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Ruby Tuesday 08-14-2008 02:51 PM

All turned around
OK, I am sure this topic has been thrown out there before, but I am gonna ask anyways.

Background - I am self taught on riding and training. I insist that I do this myself. All of this has happened in the last 4 months.

I took a horse from a rescue company, her name is Ruby.

Ruby is a very gentle, mild mannered, obidient horse. Without knowing what I am doing, we have gotten a saddle and rider on her (I belive she's had that before though), taught her to lunge, amongst some other tricky stunts (like standing still for mounting!)

One thing I cannot break is her habit to ALWAYS want to go back to the barn. If we are walking away from the barn, I CONSTANTLY (every 3-5 feet) have to fight her to keep her on the trail/desired path. She'll walk ever so slowly also. Now if I turn her around, she tries to sprint back as fast as she can /I'll let her. She'll stay at a walk, but I need to keep a steady hand on the reigns.

I have tried to confuse her by turning around in several circles - that fails (I get dizzy though!) I have tried to leave a treat out at my house (not where she's stabled, but my house) as a reward - nope, now she fights me all the way to my house, then darts up the driveway - but when we return, she still tries to run back to the barn.


Arrow 08-14-2008 03:00 PM

How often do you ride out away from the barn?

How far do you go, how long?

Do you get tired of her antics, and come home early?

To break a horse of this kind of behavior, you've got to be willing to ride her out for an hour or more 2 or 3 times a week, consistently. Only that will convince her that you mean business. Time and firmness--that's the only cure.

Dumas'_Grrrl 08-14-2008 03:17 PM

Welcome to the wonderful world of barn sour!!! :lol: Most horses get like this because they associate the barn with quittin' time. We drag them from their feed bags and make them carry us all over and then head back to the barn where they are allowed to rest again. They are thinking Home sweet home!!! :P You can try to take her to the house (wrestle her if need be) and then hang out there, hand graze her brush her give her attention and relaxing/bondig time with you there and then head back to the barn (again hold her back) and then once you reach the barn do some work there. Arena work, lunge line with the saddle still on, heck ride around the barn untill you are dizzy! Then take the tack off and tie her up for a while (30 min-1hour) and then let her off the hook and put her up. My theory here is that once she realizes that being with you (working) isn't bad and that being at the barn doesn't mean rest (hopefully) she will be better about going on out for you.

*disclaimer :P I am having similar issues and it is working for me so lets have others chime in on this too because Lord knows I'm not an expert. :D

3neighs 08-14-2008 05:27 PM

I agree with Dumas. If she thinks the barn means rest, make her work at the barn. I'm a fanatic when it comes to ground work, though. When I bought my mare last year I did two months of groundwork before even attempting to ride her. After gaining her trust and respect from the ground, she was very responsive once I got in the saddle.

smrobs 08-14-2008 05:35 PM

What Dumas'_Grrrl said should work but it will take time. Don't get discouraged if you don't see imediate results, it could take several weeks before she realizes that the barn doesn't mean quitting time. Even after she starts to realize it, it is a good idea to keep up working her around the barn before you put her up to keep her from getting barn sour again. :) good luck

Vidaloco 08-14-2008 05:48 PM

smrobs took the words out of my keyboard. Vida will do the same thing when she hasnt't been ridden in a few days. Once we get passed the property line shes fine but she will keep wanting to turn for home is I don't keep correcting her. Then on the way home she wants to go into a gallop all the way, which I don't allow. If we don't walk the whole trip we will walk home. She wants to head straight for the hitching rail so I always make her do just a little more, even if its just walking to the end of the driveway and back.
I think the more you ride the less this will happen, as Arrow said time and firmness are key. Plus I try to make our excusions fun for her too. We stop and take breaks so she can eat some grass, I love on her and give her bits of my grainola bars, that sort of thing. :D
Bless you for rescueing her.

Ruby Tuesday 08-16-2008 03:34 AM


Originally Posted by Arrow
How often do you ride out away from the barn?

How far do you go, how long?

Do you get tired of her antics, and come home early?

To break a horse of this kind of behavior, you've got to be willing to ride her out for an hour or more 2 or 3 times a week, consistently. Only that will convince her that you mean business. Time and firmness--that's the only cure.

How often and far? Well it used to be at least every other day. Right now we are dealing with a weight loss problem, so I haven't been on her in a good few days. How far, sometimes 1/2 mile, sometimes 10 miles. I took Ruby through town one day, side streets, left right, up and down, everyway but upside down :shock: I stopped us, released the reigns, and she started to backtrack. Each road. The bad part is, where I stopped us, she knew her way back to the barn - less tha 1 mile. She wanted to backtrack. Animal instincts...well, possibly.

Oh, yes, I get tired of her anticts, BUT at this point I make it known to her that _____ is what I want to do (fill in the blank). And at that point also, it is NOT time to do what she wants to do. She may be may little baby, but I have a firm belife that she needs to know that I'm the boss - I say left -it's not a suggestion, I say away from the barn - I am doing more than hoping for that result. SO FAR that has been working - minus the barn sour....

Thank you all for the replies, and I will be trying everything I can. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the more you folks say - the more I learn!!!

Ruby Tuesday 08-16-2008 03:42 AM

[quote="smrobs Don't get discouraged .....[/quote]

LOL!! With Ruby---discouragment is unatainable anymore! I've learned to bear through whatever she can dish out.

After 2 month of trying to get her to lunge, you wouldn't belive how FLAT the toes are on my right foot! I have finally convinced, tricked her into thinking I am bigger than she is! (Her idea of lunging was 1)Find the handler at the end of the rope. 2) Run him over. 3) Eat grass while he howls - step three lasts longer if you stay standing on his foot.......

Arrow 08-16-2008 03:49 AM

I wish I had some follow-up advice, but I don't! Maybe that's how she'll always be. It sounds like you are doing the right things. Maybe others will come up with some better advice than mine.

Arrow 08-16-2008 03:53 AM

If I understand your first post--you've only had her for 4 months or so? That's not long enough to settle in to a new place. It took Arrow longer than that to get really comfortable--don't despair yet, be patient for a few more months.

May I ask why you want to lunge her? I'm not much of a lunger--I bond with horses through grooming, riding, and hand-grazing. Why not cut the lunging, and try just trailriding--maybe with one thing to concentrate on, she'd act better. You'd have more time to ride if you did less groundwork. I think that the only groundwork you really need is enough to get them to stay out of your space. What are hoping to accomplish with this lunging? Is it really necessary?

She might find lunging silly and boring. A youngster is more accepting. As a friend on another forum writes--ask a 5 year-old child to get on a tarp, and they'll think "goody, a game." Ask a 25-year old, and they'll say, "why waste my time doing that?" She's an older mare, isn't she? Maybe she just finds lunging silly--trying to make her do it might be counterproductive. Stick to riding her--or give her complete rest while she gains weight back. Just feed her, groom her, handgraze her for awhile.

Just visited your barn--I think 6 is a little old for lunging unless you have a very clear purpose for it.

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