buddy sour? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-11-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Texas
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Unhappy buddy sour?

so i have a four year old quarter horse gelding. he is in a pasture with a ten year old miniature mare. i am trying to train him to be my trail horse . all i want is to be able to ride around my neighborhood. thats it. i dont need a fancy horse that can turn on a dime. or that can run around three barrels in fourteen seconds. or that can do fancy hops & stuff. i just want a reliable horse that i can take slow rides with in the mornins.
anyways, he was first put into the pasture by himself. my property backs up against my neighbors, so the horses can come see eachother in one corner. well. that wasnt enough. he was always with ten plus horses. when he came to my house, he paced the fence so much there was a path. he dropped weight. all of this crazy stuff. so we got the mini. now. he is buddy sour.
Tex rides perfectly in the pasture. i ride him bareback& he walks & trots.( i dont need him to go any faster) i ride him in a rope halter. for the past month & a few weeks ive been taking him out in the lot away from the pasture. its right next to my house. its an acre& a half. i brush him& walk him
around. & most of the time, hes totally fine. then other times, he freaks out. there is nothing in that lot. a few trees. but just grass. he will start running away& bucking& kicking the air. & nothing was out there to spook him. & then he will just stop dead in his tracks. & be completely fine. i wouldnt call that part buddy sour.but what is that? i sweearr guys. nothing is ever behind him
when he does that. nothing is out there except us. is he crazy or something?
anyways. onto the buddy sour thing. i used to be able to walk him up & down my street with no problems. now , we have the mini, & when he cant see her, he starts screaming& calling out to her& running all over me. having like panic attacks? so i started taking the mini out for walks, so he gets used to her being away from him. i have taken her for maannny many walks. & he is never better. i walk HER because its easy to take care of her freaking out. shes not even half his size. but he will scream& gallop all over the pasture till hes sweating. he gets my neighbors to come out of there houses to look to see whats up. & every horse in the neighborhood is calling out. its like ughh! how can i fix that?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-11-2012, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I find that can be rather typical of younger horses.

My 4yo TB gelding screams if he is taken from the herd and put in his stall by himself. For now, since he's still relatively a baby, we're taking his girlfriends inside with him just so he knows they're there and will be more relaxed for his exercise. We plan on weaning him off of his girls, so to speak. I think mostly we'll be bringing him inside with one of them at a time, make it an enjoyable experience (pets, love, treats) and then by himself, slowly increasing the duration of the separation while still making it a good thing for him.

As for what your boy is doing with the antsy thing in the lot, I have no clue. Maybe he's trying to test what he can get away with?

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post #3 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 02:43 AM
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We had a similar problem with our horse and pony. Unfortunately, we never did come to a solution except to take the two of them out together each time. The pony was just so stubborn that we could not do anything with him while he was away from his buddy. THe horse was fine! One solution could be to take the mini out with him or tie the mini up nearby when you are grooming him etc. You could even lead the mini along while you are riding, although this does get annoying if either horse doesn't behave perfectly!

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 03:56 AM
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As far as 'what is up with him', he's being a perfectly normal horse by the sound of it. Perhaps if you did some study into equine psychology & ethology/natural behaviour, you would better understand why & therefore how to handle it.

A 4yo horse is still quite physically immature and if you mean you're riding him when he 'goes crazy', it's quite possible it's because he's hurting. I wouldn't be riding a 4yo too much yet. Do you ride in a saddle? If so, this will need to be carefully checked for fit frequently - I'd check it every few months &/or when he has a 'growth spurt', as if it fits him now, it still may not for long with more development & may need adjusting/replacing.

Horses are prey/herd animals and they naturally feel insecure when separated from their 'herd' - whoever that consists of. Therefore I think the most important aspect of 'fixing' a 'buddy sour' horse is to gain their trust & respect and PROVE to them that they're safe with you. I think one part of that is not separating them before you have a good, strong relationship & his trust generally, and not taking them too far out of their comfort zone so they get to the point of panicking, but to use 'approach & retreat' techniques to gradually help him be confident about going out with you.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 06:48 AM
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Just out of curiosity.. how much training has this 4 year old had? Who is training him under saddle?

He sounds typical. The "freaking out" when he is in the pasture sounds like young horse hi-jinx and it also sounds like he needs a firm hand to let him know this is not acceptable. It also sounds to me like he could stand to be worked.

The calling to his friend and dancing around when separated is also pretty typical and again.. training and keeping his little brain occupied and his attention on you and his feet moving is what he needs.

Reading this sounds like a relatively inexperienced (young?) owner who needs to meet up with some serious riding and horse handling lessons.

This also sounds like this is a relatively untrained 4 year old that needs to meet up with a good trainer for about 120 days (or more depending on the skills of the owner).

Walking a horse is fine.. but horses are not dogs and do not bond and so forth like dogs do. They do not relate to us like dogs. They are herd animals who seek to be with their own kind (which is why he paced the fence and lost weight and why he calls for his pasture pal and tromps on top of the person leading him when separated).

He needs to be trained.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 09:04 AM
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going through the same thing somewhat. my 10 yr old TWH was fine until my boarder changed pasture mates. he went from being a laid back guy to antsy when I pulled him out of the pasture. freaking out when I tied him for grooming getting antsy, pushy etc. acting like a wildman in the saddle suddenly looking for the Boogie Man while riding.

Finally had enough and thought about some of the training techniques Ive seen online. "Join Up" was one that I thought could maybe help. At my boarders I dont have a 50' Roundpen but we do have a nice ring it is not too big. The other day I took him into the ring, unhooked him and started pushing him. Granted it made me work my butt off because it is a ring but I kept pushing him and turning him and pushing him some more. After about a half hour he followed me everywhere and if I did a figure 8 he was right on my shoulder. Took him in the barn yesterday and tied him up he was back being a gentle guy. Took him back to the pasture and when I cut him lose, instead of streaking back to the herd as he was doing he milled around walked around like he wasnt sure, went towards the herd, stopped came back to me and stood. I ended up walking him to the back field and then he left me and went back to the herd. First time Ive ever done it but got to say I think it sure beats the old methods of submission.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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when he freaks out like i said, i am not on him. he has no saddle on. no, i dont ride him
in a saddle. i mostly ride him with a bareback pad. he is ridden at least five days a week in the pasture. & also, he does NOT have leading problems. only when i take him away from
the mini horse. i will be getting a trainer out here soon. i dont have a round pen so its a little difficult. he is dead saddle broke though. i just choose not to. he started getting small english saddles on him when he was two, desensitizing to saddle pads. noone sat on him untill he was a little over three & a half.& it was short( about fifteen minutes) little rides around a yard. he is usually a VERY laid back horse. everything i do in the pasture is at liberty. i can always do stuff without a lead rope, i never tie him up to do stuff. if he wants to walk away he can. he also does not dance around while in the pasture. its always when he is away from the mare.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 08:15 PM
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It could be that he's young, more likely just buddy sour. I board at a show barn and work it off on the weekends. All of the horses are in separate turnouts to not only avoid injuries but to prevent them from becoming buddy sour. Once in awhile a couple horses come in together off a pasture for training... and they freak when they cannot see each other. They have to be slowly separated and weaned from each other. There are currently 2 horses there now that are so buddy sour its becoming dangerous even for their owners (who are sisters). They had a lesson together a few weeks ago and our trainer, just to make a point, asked one of the horses to leave the arena. The other one reared and struck at her owner. These sisters thought this was "normal" behavior for a horse and that it is "ok". It is completely unacceptable and should have never gotten this bad. We have slowly convinced the owners to let us separate the horses now that they've seen the other 30+ horses and they do NOT act that way. But meaning behind all of this is they have to be separated to overcome being buddy sour (might need to stay that way). It'll be hard, not much different then separating a mare and foal. But in the end it will be beneficial and you'll be able to take your horse away without incident.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-12-2012, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by meghanlovee11 View Post
i will be getting a trainer out here soon. i dont have a round pen so its a little difficult. he is dead saddle broke though.
Great that you can get a trainer to help you. It's generally far easier & more effective to learn from someone hands-on than on your own with only theory, be that forums, books, vids, etc.

A round pen is not necessary at all(I prefer corners personally). An enclosed, safe area is helpful at times though, but if you don't have that, the easiest & cheapest answer I find is to buy some tread in posts & a bit of electric fence tape. You can make it round or otherwise, as your heart desires!

Considering he's only 4yo & started under saddle at 3.5yo I wouldn't consider him close to 'saddle broke' yet(& certainly not dead - surely he's got a fair few years in him yet??), and going out & about confidently with a rider is part of it IMO, especially if you want him to be 'saddle broke' as a good trail horse.

So anyway, whether you take him out or leave him alone & take the mare out, I think 'approach & retreat' is the answer for this.
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