My Horses Don’t Like Being Separated at Shows

q: I have two geldings and we don’t have space – and I don’t have the time or the money – for a third.

My problem is how overly attached they are to each other.

They graze together, obviously, and I ride and lead when hacking, and even when I am schooling, one is in a yard overlooking the arena.

So, the only time they are separated is at shows.

The one I am riding is fine (either one), but whoever is left at the truck by himself digs holes, calls out and gets very distressed, even with a haynet and with other horses nearby.

How can I get them to harden up a bit about short periods of time apart?

Thanks for your advice.

Mandy, Southland

Hi Mandy,

Years ago we sold a mare called Whitey who’d been running with my wife’s gelding Kip.

A few years later we gave Whitey and her owner a lift to Canberra Show.

They arrived on the morning of our departure and although Kip hadn’t seen Whitey since she left our property, he immediately pricked his ears, whinnied and called to her.

Whitey whinnied back.

They certainly hadn’t forgotten each other and they were obviously very excited to see each other again.

The simple fact is that horses are horses and they become attached to each other.

The only way to overcome your problem is to separate your horses when they’re at home.

It would be best if they can’t see each other.

They may run around and whinny for a few days but they’ll eventually get over it.

When you ride one horse, leave the other horse in a yard or paddock where he can’t see his mate.

Work each of your horses separately and make sure that they have consistent exercise.

Also make sure that they’re not overfed.

Feeding and managing your horse is explained in my book

When you go to a show, give the horse at the truck something else to think about when his friend is away.

Have someone lunge the horse or ride him while you’re away.

This will take his mind off his friend and make him think about the lesson he’s being given.

Read my book here