What struck me? That all 3 of these horses, Harvey, Paddy and Tigger, have been described as suffering from separation anxiety. Paddy (the grey) was most extreme, and when he first came to me, he would quickly sweat up and even get colicky if he was separated from certain horses, even if others were still around. Tigger would jump pretty much anything to stay close to other horses. Harvey was never separated from the others after he arrived at my yard nearly 2 years ago, kept an anxious eye on them, and was quick to follow if they left.
So, these pictures show all of these horses feeling OK about being on their own. Not hard evidence I admit, you'll have to take my word for it!
How did this happen? Every case is different, but it is very common, and was the case for all of these 3 horses, that their extreme worry about being more than a few feet from companions was due to their overall mental well-being - feeling generally stressed, uncertain, unsafe - leading to a need for the security of other horses.
That feeling of safety may have roots which are not addressed by such training. For example, pain issues may leave a horse feeling vulnerable and unsafe. Similarly a new environment, other stressful events, lack of choice, food deprivation, unavoidable aversives - to name but a few - can leave an individual horse feeling insecure and in need of the company of others.
So - what did we do with these 3 horses that worked? Adapt their environment, management and interactions to optimise physical and mental well-being. For example, ensuring constant access to forage (albeit often soaked hay to keep weight down), as much choice as possible, ensuring physical needs are met, minimising aversives and giving constant access to other horses.