Question: Hey April, question for you, my horse is apparently not so good on his own, without other horses around. Unfortunately I do not have any other horses, so he is going to have to get used to being on his own for now. Do you have suggestions to help make him more comfortable and less agitated if he is going to be so?
Answer from April Reeves: Only thing that will help keep him somewhat sane will be for him to have access to hay 24/7. Horses that are comfortable in knowing their food source never dries up are also content in many other areas of their lives. There is no fix for herd instinct though: you may find he chews up the fields and paddock for some time until he gets use to the idea, at which point he goes crazy (anxiety) again the second he sees or smells another horse. Best thing for you to consider is how to keep him from wanting to get through fences, if he goes to that length to get back to a herd or a buddy.
I free feed first cut to every horse. It won’t make them fat or get them sick; horses self adjust after a few days once they realize it won’t go away, and as they would in the wild, they will eat only when they feel the need. You will also find that he is far more steady a riding horse, as he is never too full or too empty. You won’t have to time your rides to his stomach.
In the “Health and Nutrition” category are articles on feed: you may want to read some of them to get ideas on food/versus/emotion ratio.
Horses and drugging: I have never been comfortable drugging a horse to suit your purpose: eventually you as the human will have to confront the issue anyway and it is in your best interest to learn about your horse as he/she is. Denying a problem won’t get rid of it.