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Mystery equine behavior: Horse keeps returning to the same place

I have owned my horse for over 10 years now and for the last 3 to 4 weeks he has been acting really strange. He is fine in the stable and when being ridden, lunged etc but is acting strangely when he is in the field. He keeps going back to one particular corner in the field and keeps turning round in circles. When I call him he looks up and takes a few strides as if he is going to come down, but he then just circles and goes back to the corner.

On another point, he keeps galloping down from one end to the other of the field neighing for the other horses, but the other horses are out in the field with him. He is usually a very good natured horse and very calm to lead. But he has started jog trotting all the way down from the field and trying to pull away at every opportunity he can. He has even started to turn away from me when I try to catch him, but will always come to food. I am just a bit concerned as he has never been like this before, and if there is any advice that you could possibly give me it would be great.

Thank you,
Toni, Essex, England

Thank you for your question, Toni. Let me ask you just a couple of questions first. Has anything changed in the horse's life at all; different horses in the group, change in feed patterns or schedule, change in exercise schedule, anything at all? How old is this horse and, from your email, it sounds like a gelding? Does he get a break from his routine occasionally? Have you changed his saddle or other equipment in any way? Usually, when there is an abrupt change in a horse's behavior, it can be traced to some change in his environment, feed, schedule, herd mates, something that he has begun to react to. Please review this question in your mind and let me know anything that has occurred that may be different in his life.

Yes my horse is a gelding and he is 10 years old. I have been thinking about it and a couple of horses left our yard about 6 weeks ago, my horse is always acting like king of the field. There used to be so many horses in our field and now it is down to 5, which is a very small amount considering how much grazing we have. My horse's mum is still in the same field and has been for years. They were separated when he was weaned and was also separated for about a year when he was about 3 or 4. They are not always together but there is still a bit of a bond with each other. My friend owns my horses mum and is going to be moving her away soon as they are moving to Ireland. Is there anything that I can do to try and make it less stressful for him? His schedule hasn't really changed, and he occasionally gets a break from it. But generally everything is still the same.

Horses have a big emotional life that most folks don't even acknowledge or much less understand. They grieve, feel sadness and emotional distress, elation and worry (along with a host of other emotions). It's possible your horse is having a response related to the changes in his herd. These are sentient beings who understand things we can't imagine they actually do. I want you to do something several animal psychics taught me. You don't have to tell anyone (unless it really works for you. This has worked for me very well. But I don't talk about it a lot as many folks are not receptive to things they can't see or touch.) I want you to be more upfront with the horse by talking to him in English about specific changes that occur or are going to occur in his life. Talk to him and tell him details just as if it were a human you are talking to. Be very specific as to dates and names and other particulars. Tell him with the assumption he understands, even if you have your doubts. Changing herd mates, moving the other horses around, moving his mother around, all these things affect your horse emotionally and contribute to his sense of safety and well being. Tell him you are there for him and will support him through whatever changes occur. It sounds like he is going through some emotional trauma and really needs support. Try it. You have nothing to lose. If you don't want to look silly to your friends, don't tell anyone. But tell me how it goes. Allow a few days of you really supporting him in this way and let me know how it is going. I am most interested. While doing this, play with him on the ground a lot. Make it fun and games and easy for him for a while.

Keep me posted.
Aloha, Franklin

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