Re-training dangerously barn sour horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question Re-training dangerously barn sour horse?

First off this is a real situation, but NOT one I'm taking on myself. I don't feel I have the experience to deal with this mare from what I've heard of her behavior, but I'm curious how others would deal with this.

8-10 TB mare, was trained at 3-4 but has now been sitting in the pasture for the last 5 or so years. I'm fairly certian that she has not been ridden since the early training. Someone I know was going to put a refresher on this mare and had the owner put her in a round pen so she could be worked. Apparently the mare was running wildly around screaming, bucking, just in general acting completely crazy. The trainer person got in the round pen to start working with her, the mare charged the trainer and the trainer jumped out. Now the trainer isn't going to work with the mare anymore as they don't feel they have the experience necessary to deal with her.

I'm wondering how exactly you would begin working with this mare? Again I am NOT going to attempt anything with her, but I'd like to learn from the situation.

I thought of two ways, but I don't know if either is actually feasible.

1. Separate her from the other horses until she calms down enough to work with, basically in her own pasture/living quarters until she gets over her attachment. Then start working with her.


2. Work with her in the pasture/paddock with the other horses until she is confident enough in you (and herself) to be worked in the round pen or outside of the pasture/paddock.

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post #2 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 03:40 PM
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i would start with seperating her and frequently going to see her when shes calmed down enough sit in with her gain her trust in you and then start working with her. But thats just me hah i of course would not take her on either.

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 03:44 PM
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I wouldnt take her on either. But if a situation came up where I had to, I would certainly take her away from her buddies. No work...just get her in a secure pasture far enough away that she cant call to them. I would let her sit and I would feed her by myself...most horses are so food driven...they will get over just about anything for food. Once she had calmed takes time...I would start working her in her own pasture. She sound insecure to me. Its all about regaining their trust and letting her know that she can trust you to make decisions.

Sounds like an ugly situation though. I wish whoever does take her on the best of luck!
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 04:57 PM
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This sounds like alot more than buddy sour. I've seen several that were really bad, but they've never been agressive toward someone like that just because they were buddy sour.

Personally if all the trainer actually did was walk into the rd pen and the horse charged, then I'd say it needs a bullet.

If one were that buddy sour I'd probably tie another horse possibly out side the rd pen say 50 yds away or so just so you might get something accomplished. Buddy sourness is extremmely dangerous.

I was at a Buck Brannaman clinic a couple yrs back and watched how he worked with one on it. He put everyone in the center of the arena and just rode the buddy sour horse not directing it in any direction but let it go wherever it wanted just keeping it moving.

The horse kept going to the center to be with the others, thats when Buck made the horse lope, again wherever it wanted but he picked a spot at one end of the arena and each time the horse went to that spot he let it rest. Helped that the horse was overweight and out of shape.

Took maybe 15 minutes and that horse wanted absolutely nothing to do with the other horses in the center. It was very content being in that resting spot Buck picked out when they first started.

It was really neat to watch. Buck did say that it would have to be practiced occassionally but that the horse would figure it out pretty quick.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 05:07 PM
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It's a tricky situation only because we don't really know what ACTUALLY happened - was she charging to kill, or was she pissed off and scared the bejebus out of the trainer? I would completely ignore the fact that she's had training before and focus on the fact that she's been herd bound and had little asked of her in the last 5 years. ANY horse is going to go a little loco when you pull them from their herd and isolate them. Hence why I question exactly how "dangerous" her behavior was, and how much of it was her just panicked and looking for escape.

I would begin by isolating her, preferably out of sight completely of other horses and just letting her think it out for a day or two. There are VERY few horses in this world who are out to hurt humans, and if she WAS trained without incident, she obviously doesn't have that sort of mentality. She just needs someone to stand up to her, and know how to work her as opposed to running because she ran in their general direction. I think the first mistake was attempting to do this as soon as she was in the pen and not giving her a chance to think about what was going on.

I bet money if you let her fester by herself for 24-48 hours, you'll find a much more agreeable horse.

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

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post #6 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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MM - I don't really think she's dangerous per se. I'm horse sitting for this lady right now and have been out in the pasture with them feeding without incident. She's let me move her out of the way to put down hay or get in the gate. When I was bringing them in before the big storm last week she got separated from 2 of the horses (they were all acting like morons because of the storm) and while she freaked out and ran around like a nut she wasn't violent or aggressive towards me when I was attempting to get her to safety.

I was pretty careful though, kept close to the fence ready to jump over if necessary! Eventually I ended up luring her in (thankfully right before the golf ball to baseball sized hail started) but didn't lay a hand on her as I wasn't sure how she would react. Besides which I don't have any sort of permission to work with her.

The trainer (and I) had both suggested to the owner to separate her from the other horses for a couple of days before having another trainer out to work with her. Or even bringing her to a trainer instead of training on property. I'll have to suggest it again when the owner gets back. I know she has high hopes for this mare to be her trail horse at some point and she seems to be a nice enough horse as long as she can get re-trained..
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 06:08 PM
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Well-Be careful. I had one who was that buddy sour. He just turned totally agressive to anyone who went out into the field-even for another horse. Made no difference if you had a whip with you-he came charging and tried to bite and kick. I got rid of him, and frankly, the trainer who took him (knowing this of course) did very well with him. I think he needed a guy-or at least someone he couldn't intimidate. I couldn't deal with it where we were, since there were kids at the barn. He needed to learn respect-to say the least.
Anyway-I would send her to another barn to learn to overcome this. I would be concerned if put in a stall, roundpen, whereever, she would go nutty and break out if her friends are close. At another barn she becomes low man on the pole again, and the other horses will bring her down a notch at the least. I think you all are lucky she stayed in the roundpen-I had one jump out when he wanted his buddies once-bent the hell out of the gate, and got scraped up.....then ate grass.
Good luck-and be careful!

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post #8 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Don't worrry Franknbeans, I'm not messing with her beyond feeding. She's been fine with others coming into the pasture for 5 or so years and taking other horses away, so I don't think she'll suddenly turn psycho. But I'm always careful around strange horses. But I'll definitely talk to the owner and let her know that she may consider separating her for awhile before getting another trainer to work with her. I'm thinking it's just a case of her being too long with the same 3 horses and never being taken out, so it is fixable. Which is great news for her owner. I don't think she'd sell her anyways, but I know she'd like to ride her at one point.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 08:42 PM
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I definitely didn't intend to undercut the potential for harm, I just know you're an experienced and educated horse person with more then enough common sense to know when to bail if it becomes necessary. The only reason I have doubts as to the "dangerousness" level of this mare is that a vicious towards human attitude doesn't just appear - and she WAS trained, so unless they're not telling you she killed someone, she'd been worked with just fine before. If she was a maneater, she'd have eaten the trainer four years ago as well. I stand by her just being totally panicked and not understanding and maybe a trainer who wasn't reading her body language correctly.

The fact that you were with her in the pasture without issues only confirms my beliefs. Best of luck with her.

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

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post #10 of 12 Old 07-28-2010, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking. Especially as the owner didn't warn me to watch out for her or anything and this woman is EXTREMELY conscientious about safety, so she would've definitely warned me to watch out for her when feeding.

Well cool, thanks for the advice everyone. Thanks for the compliment too MM
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