Scared of Barn Door? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Scared of Barn Door?

I'm currently working with a 14.2HH paint mare who has developed a fear of walking out the barn door. Her pasture is connected to the barn, so in the morning her owners typically open her stall door and let her out on her own, and she will trot/canter out. If you tack her up in the aisle, and try and lead her out, she'll either put on the brakes and put er in reverse, dragging me backwards, or bolt through the door, taking me with her.
Currently the only explanation we have is that she might be scared of the shadows cast by the overhang (about 5 feet) at the end of the barn. The two doors are very wide. She was vetted on Monday and is completely clear, good vision and all. Today I may attempt to back her out of the barn or take her out the other end and through the gate, but what are your thoughts on this?

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post #2 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 11:52 AM
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You might try finding where she starts to get nervous and feed her there. Move it gradually closer and she may get over it.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 05:55 PM
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[QUOTE=kmacdougall;691831]I'm currently working ...she'll either put on the brakes and put er in reverse, dragging me backwards, or bolt through the door, taking me with her.

She has no manners. Try a cahin over her nose to stop bolting and carry a whip so she doesn't try to run you over. Then start doing this - 1 step towards door, pat, repeat. The minute she shows unease allow her a bit longer then ask for forward. If she won't go forward ask for sideways, if she gives you 1 step then reward her, mark the spot and use other door. Next day repeat but go an additional step. Repeat until she gets it and YOU must ALWAYS be in control - NOT her. She can stop if she's frightened but NOT run you over or try to bolt.

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 06:55 PM
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Ooh, I hate nose chains, but ignoring that for now...

Is this a new behavior or something she's always done? What is the footing like around the barn door? You said her owners just cut her loose to run out, is it possible she may have slipped and run into the door at some point? There was a gelding at a barn I worked for that did that very thing, and was petrified of the doorway afterwards. It took a lot of patience and time to get him over it. If it's a FEAR response, then you will get nowhere being aggressive to fix it. If she's being bratty, that's another story entirely.

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 08:00 PM
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Does she have the same reaction when you lead her out of the same door without a saddle on? Is this the same door that she runs out of by her own free will?

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post #6 of 6 Old 07-15-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Ok guys, quick update as I just worked with her again.
I led her in and out, working on her being respectful and not RUNNING into the stall. Everything was going great! I did have to use a chain over her nose but never had to actually engage it once.
Now, the overhang is part of the roof, comes off about 5 feet, and is supported by 4 large beams.
After taking her in and out, in and out, in and out, and she was doing fine, I paused under the overhang for a moment. She got between the overhang post and the wall and all of a sudden lost all sense of reason. First she shoved er in reverse, and I let her take a bit of lead from me because I didn't want to tear her face to shreds, then I kind of skipped up with her quickly saying "ho mare, easy big girl, etc" and she came right over and like wanted to crawl in my pocket. She was genuinely scared.

All that's over there is the outdoor cross ties and her water bucket, which she goes to every day.. I'm very stumped with this one!

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