Don't ask too much in one session and always end on a good note.
4. No rushing
Go at your horse's pace- make sure his fear of being alone is never reinforced.
5. Don't leave him alone
Make sure nobody at the yard leaves your horse alone in the field or stable if he has separation anxiety, as this will make matters worse.
If he only as good experiences while separated from his friends, and the length of time spent apart is increased a little at a time he will soon gain confidence.
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