Herd Bound Horse-Please Help! - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 52
• Horses: 2
Herd Bound Horse-Please Help!

I just moved my horse X to a new barn. At this barn they have beautiful grass pastures, so I decided to keep him on outside board. He is in a pasture that's probably no smaller than 10 or 15 acres that he shares with 6 other horses. He has been at the barn for 4 days and he is getting progressively more and more herd bound. Today he made a fuss about leaving his pasture, then he would not tune into me and respect my personal space, he was not focused when I was riding him and he even tried to run out the arena gate back to his buddies a couple times. He was screaming his head off, he even got a bit hoarse. It got to the point where I had to put a lead chain on him or I would most likely have ended up with a couple of broken ribs. I understand that he is in a new place where he is insecure, but he is not acting spooky or scared, just completely disrespectful. I just don't know how to correct him or deal with him, let alone fix the problem.
Please help! :) thanks
Posted via Mobile Device
HunterJumper3D is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Alaska
Posts: 116
• Horses: 2
Well I would start by some round pen lessons I would keep him in a working trot anytime his attention veers away I would chase him into a canter, anytime he talked I would give him a little pop in the butt with the lunge whip and have him canter. When he starts to focus on you I would ask him for a walk, if he then starts looking for the other horses or talking again I would get right after him. I wouldn't stop until he was docile and paying attention. At that time I would saddle him up and work him. I would (if I could) work him away from the view of the other horses. I would do this twice a day for a week. I would get the respect on the ground before I got into the saddle. If he started talking in the saddle I would give him a little swat with my crop (or turn him in some circles), just a reminder he is suppose to be paying attention to you not them. After the week was up I would move him into a pen closer where he could see the other horse and start all over again. I have personally found it easier to work on herd bound issues away from the other horses at first. That is one of the ways I would handle it.

The other is taking them for a trail rides, when they start to talk or turn around I make them gallop, if they give me any refusals I spin them over and over then make them gallop I like using hills and making them run a lot. If they try to throw me well you got it they get too run some more! When they calm down I walk them, if it's summer time I will find a really nice patch of grass and get off and reward them with that treat. In the winter I pack treats to give them after they start giving me their undivided attention. I always make them walk back! If they start picking up their pace on the way back, I turn them and make them start going back again. I have found that the biggest key is not to let them have a couple days off until the issue is resolved. I have found when giving the herd bound horse a couple days off they tend to take giant leaps backwards.

That is how I have handled it but I have to say I am super curious how others do so I will be paying attention to the other answers.
stephshark likes this.
lives2hope is offline  
post #3 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 52
• Horses: 2
Thanks for your response, however the farm does not have a round pen, could I just have him on a lunge line?
Posted via Mobile Device
HunterJumper3D is offline  
post #4 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Alaska
Posts: 116
• Horses: 2
Yeah that would work you always have to improvise, I prefer using the round pen when working out issues and chasing rather then lunging. But I have used lunge lines for this before and worked just fine.
lives2hope is offline  
post #5 of 19 Old 07-18-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 52
• Horses: 2
Ok I'll try it, thanks! :)
Posted via Mobile Device
HunterJumper3D is offline  
post #6 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 52
• Horses: 2
If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!!
Posted via Mobile Device
HunterJumper3D is offline  
post #7 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 5,995
• Horses: 0
Your horse is not insecure. He has just found a taste of real 'herd life' and he likes it. He has 'bonded' with other herd members and now, his security is with them. If there are any mares in this herd, it will be even worse to get his attention.

Many horses go through this when they get turned out with a herd of horses. They LIKE it and they want to stay with them.

The best way I know to get a horse to accept being with the herd AND being away from their herd is to tie them up well away from the herd and let them fight it out. Let them scream and paw and throw a fit and do not put them back until they are standing quietly. It is best if you can tie one up well away from the herd. It may be a full day or even two or three different days to get the horse over it.

Once they get quiet and find out that they are going to go back to their herd, they usually get OK with coming and going and start minding again. As long as the horse is reactive and upset, you are not going to get their attention and they are only going to keep on being 'reactive'. They have to get settled and quiet in order to learn and become 'responsive'. It is just how they are.

Just be sure to tie one in a safe place and either tie it to an over-head tree limb or tie it higher than its withers. This tying exercise accomplishes several things. It teaches patience; It teaches respect for a halter and lead-rope; It teaches that a horse can be alone and be OK; It teaches that there is life and a return to the herd after separation.

This is the same thing a trail or ranch horse has to learn when they ride with other horses and then are separated from them and have to be ridden off by themselves.

Since all of our horses live out in big pastures with herds of 4 to 10 head, we go through this will all of them and they all get over it. We just tie them up until they do.

visit us at www.wolferanch.com
Cherie is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 11:21 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 4,510
• Horses: 2
I just want to chime in that I LOVE Cherie's advice because as the owner of a mare who is ONLY herdbound at shows, I know how absolutely futile and even dangerous it can be to try and "ride" it out of them. We were recently at a show last weekend and had no access to a round pen and even worse, it was hotter then heck out.

I used the same method lives2hope suggested with dismal failure. Absolutely ALL I accomplished was making my horse learn to BOLT forward as she flung her head up wildly every time she screamed because she knew I was going to wallop her and make her canter. This just escalated into her slipping on the grass in panic, absolutely DRENCHED with sweat in 40 degree heat, and still screaming and freaking out. We'd reach a point where she'd work nicely for 30 seconds and I would reward her and as soon as I rewarded her, she'd scream again. I ended up tying her to the trailer where she threw an ENORMOUS tantrum, nothing I have EVER seen from my utterly docile and quiet mare before, smashing herself into the trailer, pawing furiously, screaming and hauling back and finally reared up so high and threw herself so hard into the trailer that she snapped her halter and went tumbling to the ground.

Of course, I CURSED that I wasn't smart enough to bring her rope halter however that will be EXACTLY what is happening at the next event. I fully intend to locate a little rodeo close by that my best friend wants to compete in and Jynx is going to stand tied in her rope halter all freaking day long until she learns how to behave.

Best of luck - I know exactly how infuriatingly frustrating this can be. And the worst part is that often, you flat out CANNOT get their attention no matter how much you beat, cajole or beg them to behave. I think Cherie has extremely sound advice because a horse in THAT much of a panic is a danger to you and to himself. Let him throw a tantrum on his own until he figures out its a waste of time.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

MacabreMikolaj is offline  
post #9 of 19 Old 07-19-2012, 11:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,277
• Horses: 4
Similar to the tying thing - the way I work it is my round pen is just out of earshot of the barn, if they get too herd bound they get put in the round pen and wait - they hoot and holler and scream and everything, but they can do that all day if they want it's not getting them anywhere. When they are calm again, go and spend time with them, work them a tiny bit on the ground, groom them and make them feel good and spend some 'quality' time with them. Sometimes when they're alone down there and you come they start up again - immediately leave. They need to learn to accept your company or deal with being alone. Once they're calm being alone and just with you bring them back to their pasture with their buddies. Repeat this process for a few days, by the end they'll be fine because they know they get to go back when you're done with them. :P
I prefer this method because then you don't have to worry about the dangers of tying them, but it's less convenient as not many people have a paddock they can do that with.

Considering you don't have a round pen, do you have any small paddocks separate and further away from the others?
PunksTank is offline  
post #10 of 19 Old 07-20-2012, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,332
• Horses: 1
Groundwork groundwork groundwork.

Control your horses feet. Make him yield and turn back up. Make him run where you want. If you can work him in the field a little bit and stay safe, do it there too. Get a rope halter and use gloves. Crack the whip the second his ear is not turned to you and don't be afraid to smack him if he needs it. Keep a whip at all times if he gets pushy and get his attention. Ack on you whenever it slips away.

Good luck and stay safe!
Posted via Mobile Device
DancingArabian is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Herd Bound horse, long armydogs Horse Training 2 03-21-2012 09:06 AM
Herd-bound horse Horsequeen08 Horse Training 5 01-19-2011 11:43 AM
Herd-bound horse? Kuzukuzu27 Horse Training 3 06-24-2010 03:37 PM
dealing with a herd bound horse jazzyrider Horse Training 8 11-19-2008 08:16 PM
Is every horse, in some way, herd bound carriegeorge100 Horse Talk 4 04-29-2007 04:49 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome