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Post Traumatic stress disorder in arabians

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 08:29 PM

There is an interesting article on the CMK web site.  I tried to copy the link but I couldn't.


I found the above mentioned  article interesting.  We raise chickens and have found that when a chicken gets attacked - by some predator - and we manage to save them, they are never really the same again.  It creates a state of mind in the chicken that is dissociative. They aren't able to function like they once did.   The other chickens didn't  like them and wouldl peck at them.  It is very hard to get them back into the 'flock' on a normal functioning level.


I read in another book about horses going into this dissociative state as well.  Many of the cases being trainers who were able to create 'great' horses by bringing them into death (through abuse).  Because they became dissociative they were 'easy to work' with.


Anyone have any thoughts or experience with this?



#2 arabsRgreat


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Posted 19 December 2015 - 12:21 PM

Wow!  Interesting but very very sad!

#3 JRdesire


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Posted 19 December 2015 - 06:55 PM

I can't say I have personally witnessed it with horses but I believe it is very possible, especially when they have been exposed to extreme abuse whether through neglect or training.  I have a cat who is now 5 years old and was found abandoned in my barn as a tiny kitten with a sibling.  I know people tend to write off the feral behavior as "typical" when they are found as barn cats when they haven't had human interaction for the first several weeks or longer of life but I think there are some comparisons that can be made to some degree.  The one that I took in who is now 5, it has taken until just the past 6 months for him to finally start being a "normal" house cat.  Prior to this, he trusted me but was always very guarded.  He wouldn't hang out in any of the common areas of the house and let's say trying to get him to the vet was an experience in itself.  I'm not sure what has clicked for him the past 6 months but he now sleeps w/me every night along w/the other 4 legged kids and hangs out in the common areas of the house.  He still makes himself scarce for strangers but so do a couple other cats.  


Anyhow, not the same thing perhaps but animals have psychological reactions to things that happen to them and just like people, everyone responds differently. 

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#4 ShadowfaxArabians


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Posted 19 December 2015 - 07:04 PM

I don't know about dissociative but my first purebred mare was sold 9 times in her first 9 years. She had some very real mental trust/panic issues for quite a while. The last 5-7 years she is finally loving and trusting. She is 22. I knew we had truly made it when she let me watch her foal her final foal a couple years ago.

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#5 windridge


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Posted 19 December 2015 - 08:21 PM

I've never really seen dissociative behavior but I've had quite a few horses with rough backgrounds (not quite sure the extent of the abuse although one of the stallions I had years ago had his cheek bone caved in supposedly from a baseball bat), so if true must have been pretty bad. They all had more panic/ flight responses, non of them really wanted to fight, just get away. Two of them if they felt they made a mistake or were about to be reprimanded under saddle would pull up and brace themselves for a beating and stand there and tremble....very sad.

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#6 miriggs


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Posted 20 December 2015 - 12:07 AM

I have a gelding who spent 6 weeks at a trainer and has never been the same. Can't imagine what happened to him. He was 5 and well started when he left. Nothing scared him. He was bold and Independent. He came back scared of the world and ready to fight. I have to be very careful handling him. But, he has nearly thrown himself on the ground when Startled to not run over me. If he feels threatened by me he will pin his ears and slam me with his shoulder. He came close to nighty night forever twice.

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#7 arabsRgreat


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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:25 AM

We had a stallion once when he came to us when I stood in front of him to set him up at halter with a whip in hand (did not even touch him) he went down to his knees baring his teeth.  This makes me so sad to this day (and angry)  Lets say our suspicions were confirmed as to who the abuser was when the "man" came up to him at  a show we had him at years later.  Horses do not lie!

#8 felina


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Posted 22 December 2015 - 12:22 PM

My family had a well trained, well traveled and shown Arabian stallion.

I absolutely believed he has PTSD. 

One time, he was involved in a bad trailer wreck where he was on the left side of the trailer, where the trailer flipped and went off road and the other horse was dead and laying on him for several hours before they could cut open/remove the deceased horse.  Now the stallion would load just fine in a trailer, but put him on the left side and a few minutes down the road, he would begin being extremely agitated, sweating, and basically panicking.  Right side, loose, slant, whatever, and he was fine. 

This same stallion had also been handled by a not-so-nice woman.  She drove a particular vehicle and whenever Gay would see the same VW Baja, he would pin his ears, chase after it, and just generally be agitated.  Same if he actually saw this women...


Otherwise, this was an absolutely trustworthy horse and probably the easiest one to ride.  Ride him in the city, move cattle, whatever.  Gentle with mares and foals.  But just put him in a couple of circumstances and he absolutely couldn't take it.


It doesn't take much. 

I don't know who haltered my horse as a yearling, but if I put her in a training halter and stand her up with a whip and make an aggressive posture towards her, she flies backwards.  I had no idea she had been schooled in halter and a person that knew her, told me she had.  Thought it would be fun to bring her to an open show.  Not worth it to cause the horse stress.  I just showed her gently with treats instead.  Not going to be a great look in an open show, but does it matter?  I'd rather her not be sweaty and agitated by asking her to do something that she had been last schooled in about 17 years prior....17 years folks...

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#9 starlitefarms


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Posted 30 December 2015 - 09:07 PM

I have seen this first hand with two of my very own horses. I had a gelding that was awesome, trusting and doing great in the training ring. Took him to one show and he freaked out in the trailer he tried to climb through the drop down window! From that day on that horse has major claustrophobic like issues in a trailer. My now gelding has trust issues with people other than me. He  will pin his ears in the stall and turnout at other people, never towards me though. Once you have ahold of him he is a perfect gentleman towards everyone. He just doesn't trust people. He is jumpy in his stall like someone is going to beat him. He was never like that! Now he is. 

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#10 smc15



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Posted 06 January 2016 - 03:41 PM

LOL- having raised a fair share of chickens I can't say they ever had such chicken with a  personality that one could tell if they were " themselves" or not. Chickens aren't exactly "pets". They are either alive or dead.


Far as horses as concerned -sure they can have issues if the trauma is sufficent enough. I once took a bridle off a older well seasoned mare, the curb bit got caught in her mouth. She bolted back hard and it took many weeks of slowly and carefully taking the bridle off before she would stand quietly. Not sure if I'd give it a Post traumatic syndrome status but of course if there is pain and fear involved, even for a short time, some horses will remember it for a while.