Partially Buddy Sour Horse
I just purchased a 17 year old QH/Arab gelding a week ago. I moved him from being a lonely horse in a pasture with no shelter, barely any water, and his only friend was a horse that lived across the street. He is now happily living at a boarding stable in a herd of 8 and loving his fresh water and lean-to.
I noticed this similar behavior when I "test drove" him on his own turf. He is not reluctant to be led away from his pasture/paddock, but when it comes time to return him he's an anxious mess and can't get back there fast enough. I've read plenty about being buddy sour, and I can get him to leave but putting him back is a nightmare. We make the turn to his gate, and his breathing is so fast and he's prancing and it's everything I can do to keep backing him up and getting him from dragging me there. I can get him to lower his head, and stop, but he's so tense it's like he's going to jump out of his skin. His buddy is a mare, and he just owns her, searches her out when he's turned back in, ears pinned, (the snaking has stopped) but herds her away from the rest of the horses.
Granted, he's only been there a week, and is still adjusting to life back in a herd with friends, lots of hay, fresh water and shelter. I know it's going to take him some more time to fully adjust, but what should I be doing to get him to calm down on the way back to his new "girlfriend."
I haven't rode him yet, as his hooves hadn't been trimmed in a year, but the outdoor arena is right next to his paddock and I'm concerned we'll have issues there too.
Any advise is greatly appreciated.
Subbing. My horse is buddy sour also. I feel your frustration.
subbing for same reason...
I would bet it will get nothing but worse. You are experiencing one of the things that can happen when you mix geldings with mares. This is one of the main reasons we never mix them and do not even run the across a fence from each other unless the fence is 'hot'.
Many gelding are not a problem when you run them together, but the ones that are, get so crazy that some become unridable and so difficult to handle that they have to be sold.
I have watched really nice geldings with perfect manners go completely bonkers when they 'fell in love' with some old mare. Then, when separated, they still stayed crazy, ran the fences, weaved in a stall, whinnied and did not eat and lost 100# or more.
I hope yours is not that bad, but you may have to move him to a different place where he cannot fall in love again.
I totally agree with Cherie,
I would see if there was a way that your horse could be turned out with geldings only.
I have a mare who has NEVER been buddy sour, until now...I've had her for 3 years and she has always been independent, but I recently moved barns with a friend and her mare and I can only assume that because they came to a new place together, they attached to one another even though NEITHER of them did it at our previous barn with each other OR other horses.
What worked for us? We separated them. They were originally in stalls right next to each other when we moved to the new barn and we put about 6 horses in between them. They still go out in the pasture together and that has worked out fine for them, but just moving them so that there are about 6 horses in between them while they're in their stalls has really stopped all the running to get to each other, screaming for each other, etc behaviors. And it changed their behavior in about 2 days, that's all it took!
You were separating two mares. Two geldings are not real bad either -- just move one into a different group of horses. I do that all of the time with my trail riding geldings.
The BIG problem comes when you take a gelding away from the mare he has 'fallen in love' with. They sometimes (not always) go completely crazy. I have seen them jump or run through HUGE fences and gates. I've seen one run a fence line screaming incessantly for 2 days without stopping to eat or drink. They put him in a stall and he pawed and kicked the walls and kept screaming. They finally took him to my house. It took a week for him to settle down and eat and not whinny all the time. He had lost over 100# and I took him to the sale for them. The people they got him from said he had always been OK but they only had geldings. That was his first time in with a mare.
So, that is why we do not ever mix them. This happens often enough that I cannot deal with it. It is not always the dominant gelding, either. It is often one the gets picked on in the gelding pasture.
We didn't have a problem with our old horses and several of my friends haven't had any issues, but my gelding is a PITA with his girlfriend.
First he was in love with my old mare. Huge pain to ride away from the house without her, though after a couple hard rides in the spring he would get better about it. When she passed away he was lost, still ate, but ran around screaming regularly. After a couple days he was mostly fine during the day, but once dusk came around he would start running the fences in the pasture. In the paddock, he'd just sit in the lean to and scream once in awhile. The only time he was "ok" was when I was sitting down there.
Now he's in love with my pony. Almost more of a PITA now because not only do I have to fight to ride alone every spring, it also is a pain on the trial because he "must" be next to her. Not a big deal when I'm riding him because I kick his butt and he recognizes quickly that it's work time, not love time. Unfortunately his other rider is my bf who is re-learning the whole riding thing and Soda will take advantage sometimes. He is getting better, but it's a slow process with lots of backstepping.
I'm going to try separating them during the day for the time being to see if that helps more, but we'll see. Unfortunately he is vicious with geldings so it's either mares or alone and he isn't good alone. Otherwise the only fix I've found is riding and not letting them get away with it, as I said it takes time, but gradually gets better. Experienced riders help a lot too, beginners/timid/unsure riders generally allow them to backslide quickly.
I may have to chalk this up to being a little paranoid through this adjustment period. Tonight, he had a NEW mare! He get's around. :lol: The barn owner said two of the mares are in heat and he's been weird all day.
My husband timed it, it took me 16 minutes to catch him using the method of making him move until he gave in, then he let me halter him and lead him to the gate. He balked at the gate a little, but then easily came through. There wasn't as much huffing and puffing leaving, there was some vocalization to his herd, but nothing that I couldn't deal with. Cross tying went much better, and I took my first ride on him since I got him home in the indoor arena without the distractions of all the other horses, and that went pretty well.
Going back...well, he was much calmer but wanted to rush me. No huffing and puffing, not as much tension but still in a hurry and a little tense. I think it will get better with time and he'll be fine in a mixed herd. We took our time, lots of backing up until the message was, "I'll get there faster if I just chill out."
I'll be going out every day this weekend...and I'm relieved that the barn owners are keeping an eye out for any alarms of him becoming too wacky in his obsession!
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