Originally Posted by Celeste
All horses have the instinct to be herd sour and buddy sour. That may be one of the hardest things to get them out of. Training in the arena is good. It helps a lot. That is something that I am working on more. Arena training does not, however, do the whole thing. You have to do the trails. There is nothing that will condition a horse for trail riding like trail riding. All that stuff the experts do like whacking them over the head with feed sacks and tying walmart plastic bags to the fence posts will teach them not to spook at plastic bags on fence posts and feed sacks on the head. That is nothing to do with deer, buzzards, armadillos, etc, as well as just going away from the security of home. Like Corporal said, it is great if you have somebody to ride with. This doesn't always happen. I think that you did the best you could have done in that situation. The most important thing is that you didn't get hurt.
I think you did fine. I just bought a mare (18 yrs old) who has had a long career as a trail horse and a dressage horse. I've had her a bout 10 days and we've had two rides off property that were only about 15-20 mins each. She is a TB/Welsh cross (but she thinks she's all TB!) and she is a little high strung. She been very well trained so I feel pretty safe on her alone. I ma being extra careful and I am "breathing deep" consciously because I find I am sometimes slightly holding my breath. Both of our rids out she has been anxious to come back to the barn to the other two horses even though they don't all get along all that well.
So they can get barn/buddy sour pretty quickly. A mentor I had many years ago suggested that a barn sour horse should be allowed to come on home but then should be worked right in front of the barn a goodly amount to impress that coming back to the barn didn't mean getting out or working.
That might work for some horses but this mare had trust issues according to her previous owner so I think calm steady as she goes appraoch is going to work better for her than punitive measures. At least till we ve been together for a lot longer. I'm very glad to have found this forum.