Eli has been doing well in his new turnout group, not bonding overly strongly to any one horse... he's bonded about equally to all of them. 🤦♀️
I'm not sure what to do here. We can't keep shuffling his turnout because we're going to run out of fields and it's bad to keep disrupting the herds. He's fine when he's out with them. I can go get him from the field (he's starting to walk towards me when I'm close enough), and he's well behaved in the barn as long as I'm with him. I check his leading manners sporadically when I'm bringing him in/ turning him out/ walking to the indoor/ walking around the indoor in hand, making sure he's actually paying attention to me and not searching for his friends.
In the cross ties, I've taught him he is to stand without fidgeting or pawing, and for the most part he's pretty good and listens to the word "stand" when I walk away. It's been pretty effective for personal space when the cookies are out too.
|Not intensely watching as I disappear around a corner, which is good.
Problem: He screams and worries, a lot, when he thinks he's "alone." I put alone in quotes because very rarely has he actually been alone. When I go out of sight, whether he's alone or not, he'll call for me. I had him call for me when I walked away to get his fly sheet and there were two people and a horse standing right in front of him. One tried to give him attention but he had a head tossing tantrum instead. He also screams for several hours when the horses come in. He'll look out his window or scream to herd mates who are in the barn (thankfully none of them answer). He is in a barn full of horses, yet he feels alone. He's starting to stall walk. Every few days, he's a spooky shit coming in from the field and at 17.1, a handful of the staff won't handle him (mostly the ones who don't have a ton of horse experience).
Eli is pretty insecure. He's happiest turned out with his herd or with me. I'm not sure what to do here, aside from keep going with his schedule and hope with time, he'll figure it out. Putting him on field board isn't an option- he'd spend half the day 1:1 with a single horse and become super attached to that horse. It's having a minor effect when riding him. He's become spooky and nervous, however when I remember that I can in fact ride properly (thank you Mary Wanless), he settles right down and relaxes and swings through his back. I've been riding him alone and long lining him so he continues to build confidence being alone. Food doesn't seem to prevent it- he comes into a stall with grain and hay and screams anyway. He's happy one on one with me.
|Maybe he needs his own critter. Like a cat. Not these cats though, they're my confir creatures. Maybe a goat.
Ideas? Has anyone had this kind of attachment issue?