Ricci's version of barn sour. Help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-22-2010, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Washington, USA.
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Ricci's version of barn sour. Help?

Please bear with me, I would love to hear from you. =]

Ricci has an unusual [at least to me] idea of being barn sour. I'll take you step by step on the ride today. I was going to go down the road to get coffee with my friend [I've ridden double on her a hundred times, it's not the problem.] We start out okay, but she will hesitate and then spin around to the right to go back to the barn. I'll spin her around to the left and we'll keep going until she does it again. When we get far enough away, she'll stop. This is a relatively new development. She used to just go, we've only had a few fights. Once when we went to get past the big metal plate on the ground, and a few more times trying to get up the hill the first few times. But ever since I got Gracie, and Gracie sits in the pasture and screams and screams, Ricci just doesn't seem to want to leave. When I take Gracie away, Ricci handles it just fine. When Ricci used to live with a mini, he would scream for her and she didn't care at all.

Today, we got to the back road and she was just freaking out about going forward. We had been going for awhile without a hitch, but all of a sudden she gave a little buck and spun around [always to the right.] My friend bailed and I fought with her a bit; spun to the left and got her forward, spun to the left and got her forward. When that wasn't enough, we started backing up everytime she spun towards home. In the past, it's always worked; it's easier to go where I want walking forward than it is walking backward. She threatened to rear a few times [!!] and gave a few bucks and quicker spins. I started circling her a few times and just became a witch about it. I was getting mad! Where was my amazing trail horse? Willing to go anywhere without a flick of her ear? This has been getting ridiculous!

Eventually, I got her to go forward well without her dodging and trying to spin, so I got off and continued walking in the direction I wanted to go as a kind of break. I was GOING to that coffee stand, PERIOD. After we got most of the way down the road, I got back on and she stood great for mounting, and walked along great. We got to the turn and my friend got back on. Ricci stood and walked on like the perfect pony I'm used to. We made it all the way to the espresso stand with only three small hitches; she tried to turn around once, she had a small spook at a can in the grass, and another small spook when we accidently knocked over a mailbox.

On the way back, she was also a perfect gentle-horse. She wasn't prancing but for a few seconds. My friend wanted to get off because she was uncomfortable being on Ricci with the cars coming up from behind us. No biggie, except we tried to stop in a drive way, I held my friend's drink [while also holding my drink and Ricci] and when she went to dismount, Ricci started prancing around and I shoved the drink back at my friend [who dropped it to hang on] and made Ricci stand still. So we spent a few minutes the way back stopping and waiting, stopping and waiting. It only took a few tries for her to be stopping with a verbal "woah" and waiting patiently. The rest of the ride home was perfect, not rushing, not prancing, walking quickly, but 100% in control.

I'm just so confused. I just don't think this is at all like her. There are only two spots that this is a problem; when we get past the house, and when we leave the trail for the back road. On the trails, and on the main road, it's not. Well, the last time we tried to go for a ride, she pitched a HUGE HUGE HUGE fit, but I think that was because she was still hurt in her feet. I also think maybe she resents the trail rides now, because the time before that is when I think she really hurt her feet [galloping down the road with almost too-long toes and very possibly already strained soft tissue in her feet.] Do you think this may be the reason she's reluctant to leave? Do you think if I keep pushing through, she'll realize she isn't going to get hurt again?

I understand the typical approach to fixing a barn sour problem; work where they want to be, rest where you want to be. And I'm more than willing to do that, and I will work on it, but I'm not sure this is a true barn sour issue? I've never known a barn sour horse to be so calm and easy-going coming home? ::sigh:: Sorry this was so long, any ideas, thoughts, or input would be appreciated. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-22-2010, 11:51 PM
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Lacey is EXACTLY like that. She's kinda a jerk going away from home, but I've taken to carrying a crop when we go down the road which has totally solved it since she knows that if she tries any funny business she is going to get smacked. If I ask her to stop going away from home, she'll stop fine but turn into a tree as soon as I ask her to go forwards. then, if I push it she'll start backing up like crazy and if I try to circle her, rearing ensues. So now I just carry a crop when we ride on the road and she doesn't try anything. She's a little irritable when I ask her to keep going after I've stopped her but nothing bad anymore.
At least Ricci doesn't try to run from home! That's Lacey's favorite technique once she realizes that we aren't going to turn around when she wants to. She'll walk as fast as possible and if I don't hold her back a bit, she'll start trotting. I think her philosophy is that the sooner we get to our destination, the sooner we'll be home cuz as soon as we turn for home, her head drops and I sometimes even have to urge her to keep going. On the way out there's no holding her back, but on the way home, I usually drop the reins and take pictures because I know she's just gonna chill all the way back.

Older mares!

But yeah, you aren't alone! *hugs*

ETA: I used to think that Lacey was barn sour too when she'd do this stuff, but now I just kinda wonder if it's just her way of saying "I'm enjoying this ride, therefore we should do this cuz it's super fun!" Like the whole trotting away from home thing, maybe it's just her being like "heck to the yeah! We're going out! I can't wait to see everything!" and then when we turn around, she's thinking "this is boring, no more excitement, so I'm gonna calm down." I dunno, I'm probably totally anthropomorphizing, but whatevs, as long as the problem isn't dangerous anymore, I can think whatever I want about it, right? Haha

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 05-22-2010 at 11:57 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-23-2010, 12:10 AM
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Im of a different way of thinking. I think she is probably still resenting the trail riding a bit but you should be able to push through that. The ride home being more peaceful is probably another beneficial side effect of that. I would think she would want to be a good girl on the way home because good girls who walk get home faster than bad girls who have to spin and stop and fuss. Nico does get a bit barn sour...no bucking but we certainly have practiced our 'wheeling' manuver alot. That behavior lessens with time but he still likes to look back towards home. With or without another horse. On the way home, he is a perfect gentleman. You can feel it just under the skin though that one false move and hes running the whole way home. He just knows that if he misbehaves on that ride back, hes in deep trouble and in for a long work. Be patient. Your sweet trail-ride-anywhere mare is in there...I think shes just testing the waters.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-23-2010, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure we can push through it, this is the horse that will push you around a bit until you push back, and then she's a kitten about everything. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something. It really has gotten bad, but I guess my bad is pretty darn mild compared to most people's problems with barn sour-ness.

Also, I know she enjoys the espresso stand. The girls coo over her and give her treats [I gave them a bag] and people just fuss over her and she just stands there all posed. Plus, she only does this in three places consistently. Once you get past these places, she's just fine.

::sigh:: I just don't know. She's doing so well in the pasture with our dressage. I may give her more time to get back into shape [we've only just started trotting again] and then maybe she'll learn to appreciate the leisurely walk I'm trying to take her on!

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-24-2010, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Bump!? =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-24-2010, 10:41 PM
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Maybe she is just full of it? If you guys havent been working very hard lately or she is just coming back off of rest. Maybe she just needs some time...
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