Dangerously herdbound..

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Dangerously herdbound..

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    11-06-2010, 04:06 PM
Dangerously herdbound..

So. My mare Abby. I have only had her for a couple of months and when I got her, she hadn't been ridden since May. When I got her, she was moved from her previous owner's home where there was only 2 other horses to where I board her and there are horses everywhere.

She's perfectly respectful and friendly on the ground, but as soon as I get on her back and try to leave the barn, she turns into a ridiculous beast. About a week ago, I went riding with a couple other people (the BOs daughter and some friend of hers). Abby tried to turn around and go back a few times, but eventually got over it and was fine with being so far away from home.

I tried to take her out again and we went about 5 feet into a field that was literally across a gravel road from the fence of the pasture she's kept in. As soon as I turned her so she was facing away from the pasture, I was bucked. So we turned around to walk back towards the driveway, then turned around to see if we could get away farther. We walked down the gravel road. Then I directed her to a field next to the pasture. We were going diagonally away from the pasture, and doing fine.

Out of nowhere, she took off and ran along the fence line. My BOs require me to wear a helmet, which slid down and the visor on it blocked most of my vision..which I'm kind of glad for because she ran me through a bunch of small trees.

I got her to turn around and walk back towards the gravel road. We were almost there when she whipped around and began galloping back the other way. Thankfully, she did not go through the trees this time. But she stopped short when she realized she had ran clear past all of the other horses and got confused. I took advantage of her moment of confusion and turned her around and we calmly walked back to the barn because it was beginning to get dark and colder.

Needless to say, I was beyond embarrassed (which was a feat because I'm not an easily embarrassed person). When I was unsaddling her, she was back to her normal friendly self. It's ridiculous.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this?
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    11-06-2010, 05:56 PM
Green Broke
Yep! Happens to a lot of people. You will need to work her where she wants to be and rest her where she doesn't want to be. Making you rest area further and further away. Work her hard near her safe zone and let her rest away from the safe zone.
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    11-06-2010, 06:02 PM
Yup, I agree with mbender. Eventually she'll say lets go, cause staying here is too much work. The harder you work her, the quicker she'll learn.
    11-06-2010, 07:23 PM
Okay. Thanks! I was going to try something like that today, but since she's about a half hour away, I didn't get time.
    11-06-2010, 07:50 PM
I agree with the other posters... and wanted to add that I would also teach her a one rein stop for when she does try to bolt. You need to be able to shut her down immediately.
Good luck.

Edited to add: I also get off my horses at different areas... and never at the barn. And when I get off I always loosen the girth and if possible take the bit out of their mouth. That makes it an extra nice reward.
You don't want her to assume work is over once you are at the barn.
    11-07-2010, 04:36 AM
I've been working on one rein stops a bit, but I've also been trying to find a bit she likes. I tried a plain snaffle, but she didn't like it and kept getting her tongue over it. She didn't seem to mind a full cheek snaffle as much. My BO has a hole bin of random bits she said I could try.
    11-07-2010, 06:00 AM
Green Broke
Can you ride her bareback in an arena? How is she with riding in a halter and lead rope?
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    11-07-2010, 08:54 AM
When I get in a new colt to work with, I often take them on my morning walks with the dog. Down the road we go, the dog running crazy and me leading a colt, and I'm sure the neighbors think I'm nuts.

But, when on the ground, the colt gets to see new things that we'll experience on a later ride (trash cans, dog bursting out of the ditch, cars, farm machinery, etc). It also gets to experience being away from the other horses. (I usually have done some ground work with them, so I feel like I have good control and that we'll both be safe.)

If they're especially herd bound or nervous, we may go back and forth past the driveway several times. We increase the distance each time and rest at the far points. They may need a little flexing, hip yielding, etc, along the way to get their mind back on me, but usually this goes pretty well. It gives me a chance to get the horse out and both of us learn -them about being away, and I see how their mind will work in new situations.
    11-07-2010, 01:44 PM
Originally Posted by mbender    
Can you ride her bareback in an arena? How is she with riding in a halter and lead rope?
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I am fairly certain she has never been ridden bareback. I know she hasn't in the last 4 years at least. Adding the slightest bit of pressure to her back as if i'm going to jump on, she pins her ears and drops her head. I'm going to see if my BO has a bareback pad so I can try to transition her.
    11-07-2010, 02:57 PM
Originally Posted by Poseidon    
I am fairly certain she has never been ridden bareback. I know she hasn't in the last 4 years at least. Adding the slightest bit of pressure to her back as if i'm going to jump on, she pins her ears and drops her head. I'm going to see if my BO has a bareback pad so I can try to transition her.

With this bit of information, I wonder if she isn't sore. It could be the cause of your riding problems, too. Or at least part of it....
I would have a vet or chiro check her first.
Is there anywhere you can ride her with no problems? If she acts up every time you ride, rule out soreness first and foremost.
Edited to say, I reread your post, and you still have training issues to work with (trying to turn back etc). But I just wonder if she isn't hurting somewhere. Didn't mean to sound like soreness is causing all the problems. :)

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