Extremely Herdbound Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,260
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Extremely Herdbound Horse

I adopted a 3 (now 4) year old Belgian (1/4 Haflinger) gelding from a rescue. The back story is that he was brought to the rescue along with his mother when he was a week old. He was adopted out before his dame was and then got sick. The two girls nursed him back to health, let him lay his head on their laps, handfed him, basically pampered him to death. So that when he grew up (a lot taller than his dame) to this almost 17h monster he wanted to lay on their lap and depend on them for his securities and they let him get away with it. He was extremely human oriented but then he went to the rescue and became extremely herd dependent.

He is completely unbroke. Has been sat on a few times. I've started his ground manners but because of his size I refuse to do any kind of saddle training and we are hiring a professional next year (because I feel he is not mentally mature enough to handle the training yet). My two year old filly is further in her training than he is. He blanks out sometimes. One time I was lunging him and he got a fly on him (yes I did spray him off before I worked him) and he went nuts. Came right at me. Of course he got the living stuffing worked out of him after that and even got the rubber end of the lunge line on his noggin because he was coming at me. He is getting better. When I got him I thought he was going to be a total maniac. The way the lady at the rescue described him. She was using a stud chain on him. But I haven't had to. He can be mouthy but if you warn him before he actually does it he'll stop. It doesn't matter what you do to him though he still tries. I even tried the old 3 seconds to kill, everything but his head thing. He still tries to bite. I don't hand feed him, don't let him lick me (he is a licker), don't like his mouth near me.

I'm trying to develope a good base before we send him to a trainer, or have a trainer come here. I've got him lunging, standing tied, walking beside me (instead of on top of me) and standing for the saddle. The biggest problem he has is that he is EXTREMELY herdbound. He has been left out twice here without the rest of the herd and both times he took down the fence to get to them. Electric and field. And if I take any one of the herd anywhere he runs back and forth neighing until someone puts him in a stall, then he will pace the stall. Even if he is left with the other horses.

Now my plan was to turn him out on his own once a day for a couple hours while I'm out with him until he becomes okay without the other horses. Even give him his pellets out in the field while he is alone so he learns that he gets something enjoyable. I want to do something about this before it gets worse or it's harder to do something about. My husband wants him to eventually be a trail horse, I have no doubt that EVENTUALLY he could be one. I think he'd follow after other horses just fine. But my husband doesn't like horses that won't go off on their own either. And I'd feel safe if he would be okay with being on his own. Any input would be great. I'd like a few more ideas in case mine doesn't work.

100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: leonardtown, MD
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I don't know if this is possible for you, but could you lunge him in the field with the other horses and then take him away from the horses each time increasing the distance/time and let him rest and just pet him. Then take him back and work him near the horses again. Keep repeating until he gets the idea that when he's with the other horses he has to work and when he's alone he gets to rest.

I've done this with my TB who is really buddy sour and it has worked with him.
He would whinny the whole time I was riding his buddy and run back and forth along the fence. And now he doesn't care.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
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I was thinking of doing that. Just worried that the other horses might become nosey and get in the way. But I'm definitely willing to give it a try.

100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Manitoba
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I had two horses come here that were extremely herd bound. One of them was at the point of being dangerous because he quit thinking of anything but where his buddy might be.
I can now pasture and work them without giant fits. It took me a long time, but was well worth the results. I started tying them a few feet apart on different sides of a rail fence. Gradually moved them a foot or so apart at a time. Let them stand till they were fine with it. Eventually they were quite a ways apart, but they knew they were going to be together later, so had quit worrying about it. There's more to what I did, but that was the start.
I wish you luck with your guy.
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Poland
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I have similar problem with my mare, usually when I dont work with her for a long time. Today I took her out of her pasture to ride a while on a nearby field. When she realized she is without herd we came back cantering... Then I made her work hard and ask again to walk there and back walking. We repeated it three times and this problem disappeared. But I dont think for ever
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