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lyssymae 03-16-2013 10:54 PM

I love her but not what she does...
 
First off I'd like to say hi to everyone as this is my first thread. Now, onto my problem. I have an elderly (23) mare that I've had for about two years now and love to death, she's my best friend and has helped me overcome so much, but she is very limited in what she can do. No jumping (my original goal), and no trail riding (at least enjoyable rides, she's very barn sour and when I just want to hack out fighting her all the way back to the barn is not fun). What I really want to do is competitive trail riding, and I don't feel safe/comfortable doing that one her. In the arena she's a dream, super comfortable and quiet, turns on a dime, and she is a total lovebug. However, there are tons of inexpensive horses in my area who are all that and can do what I want to do, and then some. So, my dilemma is, what should I do? Should I keep my mare and love her for who she is, or find her a great home and move on to something else? I've been so confused and torn up over thinking about this.

alexischristina 03-16-2013 11:00 PM

Being barn sour is, IMO, a fixable problem. And keep in mind that I don't know your situation 100%, but something in your post tipped me off. You consider her your best friend, your 'lovebug'. Don't. Make sure you're disciplining her at all times when she does something naughty. Even getting a bit too pushy, do some ground work and make sure you have her respect completely before you try taking her away from her barn / buddies and when you do make sure you're not giving in to her tantrums / her fights. Eventually, with enough consistent work, she should be able to walk out on her own. Yes there are some horses who just CAN'T, but it sounds like she isn't one of those, if she is an angel in the ring. If you aren't comfortable with that, find a trainer or someone who is a more confident rider!

That said, if you want to go far in competitive riding, you might want to consider something younger to bring along and be really competitive. It all depends on her age and condition at her age.

Paintlover1965 03-16-2013 11:02 PM

It's a very difficult situation for sure. Is there anyway of possibly keeping two horses at once? I know it can be expensive. Or, maybe a half or full lease for your mare to offset some of her board then you can still have her with you. I know how hard it can be to sell a horse and live with yourself afterwards. If this isn't an option then you may have to sell her or rehome her and hope for the best home possible and move on.

backyardhorse 03-16-2013 11:13 PM

At 23, she's a little old to be STARTING a new career, especially if she's barn sour. Her age now is not your biggest obstacle, there are many 23 YO endurance horses still healthy and happy. The fact that she is not happy leaving the barn is likely to a bigger factor. Are you willing to put up with the "attitude" as you condition her? You've suggested that it's not fun fighting with her. IF you can afford to keep her and give her the attention she deserves, AND find one of those inexpensive horses that are sound, and would enjoy an endurance career---GO FOR IT!

DancingArabian 03-16-2013 11:14 PM

It's a training issue, something that MANY horses experience to some degree. There's nothing guaranteeing you that a new horse won't have or develop the same.
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lyssymae 03-16-2013 11:31 PM

Thanks for quick and sound replies everyone! As for the barn sourness, I understand it is a training problem, and during the summer when the weather is nice enough to trail ride every day, she does show improvement but is never 100%. I appreciate your concern on the discipline, and I assure you she is not allowed to get away with ANYTHING in the ring, and I guess this is what she needs on the trail as well? How would you go about helping the barn sourness and helping her to become safer on the trail?

DancingArabian 03-16-2013 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lyssymae (Post 1941241)
Thanks for quick and sound replies everyone! As for the barn sourness, I understand it is a training problem, and during the summer when the weather is nice enough to trail ride every day, she does show improvement but is never 100%. I appreciate your concern on the discipline, and I assure you she is not allowed to get away with ANYTHING in the ring, and I guess this is what she needs on the trail as well? How would you go about helping the barn sourness and helping her to become safer on the trail?

She shouldn't be allowed to get away with anything, anywhere. Whatever rules you make have to apply each and every ride - indoor, outdoor, whatever. Be consistent, firm and fair.
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Wildcard 03-17-2013 12:25 AM

My horse used to be a trail horse and he was horribly
Barn sour as well. We just worked a lot on going out calming with other horses to start and to just have fun instead of always working. Eventually we progressed to going out alone and he's gotten better and better. He's still quick to walk back to the barn when he's alone but he's 20 and he was able to improve so hopefully you can help your mare too :)
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lyssymae 03-17-2013 10:03 PM

Anyone else have any thoughts?

KyMoMoF3CuTiEs 03-17-2013 10:14 PM

There was a post on training barn sour horses last week I think. May want to search it. There was great info on ground work and things to do to get your horse to get better. It may have been in natural horsemanship... not sure though.
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