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Jealous Horse

I have a 17 yr old horse who apparently is extremely jealous and/or spoiled. We just put down his old buddy and purchased a 5 yr old baby. The 17 yr old is fine with him for the most part, until I come around. After about 1 or 2 min. of being there, he will severely charge at the baby for no reason. I'm very concerned that some one will get hurt and I also don't want to create a different issue by handling this the wrong way. Please advise.

Thank you, Lori

Hi Lori,

Horses form attachments, just like humans. They grieve, miss their pasture mates and experience loneliness just like people. They have big emotional lives, which most humans don't understand or acknowledge. Your older horse is grieving. You need to cut him a lot of slack. It is not spoiled at all.

Lets pretend this is a human and not a horse. He loses his long time friend suddenly. He does not understand what has happened. He is somewhat confused and lonely. Perhaps he is a bit angered and sad at being 'abandoned. Here comes a young newcomer, a 'baby', a youngster who takes a lot of the attention of anyone who comes around simply because he is a youngster. So, this human watches for a time when others come around, but eventually gets fed up with all the attention going to the 'kid'. He is the one who experienced the loss, he is the one who was abandoned, and he is the one who needs the nurturing and comfort for while. Yet, he is expected to just accept the 'kid' and all the attention the kid gets, with little or no acknowledgement or really conscious support coming his way. Could you blame him for getting 'down' on the kid when others come around give him all the support and attention.

Would you consider a real program of support for your older horse? Treat him like a grieving human for a little while. Give him the strokes and attention for a while. Let him know you really understand what loss is and give him the consideration you would give a human in the same situation.

'Talk' to him about loss and grieving. You will see an amazing transformation if you do this sincerely and consciously. I think your horse is hurting more than jealous. He is sad more than angry. He does not understand what has happened to his friend. Just try treating him a bit more like you would a human in this circumstance and see what happens. Most humans do not give a horse credit for having much of a caring, emotional life. They do...Let me know how it goes I am most interested. Thank you for your email.

Sincerely, Franklin

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