I need some help with a "herd bound" horse.

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I need some help with a "herd bound" horse.

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  • Horse extremely herd bound
  • Horse leaving the herd

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    03-19-2011, 04:22 PM
I need some help with a "herd bound" horse.

Since we got our new mare, Moe has picked up a new habit. He is now very "herd bound" and does not like to be away from her. Of course she usually could care less whether or not he is there, and if he whinnies like a madman she just ignores him.

He's like the creepy stalker guy down the street, pretty much. :3

So today I took Sadie out to work with her and she did extrordinary. We lunged and played a few games. Also working on backing up straight, and moving her butt without moving forward. The art of not trampling people, aswell. She did good with it all once she got into the general swing of things.

I lead her back to the barn and groomed her then let her back out to regain all 10 calories she might of burned during that excersize. Before I let her back in I hooked Moe up and went to bring him out to groom him. He just freaked out when Sadie was out of his sight. Both of them were still in the same pen, and the whole time I was working with her she was in sight, but he still was freaking out even then, aswell.

But now I have the gate open, and he just runs on out as if it's nobodys buisness. I don't really fret all that much seeing as he managed not to quite run me over. This whole time he's just whinnying and fussing a buttload where I can't even groom him.

I kept him by me this whole time, and just had him go in and out of the gate. When I had him go in the gate he would start sidestepping and trying to pull himself towards her. When he'd go out he would trot. But if you know him his trot is pretty rediculously fast sometimes. I proceeded making him go in and out of the gate untill he would just walk in, but he was still pretty uppity.

I then closed the gate and just stood there by him. He whinnied and through a hissy fit like a three year old coming home from a friend's house. He just didn't want to go.

He never really calmed down completely. But I got him to the point where he did stay with me for a while after I unclipped him. I went on the other side of the fence and he still stood there by me and put his head over the divider in the barn. I put everything away and he watched me, then I gave him a nibble of a treat and petted him for a while. But then I walked away and left. He watched me for a while then just took off running like something was going to kill him. He galloped back over to Sadie out in the pasture and that was that.

Of course all this time he was fussing and through a fit Sadie didn't care at all. Sometimes she'll come back over into the pen to see what's going on. (Mainly to see if there are any treats being handed out that she is not getting.) But she didn't even do that.

So I'm just wondering what can I do to correct this? They aren't really bonded to eachother all that much. She'd probably be a bit unhappy without him but not nearly as reliant as Moe is on her. Before we got Sadie, Moe was the only horse on our property. He'd been on his own for about two years. (Of course he wasn't actually alone if you take into account ducks, cows, chickens and dogs that meandered through his pen every once and a while.) I came outside by him every day, but I didn't work with him as much as I do now. (Though I have been favoring my mother's horse for the last couple weeks.)

It seems that since we have gotten Sadie things have just been getting worse with him. I have lost alot of the confidence for riding that I've built when we only had him and were going to the new trainer. Now whenever my sister wants to be stupid and take Sadie out of the barn whenever I'm riding Moe he'll through an absolute fit.

I've actually been so afraid of riding him when Sadie's not around that I've broken down crying. I may be as soft as a marshmallow sometimes, but usually I don't cry about the horses unless I'm really scared.

Their is now way to get his attention to be on me when we are even doing groundwork when Sadie is not there. I've tried playing some sort of game, lunging, taking him for a walk. But no matter what he is just a turd about it. I really love Moe and don't want to give up on him for something as stupid as this.

It's just dangerous to be around him when he's not with Sadie. So usually if I am to take any of the horses away now it is Sadie because she at least doesn't try and tackle me. And he's just as much of a butt when he is with her, too. He nips at her and makes her run me over. Sure, she could probably attempt to go around but sometimes there isn't any room to go around me.

Sorry for such a novel but I want to fix this problem so I can start moving forward again. If I am ever going to ride him I will at least need the confidence to be near him when he is by himself.

Moe is the POA and Sadie is the Paint. I'm riding Sadie in one of the pictures, and my trainer is riding Moe.

Any help would be appreciated. ^^

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    03-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Green Broke
First off, even though Moes has been on his own for two years besides the other animals, he's still a pack animal. Being the only horse for a while and introducing another, he may be thinking that he may be left alone again if he's away from Sadie. What I would do is tie him up away and out of sight of Sadie for a couple of hours a day until he is calm when seperated. Only bring him back to her when he is calm. This is definitely not a quick fix. Where you tie him up, make sure it's safe for him so he doesn't get hurt and check on him regularly. If he fusses or is whinnying, he stays tied up. If he's calm and relaxed, he can go back to her. Just what I would do.
    03-19-2011, 05:30 PM
Why isn't your trainer helping you with this problem? That would be money well spent.

I think the general philosphy with herd bound horses is to at first make being away from their buddy a place of rest and being with them a place of work. Don't know how you would accomplish that, tho.

The other possibiliity is to just tie Moe away from her to something really firm and let him hash it out on his own. When he's finally quiet, come and pet him , feed him and let him back with Sadie. Might take hours, but don't pay him a bit of attention 'til he's quiet.
    03-19-2011, 06:26 PM
First off, even though Moes has been on his own for two years besides the other animals, he's still a pack animal. Being the only horse for a while and introducing another, he may be thinking that he may be left alone again if he's away from Sadie.
My friend has a beautiful Trakehner that she foaled and trained to be an amazing Show Jumper. She took her to TONS of shows, won lots of ribbons and such. She never had a lick of a problem with Bronte (her mare) being herd bound at all, when she lived in a big show barn. Then, when my friend moved, she took Bronte to her brother's house because it was closer to where she was moving. Bronte was the only horse at her brothers house for about 3-5 months (not sure) and had other farm animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, goats ect... to keep her company. When my friend brought her too her new house, she got another pony for her kids. Since Bronte has been around other horses again she is THE MOST HERD BOUND HORSE I HAVE EVER SEEN. It's crazy, she will almost hurt herself throwing a fit if you walk the pony out of sight for a second. I've taken my horses to her house and when I leave Bronte throws a fit over my horses leaving. I think that is what you are dealing with, he is just frightened he won't see her again. I think tying him up until he has calmed down is a good idea. I did this with my filly when I was breaking her from being glued to her mom's hip and it works. Again just make sure it's a safe situation, the rope is high enough so he doesn't get caught up in it, nothing for him to wrap around or get stuck on ect... Good luck! Keep us updated! :] Your horses are adorable by the way!!!
    03-19-2011, 07:09 PM
Usandpets - I sort of figured it was something like that. I will try and find somewhere safe to keep him or tie him up, but that might be a bit of a hassle. I definitely try harder with this rather than with other horse stuff because this is just getting pretty bad.

Tinyliny - The trainer is trying to help, but can't focus on just that during the lessons. My sister has apsbergers syndrome and probably wouldn't be able to be let out alone with this horse. She'd have to have someone out there to make sure she doesn't try anything that the horse can't do. When my sister first took lessons she was on a horse that listens to EVERYTHING and didn't spook at all. She now thinks that she can ride any horse just because she rode that one and never fell off and could do anything. She'd probably try having Sadie jump over something or canter or even might try standing on her back to prove some sort of point. I'm rambling, but she can't just ride alone. The trainer has to be there, or at least someone but she doesn't listen to hardly anyone. -.-

We tried it a few times, but my sister decided to be a butt and ride Sadie randomly outside when I was riding Moe. Not the first time that's happened, either. Every one tells her not to but she does. And even when I try to have Moe focus he doesn't get it at all. (Apsbergers is a very high functioning form of Autism. It's not like my sister doesn't know better, she just doesn't think things through.)

Shananigan - Moe is pretty much like that, too. Herd bound horses are just an unconvienince sometimes.


I will definitely try tying him or putting him somewhere else for a while away from Sadie. I do hope it works. I will have to pimp out some of our barn to make it so Moe can be there safely. I know just tying him up would not work at all. Thanks everyone for giving your opinions and solutions. ^^ I really do appreciate it.
    03-19-2011, 07:44 PM

I know all about Aspergers. My oldest son is very high functionaing AS and my niece is full on Austistic.

I think the tying plan might be your best line.
This may easea bit after some time. Sadie is still relatively new, isn't she?
    03-19-2011, 07:53 PM
Aspergers doesn't say much about ones capability
    03-19-2011, 09:58 PM
Tinyliny - We got Sadie in May of last year, so yes, she is fairly new.

Two of my siblings have Aspergers, but my sister is the only one who keeps going with the riding lessons.

Christopher - I never said it really limited her. I figured if said nothing about it that would be giving people a very one sided view of the situation. It's like saying a horse has a limp in it's walk but not mentioning a problem with it's hoof. Most people would just not understand why she just can't go take Sadie and wander around outside unless I said something about it.
    03-20-2011, 02:08 PM
Today I just took Sadie out and fed her outside of the fence. Moe of course freaked out and galloped around his pen for a few mintues. Each time he calmed down, I brought her closer. But theirs a line of trees between where we were and the pen he was in. I kept him in the paddock so he wouldn't run around the pasture like a nut. Some of the times when Sadie was grazing behind a tree he would start up again, so I'd keep her there. Once he calmed down I'd move her around.

He whinnied and spazzed, super trotting around the pen, galloping sometimes in between. I still don't completely understand why he does it, because Sadie only once looked at him. Not really with care, but sort of annoyance and curiousness like "What the heck is he doing?" Then she just continued eating. It would just be far to dangerous to tie him up, so I feel like keeping him in the paddock and taking Sadie out is a much better alternative. She's alot safer, because frankly, she doesn't even care. She actually wanted to come out by me.

Then I went to get their hay. I put Sadie out into the pasture and Moe stayed in the paddock. After I put the food in the feeder I did not let him out right away. I waited outside of the paddock to see if he'd come up to me, which of course he did not even want to come near me. After a few minutes I went out into the paddock and I hooked him up to a leadrope and started walking him around. He was absolutely fine and seemed sort of happy that I was giving attention. But it was from that, to when I walked him to the barn he started freaking out and trotting, nostrils flaring. I walked him back and fourth, made him do a few things to keep his mind focused. I took him and walked him into the barn, then right out. I walked him to the gate, then turned around walking him to the barn, and around the paddock.

He got a wee bit better each time I walked into the barn, but I could tell each time I walked that way he spazzed a little bit. I then lead him out into the pasture and walked him around. He listened to me extremely well as long as Sadie was in his sights. I walked him over to the hay and let him go after a while.

Will doing this over and over help? Or am I just making it worse some how?

Also I was wondering how other horses coming into the mix might help or hurt this. I'm not looking into getting another horse, by no means. A while ago when Moe was alone we took him to our trainer's for two months and kept him there with the herd. Would this change him at all does anyone think? Or would it just make the problem worse?
    03-20-2011, 11:07 PM
Green Broke
Another thing you could do instead of tying him up, have him on a lead rope and walk him away from Sadie on the opposite side of a fence. Stop a short distance from her, about where he would throw a fit. Let him stand there and be relaxed. Walk him back to Sadie and put him to work. Walk him away again maybe a little farther and repeat. What you'd be doing is making him uncomfortable to be around her and he can rest and relax away from her. Eventually, he'd rather be away from her with you. When you put them out for the day, let one be in the pasture and one be in the pen. Then switch them part way through the day, if you can do that. Otherwise, if he seems to be getting even a little better each time you walk him like you say you are doing, keep at it.

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