how to quiet a vocal horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 10:08 AM
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I completely disagree that it is just a young horse thing that they out-grow. If it were, we would not see dozens of questions about what people should do with their 'buddy sour' and 'herd bound' horses. Some outgrow it and others still get lonesome when they are 20. When you have a horse, young or old, that is calling out and lonesome, you have some degree of herd bound behavior. On the low end of this scale are the horses that call out or walk slowly (or weave and stagger like a drunk) when leaving other horses to go it alone. On the other end of the scale are the horses that REFUSE to leave the barn or their buddies. 'Stalling out', rearing, spinning around, etc are on this end of the scale. BUT, most of those horses started out just calling out for other horses when they were ridden alone.

By the time I have put 60 days of training in any horse, I can tell if they have much of a tendency to get super attached to other horses and are going to be a horse that will always tend toward being herd bound and get lonesome.

First, I would tie him out away from any other horses every chance I got. This is by far the best way to teach horses that there is life after separation. You are letting them learn to accept being alone. That wins at least half of the battle.

If I have a young horse like yours, I will bring them along on every trail ride that there is room for them. Then, I tie them out in a safe place while the rest of us ride . As long as they are well accepting of being tied solidly in a safe place, I have never had any problem with it. Most Field Trial horses I know are very well broke for tying. As a matter of face, around here they are all broke to stake out on a long rope.

Once I start riding these horses a lot on the trails, we always separate on every ride. We do the 'leap-frog' thing on all rides. This is where one rider rides out ahead the other stays behind, doing whatever it take to stay quiet and walk. The lead horse rides out of sight at a trot or lope and pull up to a walk well out of sight. When the back horse is quiet and walking right, that horse trots or lopes, passes the first horse and the whole thing is repeated as long as there is time for it or both horses are OK with it. We never ride back to the truck together, either.

When I have ridden a horse long enough that they are pretty good most of the time, I scold them for calling out. I usually do this by saying "Ah!" and take the horse's head away from him making him stand a good with his nose at my leg. If he keeps it up, I will take his head away from him and kick him hard a few times with my inside leg (makes him disengage his hind end). [This is also what I do when I teach a stallion to not nicker.]
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 11:10 AM
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I start on the ground with my stallions. They learn the command, "No talking.". The minute they start to call to a mare, even just a nicker, if we're not headed to the breeding shed, I pop them with a lead rope and say, "No talking." and then I keep right on doing what I was doing. I do it every time they draw breath to "talk" and pretty soon, I don't have to do more than say, "No talking.", firmly and quietly. This carries over to saddle work, and I rarely have to remind them that they're not to call out on rides either.

You might try some Vicks in his nose too, I use this when I'm on a mixed trail ride so the stallions don't notice a mare in heat. They get used to riding away from the group and while the sight of the group disappears, the smell of the Vicks never leaves them, so they don't lose a smell they're used to.

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-03-2013, 02:32 PM
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Jim, if I were you I'd make him work every time he calls out, make him understand there are consequences for his wrong actions. If your under saddle and walking along, and he starts to ask his buddys how its going, make him trot around in circles, - make him move. When I first started my personal mare she called out all the time, as long a I was consistent and made her move her feet everytime she called out, she soon stopped. Hasn't been an issue since. - Make the wrong things difficult, and the right things easy.

Hope this helps,
- Michael
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-03-2013, 02:52 PM
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I think this is a normal problem that many horses have. IMO, this is a sign of what is your horse paying attention to. calling to other horses because he is alone is a natural and normal response when a horse is alone. So to stop this behavior all you need to do is teach your horse that he need to pay attention to you and not to the fact that he is not with the other horses. So when he is calling he is telling you he is not paying attention to you. So the making him work is getting his attention back on you and making the calling a thing of work. It can take some time but if you stay with it he will soon lean to keep his attention on you and will learn that the calling his friends gets him more work.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-03-2013, 04:00 PM
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We had a horse that died in his late 30's that did this right to the end. He was perfectly well behaved about riding out on his own or kept on his own - no tantrums or concerns at all - he was just very vocal
I would tell him off for doing it, even slapped him when it really irritated me enough - both would shut him up at the time but it never cured him.
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