Preventing barn and herd sour horses
I got to thinking how this is such a big problem for many horse owners and I thought back over the 35 yrs that I have had horses I have never had a barn or herd sour horse. That got me thinking why I haven't had this problem when I was working my horse yesterday and I just thought I would post some tips.
I do ring riding, road riding, trail riding, showing and driving and most often alone and leaving the other horses behind. I drive with the gate to the ring open and they never try and go out of the gate.
At 1st when they are inexperienced I hitched and unhitched in an enclosed arena but I am beyond that point now.
So after a good work out my horse kind of gets an idea when we are done. Maybe after a line up or something in the routine. When ever she acts like it is time to go back to the barn I work her just a bit longer not hard to make her resent working just longer. Now I do line ups in the middle of my work out. I also try and do my exits from different areas and angles. I have also driven out of the arena then back in again. My point is you are the one to make the decisions not the horse.
When riding and they think it is time to go back I ride a little further and do similar things so they are not interpreting what is next.
I was watching a friend ride and her horse would start fussing after a few minutes of riding. She would get intimidated and tell herself that it was a good thing to get in a ten minute ride. I could see that this was going to escalate quickly as he started to get fussier and she needed to handle this asap. I made her ride through it and he was fine. My point is if you let them get away with it pretty soon they are going to get worse in hopes that you get off.
Hope some of these tips make sense and are helpfull.
Clinton Anderson has his students work herd sour horses hard when close together and lets them rest when separated.
Herd sour and barn sour aren't terrible. I count on my horses to be herd sour when I trail ride. You'll never have a runaway bc your horse won't want to be far from his friends.
Be obedient and call for friends.
You need to learn to ground train. Lunging for Respect will really help you.
I'm starting to sound like I'm getting a CA kickback. =b
I also think herd and barn sour is undesirable and it poses a lot of issues for many riders. So with your theory if someone else's horse runs away yours will follow?
I would rather have a well behaved horse that does what I want and not what the group is doing.
Best thing to do to prevent? Never let it get started.
Riding through the fit, and getting past it, if it even rears ugly head, is best.
Start babying them or being intimidated by them? And you will not be able to go out of gate.
And working horse to exhaustion never solves anything. Depending on horse? May decide next time to not let you on too.
Or throw itself, or flip.
OP is doing this right. No excuses from horse or from rider, job is to be done, and "suck it up buttercup" is right attitude.
It's not a "theory". I have practiced it. You know, maybe new horse owners just don't realize the hours and hours it takes to truly train an obedient horse,and how you are always training. You don't need lots of land and you don't need special equipment. You just need to know how to say, "no" to your horse and mean it.
My horses will (possibly, bc I don't LET them) run bc they are sour to their own herd and no one else's horses. THAT is why they won't run and follow any random horse. They look for confidence when frightened and their OWN herd gives them this confidence.
My old herd, "Tyke" (1970-2998, RIP), 'Toma" (1970-2004, RIP), "Corporal" and "Ro Go Bar" (1982-2009, RIP) and others that I bought and sold were worked over 1,000 hours/year under saddle in my lesson program, on weekends at CW Reenactments, and we took them on many family trail riding vacations. They were seasoned obedient horses but they were also herd sour. And they would go anywhere as long as I wished and do what I wanted--working independantly.
Any time a herd sour--not the prissy term, "buddy sour"--horse will not leave his friend(s), it escalates to the point that you cannot even lead them from each other. You start there, and then build on it using whatever training methods you can to fix the problem. I recommend Lunging for Respect and making the horse see YOU as leader. I don't recommend working until exhausted, but there are those horses who do need that, too. Always tailor the training.
I have had horses long enough (~30 years) to realize that you will never make a horse not look to other horses for security. It is in their nature, and a good trainer uses this to advantage.
Further, I'm quoting myself my earlier today:
Look, certain attitudes are acceptable as LONG as your horse is obedient. When we reenacted, our commander would ALWAYS think of some message he had to send to a company commander right before the "show." He always sent ME to do it. So, me and "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) would have to wind our way through a moving body of spectators, find the person, deliver the message, and get back before the battle started. Corporal was obedient and we went at the walk. He never stepped on or ran into people, but he WAS herd sour. So, every 5 minutes or so he would call out to his friends. People walking in front of us didn't all notice a horse walking in their midst, so they'd flinch, then laugh when he'd whinny. For a 900lb, 15'1hh Arab, he had a loud and deep throated call.
THAT's what you want your horse to do. Let him notice things, but not act out on them.
This is the same horse who would race all over the field in the battle when asked, and then stand next to a cannon and graze. You train their minds and then you think and the horse "does."
After spending most of the winter together in a corral, mostly unridden, my little herd of 3 is pretty tight knit. I can take two of them out together, and they will be OK. If I take Mia out by herself, she'll be worried about 'her' horses. She will be much more nervous.
I don't have it in me to blame her too much. If I can get more time for riding, I can start taking her out by herself again and get her calmer...but it is going to be tough on 2-3 rides/week, tops. She's OK if I bring another horse along, and pretty good about things when all 3 go out.
Why should I really expect otherwise? A lead mare who spends all but 2-3 hours/week with a tight-knit small herd is going to worry about them when she isn't there to take care of them - particularly if she can hear them calling.
If I had unlimited time, THEN I could do something about it. But I've gone back to college at 55, am swamped with homework, am trying to get back to jogging daily (after an injury 4 years ago)...I don't have the time to 'cure' her. On the plus side, if all 3 go out, she's happy as a clam - however happy that is.
And she has never tried to bolt away from the other horse(s). She'll RACE...but she has never tried to bolt when another horse is with her. Given my time constraints, I figure I'll accept that and try to get my youngest daughter to go out with me regularly this summer.
Add - She doesn't throw a fit. She just is more nervous.
WOW, bsms, what are you studying? I went back 10 years ago and doubled my Credit hours--232 hours of college credit with one degree, one minor and a teacher's cert. BLAHH!!!!!
But, I do like taking courses. =D
I always ride by myself - my horses behave worse with other horses than alone!
I also always make the point to get off and loosen off far away from the barn at random places in my yard. Sometimes, I get off and walk from my riding area to the barn/trailer, or I ride into my yard and walk to the barn/trailer. I keep it random so they never expect to quit in any particular place
True, any exercise that doesn't allow the horse to memorize a pattern. I've always that if I wanted to show one of my horses, I ride the "test" with another horse bc they memorize so easily so as to avoid taking orders.
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