Herd bound at shows

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Herd bound at shows

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    10-25-2010, 10:51 AM
Unhappy Herd bound at shows

Looking for some tips on working with some buddy sour behavior, and keeping it from getting worse. Horse is a 5 year old quarter pony.
Twilight is totally fine being taken away from his barn buddies at home, we can take him across the street to ride at a neighbor's house to ride alone with no problem there either.
If we take him to a show alone, he is fine. However, if we take him to a show with a buddy, he gets very worried about where the buddy is, and can be difficult to handle. Not awful (I've seen much worse!), but I want to make sure it doesn't escalate. We took him to a show on Saturday, and he dumped the experienced college age girl who was riding him. She exercises him at our house for us all the time, and they do very well together.
This WAS his first time actually being ridden at a show. He has been to many shows, but just done halter & showmanship. I knew that my 9 year old couldn't handle riding him at a show yet (though she rides him just fine at home). We used to take him to a show with the pony mare we were leasing, and this week was his first time with our new mare. Both of the mares are been there/done that, and could care less if they have a buddy around or not.
If he knows his buddy is on the property, he gets very anxious and fixated on "where did she go!?!?". Looking in the direction of wherever he last saw her standing, and wanting to go there. That's what happened Saturday. The girl rode him to the practice ring, they went around fine once, and then all of a sudden I saw him start looking around trying to find his buddy, he gave afew good bucks, dumped his rider and headed for the gate.
If he is in the same class as his buddy, he's happy as can be. If he is in the ring, and can see his buddy outside of the ring, that upsets him too.
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    10-25-2010, 11:14 AM
Green Broke
Really what need to be done is just consistent working with this horse. Everyone is always looking for a quick fix to solve the "buddy sourness". When really it take alot of time and alottttt of patience. If it were me in this situation I would continue to work this horse, if he acted up then I would correct him and continue going like nothing ever happened. With time, patience, and consistent working your horse will get over himself. I had a 10yr old pony who has been shown alot threwout his life and still to this day he whinnys and screams at the other horses. He still behaves just fine, he is just very vocal.
    10-25-2010, 11:18 AM
Oh, I know there is no quick fix. I was just wondering if there are any specific things we can/should be doing to correct/keep the issue from getting worse. He will also call out quite a bit for his buddy. If he goes to a show with no buddy, he's quiet. Of course always taking him to shows alone isn't practical.
    10-25-2010, 11:20 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by artsyjenn    
Oh, I know there is no quick fix. I was just wondering if there are any specific things we can/should be doing to correct/keep the issue from getting worse. He will also call out quite a bit for his buddy. If he goes to a show with no buddy, he's quiet. Of course always taking him to shows alone isn't practical.
Just keep working with him. When he acts up and starts being naughty then correct him and move on. If all he is doing is calling out then I see no problem with it, aslong as he is still behaving
    10-25-2010, 11:27 AM
The calling out isn't a big deal (and he doesn't even do it that much). Dumping his rider in an attempt to go and find his buddy, much bigger problem. He definitely wanted her off, it wasn't a spook or anything when he bucked her off. More like "I need to go find my friend, and you are hindering that, off you go". He can also get somewhat difficult to handle on the ground. Like I said, I've seen MUCH worse from other horses, but I don't want him to get worse.
    10-25-2010, 11:43 AM
Green Broke
I just took my filly to her first show this weekend and encountered essentially the same thing - she's fine at home, and even fine on large group trail rides when we get separated from our buddies and she's surrounded by strange horses but at the show she was having a heart attack anytime she couldn't see Justus (they aren't even pastured together anymore).

She also pulled her first attempt at dumping me out of frustration, thankfully she doesn't have much oomph and I managed to stick it. I just kept her working and working hard - we blew a few classes because of it, but it's all about experience and really to be expected. We kept Justus out of the arena when I had a class, as it made her behave WAY better compared to letting her stand at the rail in sight.

The show organizers were nice and put our stalls across from each other, but I think in future I would much prefer them beside each other where they CAN'T see or sniff each other. You may experience a lot more stall anxiety, but it helps them sort it out for themselves and learn to be alone.

Really, it's all about practice. Keep them apart, try not to reward them by letting them stand by their buddy even if it's convenient. Keep them focused, doing lots of intensive work during warmup, making them focus on you. Some horses will ALWAYS be buddy sour, so unfortunately it's just something you have to take steps to help cure on the fly! Good luck!
    10-25-2010, 12:03 PM
I'm HOPING that a lot of it is just being young and inexperienced. Since he hasn't been ridden in shows, would it be better to take him alone afew times to some shows where he is going to be ridden?
He spent a week at the county fair, and didn't show any buddy sour behavior at all, since we only took one horse. Some of the other horses developed attachments even to "stranger" horses in the next stall, but he didn't do that at all.
Most of the shows we go to, other than the fair, we will be showing out of our trailer. No stalls. So it's going to be harder to keep them apart. We tried putting him in the trailer while his buddy was tied outside (he could see her), but he started having a fit (kicking the trailer wall).

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