Buddy Sour!! PLEASE HELP!
Ok, so I have a problem...My gelding is buddy sour! My mare couldn't care less if he's around or not. However when he can't see her, he TOTAL shows his rear end! He's not 'dangorous' like bucking or rearing, but I'm afraid if I don't nip this in the bud, it MIGHT escelate to something like that.
The other day I was riding him and my mom was riding my mare. My mom took the mare around the barn where my gelding couldn't see her, and he went 'crazy' (for him). He started breathing hard, his ears were perked only in her dirrection, and his eyes bugged. It took ALOT of strength to keep him from following her. I tried to get him to go the other dirrection, but I was lucky to keep him in one spot. As soon as he saw her pop out the other side, he settled down again like it never happened!
Now I've had a pretty bad accedent on a horse and ANY little acting up like that just freaks me out! It takes all that I have NOT to give in to that freaking out part of me to help try and keep my horse calm.
On a side note, dealing with the same gelding, he has issues with 'going'. Now, he's still fairly young (he'll be 3 in october) and I don't work him hard at all! Maybe 30-45 miutes about twice a week. Now he long lines nicely, all three gaites, woahs, AND stands! But once I'm on his back, he will ONLY walk...I have to jab, kick, and REALLY get on him to go at even a fast walk, let alone a trot. I've YET to even get a few pases of canter, and don't push it right now since he doesn't have trotting down yet. Also, he's VERY hard on the bit...I try to be gentle with him and he'll give me his whole head, but KEEP walking the OPPISET dirrection! This is pretty dangorous since the 'oppiset' dirrection happens to be the barn. I DO NOT want him to go there because it has an 'eve' with not the best posts on it and again, going back to my bad accedent, I don't want him to think he can go to the 'resting' place while working. Now, if he was ALWAYS fixated on the barn, I'd worry about being barn sour, but it's only when he's about 6-7 feet from it that he gets like this. Now, I mount and dismount him all over the field and he's kept on pasture, so he doesn't really have an association to the barn other than that's where we feed and water him.
I have SERIOUSLY thought about giving him up and finding a more trained horse. But my mom LOVES him and I have my mare, so he is now for her more than for me...Also, he's a LOVE to ride on a trail! Not a bad habbit in sight! He doesn't even mind leaving my mare and being taken off by himself or working! When I took him to a trail at a friends barn I rode him the first half and had him all over the place! Trotting in a feild and even a good FAST trot that was just a hair under a canter...His dirrection was still a 'smidge' off, but nothing too bad that wasn't fixed with a tap to his side and a slightly more firm tug to the bit, but NOTHING compared to what I deal with when he's home!
Now I know he's young, but that's one reason I REALLY need help! I don't want him to keep these bad habbits or continue this lack of training into an older horse where it's more difficult to train out...And I don't want him to be hard on the bit or dead sided....I just do not know what to do!
I BEG OF YOU! PLEASE HELP!
i only read like the first paragraph where you said your mom was riding the mare and they went where the gelding cant see. well if you only have 2 horses you could get another one so hes not alone if the mare is being ridden or you could take him away from the mare for long periods of time so he cant see her. like i use to walk my mare around the farm away from the other horses. so each time we did he she wouldnt freak out as much.
This problem can be fixed, however it takes some time.
Put your"sour horse" in a pen or stand him tied some place safe. Saddle his buddy and ride around the "sour: horse. Ride a little further away and backagain. The trick here is to come back each time the sour horse gets upset. When you see him become afitated, return and then leave again. The distance sould get greater and greater until you can disappear around an object and quickly return. The idea is to teach our "sour" horse that he is ok by himself hope this helps
Getting another whouldn't solve much for me...in fact it would be even worse.....2 is all I can afford and still afford to pay my bills and keep them fed.
AppyFan1 : Thank you for the idea! I used to try just riding her around and leaving him free, but he would follow her and be all right up on her bottom and just 'bother' her, and nip at my leg as if to say "Get OFF her!" So I turned to putting him up in the barn while I rode....He would call the WHOLE time he was in the barn...Luckily my girl is a good girl and though she'd listen to him (maybe answer once) she'd ignore him and still pay attention to me....Then when I let him out, he THROWS himself at her...I will try letting him see what I'm doing with her like you said....Thanks for the idea!
Here's an edited post I wrote previously about 'napping/barnsour/buddy sour'...
Why do horses 'nap', especially on their own? Primarily because they are nervous prey animals who don't feel safe away from their herd. They need a trusted and respected leader who must be considerate & respectFUL to earn that role. They can also learn from this nervous reaction that it's the best way to minimise unpleasant or uncomfortable work. Some horses are confident and assertive and overcome their fears and/or then attempt to take over the vacant or lacking(according to them) leadership role.
It is a relationship issue that you need to overcome by earning that leadership role so the horse can feel safe with you. I think what will help is working at home on desensitising her to a variety of stuff using approach & retreat, without overfacing her, and consistent and *fun*(for the horse too, not just you) training with the help of lots of positive reinforcement(reward) and as little as possible unpleasantness.
I would work on going out on the trail using approach & retreat tactics, both on the ground & in the saddle. I would *gradually* ask her to do more, go further, etc only after she becomes confident and willing with easier things - taking you to or thru the yard gate for eg. I would also be using positive reinforcement there too. A pocket of treats, planting treats in strategic places, leading her to grazing, a friend, giving her a good scratch *if she truely enjoys that*, etc...
As you can see in the above, I would do similar to appyfan, but I would try to ensure the retreat/return was *before* he got upset. Otherwise you're in danger of making this behaviour worse - he learns that if worried, he acts up & his friend will come back.
As you have said, you're also nervous of 'bad' behaviour due to previous experience. I think you need to get over this, as if you're nervous, he's not likely to have faith in your leadership or protection. He's had little training & presumably only with you, so this could become his major attitude about people generally. It could cause the whole situation to snowball and you will both lose further confidence in eachother. I'd work on your confidence on another good horse &/or get someone confident & considerate to work with your horse until he's solidly trained.
Regarding your 'side notes' here are some other bits I've written previously... Please disregard the bits that are inappropriate to your situation.
Without knowing what you've been doing besides kicking, how your relationship at the yard is, etc, I can only suggest some broad advice which you'll have to figure based on the hows & whys. I appologise if some of it may be stating the obvious or not appropriate for you're situation.
Most horses are pretty lazy when it's truly their choice. Without knowing how lazy or otherwise she is generally - not just ridden - I hesitate to take that lable on face value. It might be that she's learned to be like this because of all the kicking. It seems that she's had plenty of experience being desensitised to the pain of it, so is probably just enduring it without knowing how to alleviate it.
I would start on the ground and get her responding well there before I rode her. I would teach her to yield(respond softly without resistance or escaping) in all directions with *gradually increasing, steady pressure* rather than jabbing, as she has learned to endure. Start softly and gradually increase the pressure to a level of moderate discomfort(but not pain) and then just persist at that level, for as long as it takes until she responds. The *instant* she responds, in the smallest way - even a shift of weight - release all pressure and reinforce that behaviour. Repeat these exercises over & over until she is consistently yielding softly to your softest cues. Gradually ask for a little better - more steps, more speed, etc - only as she becomes confident with easier tasks.
In relation to things like her braciness & unresponsiveness under saddle, first and foremost make absolutely certain that there is no saddle pain or otherwise causing her physical difficulty. This is unfortunately a very common cause of negative behaviours. Also make sure you're riding in a balanced way, not on her forehand or on the reins. It will also pay to have her feet assessed for balance and her teeth checked if you haven't recently(the norm is about yearly for teeth floating). Would pay to have some lessons if you think your riding style could be contributing to the problems.
Once you're in the saddle, use the same steady pressure that you taught her on the ground. Don't automatically expect her to understand, but *teach* her. Sit up & squeeze with your legs, turning it into a gradually increasing squeeze with your heels. Persist until she yields. If(when) you need to back this cue up, I would begin tapping her rhythmically on the rump with gradually increasing pressure. If you think it will take more than you can manage with your hand, by all means, use a crop. Again, the instant you get the smallest response, reinforce it by dropping all pressure and rewarding her.
You need to remember this boy is a youngster with obviously little training. You need to *teach* him to yield to pressure, not just use pain & force to make him do things. Work towards your goals in small, easy steps. Make it clear & easy for him & reinforce whatever he gives you along the way, not punish him for not doing the whole exercise, or doing it imperfectly.
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