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Saddle-up Answers - Stable vices


Chrissy wrote -  re stable vices

I have just purchased a 2yr old filly, bought from a video (hence I did not see her stable vices, until she arrived). The problem is that when she is put into the stable she will kick at the walls constantly until someone goes to her. She is attention seeking because she will kick out then look over the door to see if someone is coming. If not she repeats the action. I have ignored her hoping she will get fedup, but to no avail. It is always when there are people on the yard.

She also drags all her bedding into one corner leaving herself nothing on which to lie.

When I am in the stable with her she is fine, I have only seen her kick at the wall on one occasion whilst I was tying up her haynet. I gave her a slap.

She did used to push me around when she first came but we don't have this problem now. She is a real people lover, a beautiful filly, and has a lovely character I would just like to sort out this problem before she has to have shoes on, when then she will do alot of damage.

Additional Info:

The filly is actually out for 24hour grazing and has spent a maximum of 5 days in the stable since I bought her in May.  She kicks the walls if we disappear from her sight in the stable.

Daily she is brought in for feeding, grooming, handling and mouthing and she is of course taught outside to lead, walking, trotting and standing. She had done none of this prior to my getting her. She has a lovely character, a people loving horse, kind gentle and funny.

However the kicking of the walls is so severe that today her back legs are both swollen. I presume this is the result of her kicking the walls on Friday when she had to come in whilst the rest of her pals had the blacksmith. She was in for 3 hours, with a full haynet and in view of them throughout. I was not there so I do not know how much kicking was done but I did notice her bed had been badly thrown about which she has not done for a while. I have not seen the other owner to ask what she got up to yet.

I have ordered matting ready for winter because I am dreading how I will go on when she will only be out if the ground is firm, or for a maximum of 2 hours a day. The matting is for the walls by the way.

Are there any boots which can be left on? I don't like the idea as I'm afraid that may cause more damage.

I've hosed down the legs today but they are obviously very tender, and I'll get the vet out tomorrow if they've not gone down.

At 2 yrs old I am very worried that she is going to do some permanent damage if this problem is not sorted soon.

This problem has been posted to the Saddle-up message board for input from our readers.


ANSWERS

It's an aggravating and not uncommon problem which is NOT easy to cure. She is very young - which is in your favour. I assume she has company in the stable???

I think the best ideas are a combination of any or all of the following:

1. Turn out as often as possible for as long as possible.

2. Use a haynet with very small holes (to make it more of a challenge and keep her occupied longer.

3. Try some stable toys - A small tyre hanging from a rope (about her head height) in the corner of the stable (or even the doorway) might amuse her - or some of those rotating licks with flavoured mineral blocks.

4. More expensive - but almost certainly worthwhile on front wall and door at least are wall mats (rubber.) Deadens the sound (which is part of the appeal) and prevents her hurting herself. Music in the stable may also help.

5. I agree she should not get attention when she does this (it would just encourage her.) But a REMOTE punishment might be worth trying. If you can be nearby, with a good water pistol (or even a hose pipe) a good squirt in the face when she does it is a 'punishment' she WON'T associate with you - but with the 'crime'. (don't get it in her ears.)

The digging up bedding trick is part of the same problem - she's bored! The treatments above should help. I assume she's on straw. If possible, shavings are much harder for her to spread - or you might consider rubber mats (expensive - but pay for themselves over 2 - 5 years in bedding costs alone - let alone labour.) Still need a little bedding to soak up moisture but FAR less.

It's important you try to cure this - and the underlying problem (the boredom) otherwise it will become established - and she may also develop other stable vices.

Any other thoughts from readers?  Please complete the form HERE.

   
 


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