Friday, June 4, 2010

How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Horses

No matter what words you use to define it, separation anxiety, buddy sour, or herd bound, it's a difficult problem for a lot of horse owners to remedy.

Depending on the type and severity of the problem, here are some recommendations to consider.

Equine Separation Anxiety (relating to emotional grief)

There are two periods where a foal is particularly susceptible to developing a dependence on other horses: the imprinting period and the weaning period.


Weaning. Having to separate a foal from its mother.

Note: If you do put your foal in direct contact with other horses during the weaning process try to ensure he isn’t paired with just one horse for an extended period of time. This will help prevent an unhealthy dependence on another horse that would put him at high risk for future emotional problems.

A horse that has difficulty being separated from the horse, or horses, he is attached to. Example: Two mares are closely bonded. The distress begins when you take one away from the other. Most mares that have a special buddy generally will bond to a substitute, or at least calm a bit by having a surrogate companion.

Natural Remedies, using the drug free approach to help the horse balance emotions and more easily adjust to the situation are:

Bach Flower Remedies

Centaury (Centaurium erythraca or C. umbellatum)

Personality Type

The Centuary horse is quiet, willing and usually calm. He is dominated by all other horses and does not defend himself very well. When ridden in a group situation he becomes tired more quickly than the other horses. As a foal, this type of horse is slow to wean and does not want to leave his mother even when the mare tries to push him away. He may protest the weaning process for a long time and, even when he accepts it, he will stay close to his mother if allowed to rejoin her. Because he is content to follow other horses this type of horse makes a great school horse.

Key Characteristics

Dominated by other horses, he works best with a group

When To Use Centuary

During a foal's weaning process.
Separating a horse from one group of horses and introducing him to a new group.

Red Chestnut

Personality Type

The horse will remain calm and unaffected by surroundings in all situations except when separated from his companions. He becomes very agitated and suffers from severe separation anxiety.

Clinical Uses

Weaning. Having to separate a foal from its mother. It will decrease the anxiety in both foal and dam.

A horse that has difficulty being separated from another horse, or horses, they have become attached to.

Homeopathic Remedy for Separation Anxiety (relating to emotional grief)

Ignatia amara 30c potency

Ignatia is indicated for acute grief events and emotional shocks, mainly related to relationships. Any broken heart situation should be remedied by Ignatia.

The Ignatia picture is one of changeable moods! Homeopaths frequently refer to it as the "homeopathic Valium" (without the side effects of course) as it is also used in any event where the patient is upset from: bad news, disappointment (especially in relationships with friends, family, children, etc.), apprehension and jealousy.

It is also called the rehearsal remedy as the mental state is one of replaying old and painful memories, over and over again so that they remain full of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.

Training Method to Cure Buddy Sour or Herd Bound Horses

Most horses become herd bound during their earliest months of life. This is due to a bonding of trust not having been established between the animal and humans. A foal should experience human interaction and contact early on and often so that the bonding can take place.

Horses penned together can easily become dependent, or buddy sour, and suffer from separation anxiety while being ridden individually or involved in separated activities. Instead of letting the horse reach a of anxiety which may cause them to injure themselves, become ill, or prone to an accident, you need to cure the horse of their co-dependency. Learn how to cure a buddy sour horse by watching this training, video tutorial from an expert horse trainer.

Homeopathy to the Rescue for Buddy Sour Horses

Stramonium 30c

Stramonium is a remedy for extreme fear leading to violent behaviour.
This can stem from an intense fear of being hurt or from being left behind - these animals dread abandonment.

Specific fears for the Stramonium horse are reflections in still water or the sight and sound of running water.

Also, claustrophobia or a fear of tunnels can be seen. They sometimes have twitches or ticks.

At worst this can manifest as epilepsy or fits. They are better for being in company and being warm. One bizarre feature of a Stramonium patient is that conditions, which are usually very painful, appear painless in these individuals.

Homeopathic Dosing Instructions for Horses Complete guidelines using Pet Remedy Charts.

You can order Bach Flower Essences and homeopathic remedies online or find them at your local Health Food Store. Some local pharmacies might even carry them (call ahead to make sure).

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