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Old 02-06-13, 03:48 PM
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Ronnie Ronnie is offline
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Question Horse constantly pacing the fence

Hi everyone

Our big horse has just started to pace the fence - constantly. Nothing has changed, he is in a paddock by himself because he annoys the hell out of any paddock buddy, he has toys - which he plays with, a round bale of hay and he can see the other horses. Our next door neighbour has recently got 2 large turkeys and our horse is scared shitless particularly by the male turkey. They don't come into his paddock but he can see and hear them when they free roam through the day. We can't very well ask the neighbours to lock up their turkeys anymore than they can ask us to lock up our horse 24/7. This horse has been tested for ulcers, we have altered his diet, nothing is working. We are totally at our wits end, we are pouring feed into him and it is getting walked off. So frustrating
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Old 02-06-13, 04:03 PM
sam03 sam03 is offline
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Ronnie I feel your frustration! I had one like this on agistment and hated seeing my beautiful paddocks getting cut up!! It was due to the cows calving at the time, could you move this horse further away and pop one of the other horses into his paddock to see if changing it up a bit helps? The other thing I found that helped but you do need time to do it ie a few days... every time they pace get them working on a lunge, changing directions, tempo, etc until they are puffing and really listening to you..put them back into the paddock and if he continues start again but the trick is to start the work as soon as they start the pacing,you may have to do this 10 to 20 times or more the key is keep at it!! It took this boy two days to click that pacing meant work (he was locked up atnight) and now he is totally unfazed and much happier eating than pacing!! There is a good article this month in one of the popular horsie mags by steve brady about this very topic.. might give you some ideas.. as for weight there is not much you can do about that but I'd keep high energy quick release feeds to a minimum and high fat feeds = slow energy boosted.
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Old 02-06-13, 04:07 PM
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I've been thinking about that approach trouble is I'm at work (until my contract finishes this week). Then I can sit up near the paddock and watch him and react.
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Old 03-06-13, 02:37 PM
Creative Creative is offline
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We had a stallion who used to walk the fence. We lined the track with tyres and he never did it again. He must have felt it was too much effort to walk around the tyres so he didn't bother. Worth a shot?
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Old 03-06-13, 02:45 PM
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westerly westerly is offline
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Pacing...

Mindless, repetitive behaviour.. Does my head in..



My dear old da (may he RIP) had a saying about things like this.. (Now don't go taking this the wrong way)..


He called it "a balance problem"

ie "something a bit of lead would fix"..
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Old 03-06-13, 03:16 PM
auspony auspony is offline
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Was just going to suggest the same thing Westerly ! Works a treat, they soon get sick of either walking round them or jumping over them !! When you have finished with them for that ,they make handy jump ends !!
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Old 03-06-13, 05:54 PM
hastar hastar is offline
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Pacing fences only worries the owner not the horse. My old boy was a mega fence runner. Kept him fit. and he never lost any weight, ever. He would make a foot deep trench and when it rained - not wanting to get his arab feet wet - he would push the dirt back in to his trench ready to start again when it all dried out. He also ran trenches in dirt floored stables. And some of his kids are fence runners too. Have to say I never give any thought to the problem. I would rather a fence runner that a windsucker any day.
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Old 03-06-13, 07:01 PM
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Leahroy Leahroy is offline
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Roy was a bit of a fence walker, mainly at feedtime. As my two were in together, unless I was spelling the paddock, I left all gates were open and he could put himself away and wait in the shed for me to come and open his stable door. Saved my paddocks!

Now I have 2 TBs that pace who have completely trashed sections of my paddocks. I am going to reconfigure my dividing fence lines on the weekend and block off my trashed spots to so they can get better. Then no doubt they will trash another section.... And no they arent allowed in the stables, that is the old girl's domain. Plus they eat my stables.

It is annoying, not so much them doing it, is the tracks and ravines they leave, which develop into rivers and the bogholes at the gates.
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Old 03-06-13, 07:48 PM
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I'd be changing something if he is not improving. Its a bad head space a pacing horse is in.

A mate to pal up and feel safer with? Move him to a different paddock? Is he a ridden horse? Is he still pacing when the turkey is not free, at night?

I've never heard of the tyre idea before. If you cant put him somewhere he stops stressing I reckon that's worth a go. Anyone know why it works?
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Old 03-06-13, 07:54 PM
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WetPaint WetPaint is offline
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I love the tyre idea. Having to make them pick their way through mazes of tyres may just make them click their brain back into gear enough not to make it worth it for them.

Sometimes I don't even think that they know that they are pacing- they do it so mindlessly.

I couldn't possibly have a horse that paces- it would COMPLETELY drive me mental. I would find it so stressful to watch.

Good luck- hope you sort it out.
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Old 03-06-13, 08:02 PM
Anubis Anubis is offline
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Maybe he will be more receptive to a "turkey resistant" paddock mate now
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Old 03-06-13, 09:35 PM
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the major problem with him is that he is such a bully to other horses that he can't have a friend in with him. He is within eyesight of the other horses who are less than 150 metres away from him. He paces regardless of the amount of work he is getting and some days he is better than others. At this point I'm thinking of putting him in the front paddock away from the turkeys and putting the filly and the mare up in the back paddock. He started as such a cruisy big boy but the turkeys have really got to him
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Old 03-06-13, 09:42 PM
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He is boxed at night and not pacing in the box. It is around feed time and if it is cold or wet and he wants to come in. As I said earlier he was put in with our sweet big pony and he made her life hell so he can't have a horse paddock buddy. Trouble is that he is growing and we are pouring feed into him and to see it walked off does my head in. He is getting chamomile at night and I do think that we might trial him in the front paddock to see how that goes
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Old 03-06-13, 11:08 PM
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Redbug Redbug is offline
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Horses are herd animals we have changed the situation by separating them & confining them to single paddocks .
Some can cope with single life others can't , your horse night have coped with the single life up until the turkeys arrived & he needed a buddy that said don't stress they are just weird birds no need to give them a 2nd thought .
If he is still young they especially crave the guidance of an older herd leader who sets the paddock rules & teaches them what to be afraid of & what to ignore .
I've never had a fence walker , but then again all mine live in herds . A minimum of 2 in each paddock up to 11 of all mixed ages .
Even the stallions have a buddy mare or mares , I've never seen either of them pace the fence , the worst they do is stand & look .
A horse pacing is either wanting to join the herd they can see , frightened & wants to get to security or as in a stallions case generally walking out of frustration that they are separated .
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Old 04-06-13, 04:50 AM
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Hugo was doing a similar thing and not only would he just pace but gallop up and down like a mad man all over the paddock at times. And come feed time he'd be nearly neaurotic when one would try to put his rugs back on. He lived in the back paddock of my property..I had put him in this paddock as his original one closer to the front of the property and only next door had plenty of grass which I wanted to other fellow to eat...needed to put some kgs on.

Anyhow I have since had to swap them back over and he is back to himself again and all calm...this past wk I have also started him in some calming powder which I think maybe helping a little also.

His problem in the rear paddock was the kangaroos and possibly deer used to visit the rear fenceline.

So I guess all I can say if possible swap him to a different paddock. Sorry I don't have any further suggestions.
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Old 04-06-13, 07:09 AM
Berani Berani is offline
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There is nothing I find more stressful to watch is a horse (most often stallions) mindlessly...manic walking or running fence lines. Sorry but I do not see it as a normal behavior.
Ruins paddocks. A friend's stallion ruined his teeth too, when he ran the fence lines he bumped his mouth on the rails and star pickets...knocked teeth out. He ended up PTS at age 16, no teeth left, couldn't graze or eat properly, wouldn't hold condition.

I do know of people who've tried to alter their path with tyres and stuff, sometimes works, sometimes they just created new paths.

Ronnie is there anyway you can perhaps change his paddock situation, even for a short time to break the cycle? eg. put him in a big, big spelling paddock, maybe with other horses, maybe just a different view.

Slightly different scenario but my now old horse started to get separation anxiety in his mid teens (never a problem previously) when I rode other horses off the property, even with buddies remaining he'd get anxious and after 10 minutes he'd start to walk or run the boundaries and would continue to until I was back and his world returned to normal. Same deal if I moved horses in paddocks around.
Drove me crazy, drove my husband crazier, it was a big problem if we went away with a horse/s for the weekend and he was digging awful trenches when the ground was wet. Generally wrecking the place and he was losing condition.
He had been a horse that had to be carefully managed for tying up when younger...so this also became a challenge again too.
He went to live 10 minutes drive away in a big, big undulating paddock (the 'too hard basket') with dams and trees and whatnot, initially he was with a buddy, later without. No idea if it makes any difference, but there is a fairly well travelled, 80kph road on one boundary, a weird vine fruit Orchard thing with workers and machines on another, other horses in sight. So still plenty of stimuli, not exactly a desolate padded cell sort of paddock where nothing changes around him.
Once he was settled, he was only checked and given a token gesture feed x2 weekly, no rugging. He came home after a few months, and the fence walking stopped thank goodness and didn't start again. He would get anxious with change, but could be settled with feed. He's back out at the big paddock again, simply due to feed and space, we have more horses now.
Maybe he just needed to be a horse again? Who'd really know?
I do think little paddocks and too much routine can sometimes make busy minded or anxious type horses a little crazy?

Last edited by Berani; 04-06-13 at 08:53 AM. Reason: dodgy spelling!
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Old 04-06-13, 08:33 AM
hastar hastar is offline
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I cannot recall ever having a mare run fences. Must be a male issue.
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Old 04-06-13, 09:37 AM
Maxwell Maxwell is offline
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I agree with Berani "I do think little paddocks and too much routine can sometimes make busy minded or anxious type horses a little crazy?"
Our stressy tb was definately one of these types. He became a bit obsessive with his routine when kept in a private paddock by day and stabled at night. Since moving him to big paddocks where he is part of a herd and they rotate paddocks all together he has settled so much more than I thought was possible.

But Ronnie if you have another paddock away from the turkeys I'd be moving him there and see if he settles down.
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Old 04-06-13, 10:11 AM
Berani Berani is offline
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For mares and geldings, show or comp or performance horses...I can totally appreciate people wanting to keep horses separately, they're potentially safer, less chance of injuries from paddock stoushes, you can monitor their drinking and eating better...but it doesn't always work for some horse's heads.

In my experience, paddock stoushes usually only get ugly in paddocks that are too small, horses get cornered. I'd rather risk injury and keep them sane.

Stallions become a little more challenging, but not impossible...it's still about social interaction?

Dunno? Just thinking out loud really?
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Old 04-06-13, 10:48 AM
bfisch bfisch is offline
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Finding this thread very interesting.
One of my horses will go through stages where she will pace. Sometimes it is a lot, sometimes I go days without seeing her pace.

She is paddocked with her mate, they have hay.
The back corner of her paddock she has made a deep trench, she will pace a few minutes at a time. There are no horses on the other side of the fence but she is definitely looking at something. Ears pricked. I canít always see anything of interest but she does get intrigued when the kangaroos are there??
I used to change the paddocks up and it is only that spot she will pace, but I havenít moved her out of this paddock for a while and the pacing has gotten more frequent.

All I can think is it is boredom/excess energy?
She isn't in consistent work at the moment.
Havenít tried making an obstacle course, I suspect she will just walk right on through it.

Maybe I could take her next door to have a look around and find what it is she wants.. I donít know if horseís minds work like that????

They both pine for each other if one is taken away, but they donít have any other horses on the property or next door so that is expected.

It stressed me out at first, thankfully it is away from the house & yards but in Summer when it is dry she creates a huge dust cloud.
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