Barn sour horse hates leaving?
I recently found this site and have been browsing it for a while before deciding to make an account to address a problem. I just started leasing out a 6 year old Appaloosa mare, who is relatively fearless and does almost anything I ask of her without hesitation. However, her owner warned me that she gets 'a little nervous' when she leaves the barn, because she wants to be with the herd. 'A little nervous' has become standing still and refusing to move when I go to take her outside, even if I'm just leading her on the ground. This poses a problem, because sometimes other riders are occupying the indoor arena and I have no choice but to work her outside. Once I finally coax her out into the open, she stops being as responsive and has tried to run away with me in the barn on several occasions.
Can anybody give me advice on how to keep her calm and trusting once we move outdoors? I fear for both of our safety when she tries to run off and am clueless how to alleviate the situation. She does fine if another horse or people are outside, it's only when we go alone... I'm new to the barn and don't really have friends there yet, so I can't ask anybody to take their horse out with me.
You need to forget the calm and trusting part. Concentrate on horse handling skills, which means horse needs to respect you.
If horse is balking while being led, more than likely it is because you are not leading her correctly, and she has learned that once she plants feet? You can't make her move.
First off, lead her with your shoulder at throatlatch, right hand close to snap of lead rope, but your body needs to be elbow length away. This gives you an easy correction if horse surges ahead, or lags behind.
When horse plants feet? Don't look at her, but move her head and body to one side and then the other to untrack her body and force her to move. Once she does, go to where you were heading.
Also, find someone who manages their handling of their horses well, and watch them, and if you can, ask them to help you. And not someone that babies horses, but someone with good skills and common sense. Those are the people that you can learn from.
If you have been babying and loving on this horse, quit it. It is not a kitten or puppy. The more it thinks it can boss you around? The more it will, especially as it already has learned it can get by with it, hence the warning about it not wanting to leave barn.
Take some lessons too, if you can. Much of what you will need to learn about horse handling, is so much easier if it is done in person.
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