Subject: Re: My 8 yr. old quarterhorse
My 8 yr. old quarterhorse has always been very gentle and well behaved. But just this summer he has thrown a friend off and threw me off last week. He bucks a little when I try to run him and it's very annoying. He is a very big horse but never acted this way until this summer after I bought a new horse to replace his "buddy" who was getting old. If I try to take him out riding alone he really acts up and gets so nervous! I got the new horse in July and he's a good horse under saddle but a little nervous. Can nervousness rub off onto another horse? It does on some people I know! Do you have any suggestions or should I have a trainer put some time on him to get him back in line?
Jean in North Dakota.
I have never known nervousness to spread to the other horses. Although horse (any animal) also learns by emulating what they see around them. I don't believe this is the case in your 8 yr.old. I believe he is upset over his loss, and it will take a while for him to accept the fact that his 'buddy' is no longer around. He has to accept the fact that if he is to continue to be social he will have to do so with the new horse on the block.
Now his bucking at this time of his life is an unusual behavior. Have him examined by your veterinarian to rule out any physiological probabilities. Once this is ruled out it then becomes a matter of the amount to attention from you he needs at this time. We are all guilty of slightly ignoring the other horse/s when we have a new one. The behavior that we experience from them during this time, is not much different than that of an ignored child. They do whatever it takes for you to give them the attention they seek, even though they know they will sometimes suffer a few consequences for their bad behavior.
It seems I can not stress this 'hugging thing' enough. I totally believe in its' positive reinforcing affect. Try this tactic, see if it works for you and let us know how it goes. Good Luck!
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