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This is a discussion on Barnsour within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        09-16-2010, 10:02 PM
    Question Barnsour

    I just have some questions about a horse being barn sour. I am a beginner rider and recently got my own horse about 3 weeks ago. He was used as a hack horse in the outer banks. Basically his job was to carry people on trail rides for 3 hours twice a day for 6 days out of the week. I walked and trotted him and took him on a trail ride before I got him and he did great. When I got him home I could not ride him right away because it turns out that his back was full of saddle sores which were covered in new skin. We gave him a few weeks to heal. In the meantime, I just came out and loved on him and gave him treats. I started riding him last week. The first ride was only a few minutes to make sure his back was okay. The second ride seemed a bit off to me. I wasn't sure if he liked the bit or not. (I didn't have a bit yet so the barn owner had me use her tom thumb which I've read is really severe) The main problem I had with him was at the gate. At one point he hopped up a little and scared me. I rode him around the ring a few more times and got off on the far end of the ring. After this I had someone more experienced ride him and he was ok but still funny about the gate. We decided that he was barn sour. Two days after that ride I rode him for a good hour. The first 20 minutes was in the ring. We only did walking but I worked on stopping and turning. This time I used an eggbut snaffle. I did find that it was harder to make him stop. Maybe because of his history he was used to people pulling on his mouth? We didn't have any trouble at the gate. I ventured out into the yard and walked with my mom as she walked her horse. Everything was fine until my mom decided she was done and went back to the barn. Dancer was not having this. If the other horse was done, so was he. I really had to fight him to get him to turn away from the barn. I was so scared. Luckily there were people around to help me. We worked on circles that got larger and larger and as he tried to go to the barn I had to turn him away. He's just so strong and I get so scared and tense. I start riding lessons on him tomorrow and also some natural horsemanship lessons with him. I was wondering if you guys think that this is something that will improve and if you have any suggestions. Other than this, I think he's a really good horse and hopefully a horse I can grow with and become more confident.
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        09-16-2010, 10:10 PM
    If you work consistently on this, yes it will improve. Some horses really just don't like to be alone, but as your bond improves with him and as you become a more confident rider you'll definitely be able to ride him through those situations.

    Just remember to BREATHE, talk to him, and keep his feet moving. Where you're a beginner, you may want to do this gradually(ride with someone, then ride a few feet away, then ride a few yards away, etc) So that he gradually learns it's okay to be alone.

    If that's all that you're having trouble with, you have a gem of a horse! It's good to have something like this to work with him on, you'll be so proud when you get him to that point :)
        09-16-2010, 10:12 PM
    Oh...when I say "keep his feet moving" I mean that if he isn't going where you want him to and he's having a "fit", keep him circling, bending, backing up...when he gives you give so when he relaxes and will go the way you want him to, you relax and let him move in a straight line (it sounds like you ended up doing this anyway) Good luck, and hopefully someone else can explain this better/offer another suggestion!
        09-16-2010, 10:15 PM
    This advice helps me too! I have a mare that hasn't been ridden in 4 years. This issue is coming up with her. I will try the circling ect.
        09-16-2010, 10:24 PM
    I did it with mine today. I had to back, spin, buck and circle her out the driveway but once she got there and figured out that walking straight was really easy she was good :)
        09-16-2010, 10:27 PM
    Thank you, Am. I'm glad that I started off doing the right thing. I have a lesson tomorrow so hopefully we can work on this some more and see if there is anything else I can do. Also, breathing and relaxing is something I must work on !!
        09-16-2010, 11:44 PM
    The lessons will definitely help improve your confidence and if he's used to being a trail horse, ridden in groups, it's not suprising that he would be a bit unhappy to find himself alone. Above posters are correct, the more he comes to count on you for guidance the better he'll get. If you feel unsafe, however, it's not a bad thing to dismount if you can get him to stand still even briefly, and hand walk him away from the barn or the other horse. And then as he regains his calm, you can get back on and try again.

    Sounds like you're headed the right direction, getting lessons and working with some natural horsemanship. That will help his confidence in you as well :)

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