Herd Sour Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-26-2012, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Herd Sour Horse

Actually, I'm not sure that he is just herd sour. I think that he is every other horse, ever, sour.

This is my situation: I keep my horse at my house. I ride in both the pasture and the fields beside the pasture. I have no trailer, and there is no arena nearby. My gelding lives with my cousin's mare. I rode the mare up until I got my gelding, because my cousin is afraid to ride her mare.

I put the mare in a stall before I ride my horse- I left her out once, and it was a disaster. She ran up and down the fenceline and all he would do is follow her.

Yesterday, we had our worst ride ever- he would randomly turn and gallop at full speed back to the mare. He would not stop, at all. He drug me through trees branches and I was sure he was going to hurt himself. I was shaking by the time he finally stopped. He enjoys playing with his bit, so he might have gotten it under his tongue, but I'm not sure.

I would say he is just "buddy sour" but it's not even just the mare that he wants to be near. At the back of the field I ride in, there is a pasture that borders the field's perimeter. In this pasture are two other geldings. When we get near them, my horse will start neighing frantically and trying to get closer to them. It is so hard to drag him away.

When I rode him at his old owner's house, there were three other gelding to which he was really close. However, during that ride, he never tried to run back to them. So I am a little confused about the new behavior. I haven't owned a new horse in 10 years- ridden one, yes but this is my first legitimate new horse ownership in a while. He is four years old, almost five. I've only had him for about a month, so I know that we need more work, and he still needs to get used to his new home, but I could really use some advice about this problem.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-26-2012, 11:56 PM
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Subbing, I am interested in this also.

Melinda
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-27-2012, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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I hope that someone will be able to lend some advice :) It's kind of a maddening problem- I know that other horses are way cooler than an annoying human, but it would be nice to get some stress free riding in.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-27-2012, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HannahC View Post
I hope that someone will be able to lend some advice :) It's kind of a maddening problem- I know that other horses are way cooler than an annoying human, but it would be nice to get some stress free riding in.
Honestly there is no quick fix. This will take some time on your part. What needs to be added to the repetition is reward for calm and that the separations begin as short times and gradually increased to long and longer times apart. You could provide punishment for the unwanted behavior. You could use movement. But it may take a lot of movement before the horse looks for a break. I would setup situations where I know the unwanted behavior would happen and when it happens you need to provide a uncomfortable scenario for the horse, such as making him do circles could be a idea. Also you need to provide reward when he is calm. Something as simple as praise can work when you introduce the other horse, and then remove the other horse--- Reward your horse when he remains calm in this situation. Over time you can increase the distance of the horses. I would start this whole thing with ground work first. Remember, at lot of ground work transfers to the saddle. You just need to spend a lot of time and repetition to condition this herd mentality out of the horse. Hope this helps.

“When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine...you know you are loved.”
John Lyons
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-27-2012, 08:35 PM
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When he brings you back work his butt off when you get back. Lots of turnbacks - start a circle and reverse and start another circle, reverse and again and again. Make him sweat and puff. When you can feel him lugging under you ask him to walk away from the mare at least a good couple of hundred yards. When he flatly refuses and he likely will, go back and put him into hard work again. He will learn that he gets to walk (rest) when you leave but works hard at home. Don't expect it to work the first few times. It may take three times for the horse to catch on. He doesn't make the connection the first time, it's assembling in his brain the second time and by the third he's figured it out.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-30-2012, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for all of the advice! I really appreciate it!

I will be home more after my summer classes are over, so we'll have much more time to work together. He just really scared me after this last ride turning and galloping like he did.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-30-2012, 01:32 AM
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I absolutely hate when my mare gets herd sour! When she starts getting like that, I move her to a stall or diffrent pasture for a couple of days. Specially when im working her alot. I think its good for a horse to sit and think after it has learned alot. They don't go back to the heard and pick up bad habbits again(:
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-30-2012, 06:43 AM
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Mare magic is a great supplement tht worked on one of my paint geldings. The other is just experience haul them every where! Don't show him or ride even just go and sit. Haul him to an open field an let him graze. He needs to understand he can do things without other horses.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-30-2012, 10:29 PM
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Well, can't help you with the actual buddysour part (because I have a buddy sour horse too ), but when your horse is running off with you like that, you HAVE to stop him somehow! I use the one-rein stop with runaways usually...
It's scary and I've been in your shoes before! When I was 9 years old, I was riding my cousin's barrel horse for the first time in a big field (recipe for disaster, right?) and he took off with me to run back to his buddies. The stirrups were too long for me, so I was bouncing around on the verge of falling off and I couldn't get him to stop to save my life, then he finally stopped when we got to the pasture fence and he couldn't go any farther... Scariest moment of my life!!!

Every horse is an angel... They just don't need wings to soar!
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-01-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for all of the advice! MrBeCharming, your mentioning "Mare Magic" reminded me that his previous buddies were all geldings. I wonder if the fact that his new friend is a mare could be influencing this at all.

RunJumpRide, thank you for the stopping advice as well. He's really a very sweet horse, but the running away thing scares me so badly. I honestly could not feel my legs, but when I looked down they were shaking. He's only had run away incidences twice.

He is young, so I'm sure that he needs some time to figure out that I am serious about this.
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buddy sour , fat overweight , herd sour , won't stop

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