What's up good people! So as I'm looking around the forum on a daily basis I'm always noticing that certain kinds of questions come up again and again. So I scrolled through about 20 pages of the training section and made note of how many times certain questions would occur in one form or another, then decided to make some videos on these subjects and help some people out if I can!
One of the most common questions by a wide margin is this question of what to do with horses that are herd-bound, buddy sour, whatever you want to call it. Simply put, the condition of having horses that would rather be with other horses than out with you on a trail ride. Their mind flies away from you, they run back to the barn, or they spook 10' sideways out from under you. They trumpet and call for the other horses. In milder forms, they might just cut a circle short on one side and long on the other to be nearer to their friends. The results range from frustrating at best to dangerous at worst.
So what do you do?
That's what I hope to give you some ideas about in these videos. I'll begin by riding a mare who hasn't been ridden in a couple weeks, and is inclined to be herd-bound anyway. She's naturally a little stare-y going outside alone so she's a good one to demonstrate this on. On top of that, it's a windy day with dust devils blowing by and other horses running around loose. She's kind of spooky and reactive at first but settles down by the end of the ride. The next day she's even better.
The videos are a little long, but I've annotated them to keep the story moving along a little better. The basic gist of what I'm doing in them is this:
1. Allowing my horse to get her energy up and run back to the other horses if she wants to.
2. Using the energy in her body which comes from that desire to follow the others to direct her feet in various maneuvers, continually engaging her attention on what I'm doing. Gradually she tunes everything else out.
3. Offering her a place to rest and dial her energy back down when she's away from her friends.
I'm putting these up here to help anyone who may be interested, and also to invite some honest real-world feedback! I'm continually thinking of ways to improve what I'm doing and make better and more useful videos. I invite you to check them out, leave a comment, ask a question, or tell me that I suck. Don't hold back!
Part 1/4: Herd-Bound Ride
Part 2/4: Flagging Horses
Part 3/4: Centering (finding the center)
Part 4/4: The Second Day - Making Improvement