How to deal with separation anxiety with help from Jason Webb

Lots of horses get anxious when they are away from their best buddy

Lots of horses get anxious when they are away from their best buddy

Jason Webb of Australian Horse Training is a renowned UK based horse trainer with a passion for starting young horses, solving equine problems and teaching riders of all abilities and ambitions how to develop and strengthen the partnership they have with their horses. Here he helps a reader with an older pony who has separation anxiety

Question: My 20-year-old pony has suddenly developed separation anxiety. If I take my daughter and her two ponies to a competition and she’s off riding the other one, the older one (who was fine until a month ago) has a complete meltdown if he’s left standing at the lorry. Why now, after all these years, and how do I resolve it?

Helen Silvester Burnop

Jason Answers: My Question to this is, have you changed your pony’s routine, put him in a different paddock or moved from a group of horses to just your ponies on their own? Sometimes this can cause this type of anxiety and the more established your horse is in a routine the more likely it is. 

Time usually fixes this, but what can you do? You could introduce them back into a group of horses, if that is possible. Another simple change is to always bring the less anxious horse to the other when handling, particularly when turning out and bringing in. Lead the more anxious horse in, tie them up and then go and get the quieter of the two. This teaches the anxious horse that movement doesn't get them to their mate, waiting and being patient does. This will take time, but should soften the problem. Tying up is great when using this technique. The key to this working is to make sure they are standing and paying attention to you before you move them from where they are tied. I use an exercise called standing on the tie which is part of my Your Horsemanship online training programme, so feel free to go and check it out. 

Hope this advice helps. For more info go to https://australianhorsetraining.co.uk

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Want to learn more from Jason Webb? Then grab yourself a copy of the June issue of the magazine, which has a free and very fantastic DVD containing 100 minutes of advice from the man himself. You can buy a copy here