July 8, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: How do you separate bonded horses?

Hi Monty. I’m attempting to separate my gelding from stable mate. He has severe separation anxiety. What do you suggest?

Roxanne Houk-Pease

Monty’s Answer:

Dear Roxanne,

Don’t leave him alone! My best advice is to take him to a neighbor’s place where they have a safe holding facility and leave him near other horses to begin the process of separation. If it is absolutely necessary to leave him alone, he must be left in the safest possible stable, and do that only if there is no other alternative.

Separation anxiety is rapidly becoming one of the most important remedial problems of our time. I suppose with properties becoming smaller, and horses being kept in close proximity, this bonding process is becoming more and more pervasive. Horses are herd animals. They rely upon the presence of other familiar animals to feel safe. It might be a goat, or a sheep, it might even be a dog or a cat.

People can even be a calming influence if the horse regards the person as a friend. There is a lesson in this somewhere. Read my textbook, From My Hands to Yours, as it will expand on many details that I am not able to include in this Question and Answer format. Please read chapter 10, page 178 containing details on separation anxiety.

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