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SoCalCowgirl 10-07-2012 12:26 AM

Horse not wanting to return home
 
So I've been having this issue with my horse while we're out on trails. We are fairly new to trails and have only been going out on them since summer. Since the beginning of summer he has made huge strides in his progress to become a nice quite trail horse. However, we still have one huge issue that we're struggling with. And that's the fact that I can't get my horse to go bck home. Going out on the trail he has become very relaxed and quite and have worked through spooky issues out on trail. But on the way back to the stables he does a complete 180. He refuses to go home. It's like a tempertantrum from a 2 year old kid. He backs up like crazy as soon as we turn around and will not go foward, he paws, tosses his heads, backs into trees, stumbles down hill sides, pokes at my legs with his nose and tires to turn around.

I have tried pretty much everything I can think of to try and get him to listen and go forward and relax. I've tried being calm and patient, nudging with spurs, going without spurs, tapping him with a dressage wip and squeezing with no spurs. Figure 8ing him around trees, hopping off and having him stand for a few minutes, then hopping back on. I've also tried half halting him and move him up into the bridle to try and get his mind to focus on something else. I've had other people on horses go out with me and they had to circle their horse around mine to try and herd him back to the direction of home.

Today one of the stablehands saw me have issues and even tried pulling him forward to get him moving and he would go forward for 10 strides and I would squeeze him forward as I felt him start backing up and he would back up even further to the direction away from home. The stablehand was being really sweet and tried everything he could think of that might have been causing him issues with going foward but after he would go forward for a few normal steps then start backing up again he wasn't sure what to do. So I just ended up hopping off and walked him for a little bit then hopped back on a few more times when he looked like he settled down but he did the same thing every time and I just had to hop back off and hand walk him the rest of the way.

I don't know what else to do. He is perfect going out on trail but coming home he turns into a completly different horse. I've also played around with turning back at different areas on the trail, but he still does the same thing. I'm at a loss of what to do. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that he doesn't want to go home and is just throwing an attitude. But my question is, how do I get him past this attitude to listen to me when I tell him its time to go home?

And I apologize for the long post, and I appreciate any help.

Lins 10-07-2012 12:30 AM

I have never ever heard of a horse not wanting to go back home :/ has he always been like this?
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tinyliny 10-07-2012 01:09 AM

Yeah, usually it's the other way around; they don't want to leave the barn.
It would make me wonder if something bad happended at the barn. Or, when out on the trails, do you let him graze, and so going home means leaving the grazing? or is there a scary thing he must cross to get there? Sometimes a horse can deal with a scary thing in one eye (going out) but not in the other eye (coming home) .

Think about the circumstances to figure out what is causeing this emotional tantrum

boots 10-07-2012 01:50 AM

I had a little Morgan type pony that was that way. Wonderful little horse.

I was more insistant than you, though, about going home when it was time to go home. Still, every ride, she looked to the hills a bit when we headed back.

She was my all-time favorite horse to take checking large pastures. Enthusiastic the whole day.

franknbeans 10-07-2012 08:03 AM

Hmmmm.....well, this is a new one. I think personally I would take him out to a big area you know is safe from holes, etc, and work him there. I mean REALLY work him. Then, when he has been worked, perhaps he will be happy to go home. This is the reverse for how I deal with one who is barn sour.....them I take out, then work HARD when we get back......you want to "make the right thing easy" (I know...cliche')......so you want the "right thing to be going home......make that easier than staying out and working. Hopefully you have such an area to try it in.

Tracer 10-07-2012 08:31 AM

I have never heard of a horse who doesn't want to go home.

What franknbeans said seems like a good idea, make going out onto the trails hard work and enforce that going home is a good thing. Of course, you don't want this to the extent that he becomes barn sour or bolts home.

I'm looking forward to hearing how you manage this.

SoCalCowgirl 10-07-2012 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lins (Post 1709621)
I have never ever heard of a horse not wanting to go back home :/ has he always been like this?
Posted via Mobile Device

the majority of the time it has been. Even when I do the whole trail and not come back early he acts up right before entering we enter the stables and does the same thing when we turn back early. I've only had him do trail since the beginning and summer and about 98% he acts this way, there has only been a small handful of times he doesn't misbehave. I have also tried going out with a group or horses and had him both lead, which he was happy to lead when going out, and tried to have him lead on the way back and he still did the same thing.

I've talked to other people at the barn and they've said the same thing, normally they want to go home, but not him.

SoCalCowgirl 10-07-2012 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tinyliny (Post 1709647)
Yeah, usually it's the other way around; they don't want to leave the barn.
It would make me wonder if something bad happended at the barn. Or, when out on the trails, do you let him graze, and so going home means leaving the grazing? or is there a scary thing he must cross to get there? Sometimes a horse can deal with a scary thing in one eye (going out) but not in the other eye (coming home) .

Think about the circumstances to figure out what is causeing this emotional tantrum

Nothing has has happened at the banr. And once I do get him back by hand walking him, he instantly relaxes and returns to normal. Our trail is in a wooded park that leads to a dry riverbed and around to a row of houses. When I first started getting him used to the trail I handwalked him out and let him eat at the leaves on the ground and trees, as he's the type of horse when he spooks, he has to touch whatever he spooked at then he's ok. The ony problem area on the trail that i've been working on is the dry riverbed, as he acts the same way. This is also normally the area where I turn back around. To get him over the issues of the riverbed i've been walking him up and down and it and he has been improving there. And is calm when I get him back through the riverbed and head back into the wooded trail, and it's like as soon as he realizes we're heading home he starts throwing his tempertantrum.

I also know he's not afraid of the woods because going out he's perfectly fine. Going off by what you're saying I'd say the riverbed would cause him to be emotionally upset, but even when I turn back earlier in the woods before he even acted up he still does the same thing. He also did the same thing on a new part of trail when we came home by the house trail and he was quiet up until the turn back into the barn, and we had also been with another horse. So he does this no matter if he's by himself, with a single, or group of horses.

SoCalCowgirl 10-07-2012 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boots (Post 1709665)
I had a little Morgan type pony that was that way. Wonderful little horse.

I was more insistant than you, though, about going home when it was time to go home. Still, every ride, she looked to the hills a bit when we headed back.

She was my all-time favorite horse to take checking large pastures. Enthusiastic the whole day.

lol sounds like she liked being out in the open. I'm thinking that's the problem with my horse. I've had him for 8 years and never had taken him out on trail up until this summer. And its like wants to explore the whole world while he's out.

Your pony does sound like a fun little mare, despite her going home issues lol

SoCalCowgirl 10-07-2012 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by franknbeans (Post 1709737)
Hmmmm.....well, this is a new one. I think personally I would take him out to a big area you know is safe from holes, etc, and work him there. I mean REALLY work him. Then, when he has been worked, perhaps he will be happy to go home. This is the reverse for how I deal with one who is barn sour.....them I take out, then work HARD when we get back......you want to "make the right thing easy" (I know...cliche')......so you want the "right thing to be going home......make that easier than staying out and working. Hopefully you have such an area to try it in.

I like your method, the only thing is there's no area to really ride. Our trail is in a community park and is surrounded by hundreds of trees throughout the park. During the figure 8 I would weave him around the trees and that did seem to help get his mind back into focus. Maybe I could work him like that because theres no real open space out on the trail that's safe, as we also have people riding bikes, dogs, and runners that use the trails as well.


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