Training a horse to NOT be barn sour? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-19-2007, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Training a horse to NOT be barn sour?

I went and looked at a cute little tri-colored paint gelding this week. He was really great, except he was a little barn sour! I tried taking him out of the yard, on to the unpaved road (don't cars!) but he absolutely would not leave the yard! We ended up turning cirles and such.

I am wondering if there is any way to break a horse of this habit?

The owner said he's never been out of the yard on his own before (and, we were on our own that day. No other horses were with us). Would walking him out of the yard help? So he can see what's out there?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-19-2007, 01:24 PM
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The concept of barn sour has always amazed me. I wonder what one does in the first place to create this attitude in a horse? I have had people tell me not to feed my horses right after I put them away from riding to prevent creating a barn sour horse, but that is usually exactly when I feed (I ride when I get home from work, feed, bed). I have never had a problem with barn sourness as a result of feeding or for any other reason - but I also ride almost every day with very high expectations of my horses behavior and response to my requests - I think you need to have these kinds of expectations to keep these type of vices from happening. I wonder (don't really know) if a lot of cases of barn sourness are a result of horses getting away with these kind of shenanigans when under the direction of less experienced riders?

I think preventing barn sourness is the best way to go in the first place, but as for training a horse to get over it - I would say a lot of ride time, and a lot of persistence. As for specific corrections, I always believe that it depends on the specific horse and situation. I know that I would not quit any session until the horse it moving forward in the direction I asked, and that any movement away from the direction I asked would result in more work for the horse (circles or something). It seems like this particular vice is partially due to a lack of respect for the rider, so I might also spend some time in the barn area working from the ground and in the saddle to make sure that when I ask for something in this environment, the horse will respond accordingly. I would then carry that expectation over to the trail. It sounds like part of this horse's problem might simply be lack of going out alone in the first place,so I would also put a lot of hours on trail without other horses once I was able to leave the barn area.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-19-2007, 06:13 PM
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Hmm, I think that why the horse is barn sour is indeed a good question. If I were you I'd keep looking. Nearly all behavioral vices are fixable and I don't think that this one would be any exception, but seeing as going into the barn is fairly simple I'd guess that there may be more problems than that lurking. When buying horses, people forget that horses are always being sold for a reason. The million dollar question is why. It could be totally innocent, such as a child has outgrown it and needs more horse. However, problem horses get sold. Again and again. Keep that in mind, and try to get some background as to why the horse is being sold, no matter where you look. Three times I've regretted not seeking that information.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-19-2007, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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The horse was nice, except for his inability to leave the yard by himself! I used to ride three specific horses; a 9-year old appendix QH gelding, and two 3-year old paint colts/stallions. The appendix gelding was a dream...he rode out alone all the time! Never had any trouble leaving the bar. The 3-year olds, on the other hand, were barn sour. The one was worse than the other.... I think I was only able to get in out of the yard ONCE.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-27-2007, 11:43 AM
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Hmm. My trainer has a horse that is terribly barn sour.

She decided to make him live in the arena haha.

Try working him outside the yard with other horses....just to get his mind off the barn.

Hope this helps lol. :)
DeadxEyesxSeexNoxFuture is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 08-01-2007, 06:34 AM
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Location: New Jersey
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barn sour

barn sour horses are like the ones you hear about running back into a burning barn - its safety - they are herd animals and if the other horses are in the barn/pasture - hes going to go where he feels safe until he feels safe with YOU. If you force the horse away hes going to be in such a panic he wont learn a thing- you have to get on and walk away from the area just before he starts feeling anxious you turn and take him back in a loop- make a circle so half of it is near his safe zone-half of it is farther away-make the loop larger each day without fighting with the horse- if you hurt him during this (you can insist but not hit or threaten the horse- the more you hurt or scare him the more reason he has to go back to his safe zone to the point of rearing or flying backwards) - theres going to be days where he will be stubborn and not want to try the far end of the loop-if he did it the day before quietly you can then push to get it the following day plus one more step. You will gain the horses trust and respect and then have a calm horse that is learning - rather than a panic'd horse fighting and worrying about how he will be able to rid himself of you and get back.
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