Thursday, September 10, 2015

Horse Psychology

While my camera has been in the shop getting cleaned for a photo shoot for Gabbrielle's sale ads, Gabbrielle has continued to be aggressive toward the geldings.  Each day I attempt to let her re-assimilate into the herd, and she immediately takes her own freedom away by attacking Rock and Bombay.  The second I catch her in the act, I have to stop everything I'm doing, catch her, and relocate her.

It has been a week since she first injured both horses, and since she is still being aggressive, I don't think I can chalk it up to hormones.  She should be in a completely different part of her cycle by now.  On one day she attacked the geldings as I was walking down to the barn to feed them breakfast, so I thought perhaps this was a case of food aggression.  I took her out to the round pen, set a flake of hay in front of her, and started the process of training her to wait for permission to eat.  It turned out that she would not eat until I gave her permission from the get go, so there was nothing to train.

I've been trying to figure out what is going on in her head.  Why would a horse who used to have no problem getting along with other horses suddenly decide that she doesn't want them anywhere near her?

The first few days I put her in the round pen, she ran back and forth along the railing until she was in a frothy sweat.  She got herself overheated and I was worried that she might pass out, so I put her in a covered stall to cool down after walking her a bit.  Interestingly, Lostine and Rock can't seem to care less about Gabbrielle's absence.  Bombay is the one who will stand at the fence calling to her, and he's the one she beats up on the worst.  I suspect that when I find a new home for her, Bombay will be distraught.

My goal is to separate them gradually by having Gabbrielle spend more and more time in a distant location.  She starting to accept being by herself.  The fits she throws are getting fewer and far between.  I continue to take a little time each day to either groom her or take her for a walk, and she is always on her best behavior for me.  The remaining three horses get along just fine and have no problem keeping the peace as long as Gabbrielle isn't within kicking distance of them.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

How are you feeding your hay? Do you use slow feed nets? It seems like I remember you trying them but they didn't work for some reason?

When Rocky was beating up on Chrome (he had new cuts and scrapes daily) I finally realized he was only doing it when they ran out of hay. I free feed round bales, but when they finish one I sometimes can't get a new one that day (still waiting on our winter delivery) so I give them a few flakes from square bales a few times a day. When they run out he was bullying Chrome. Maybe her problem is not having hay to eat all day? Boredom? Rocky is an angel when there is hay available, even eating right next to Chrome. Horses are weird lol.