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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I just purchased a 4 yr old Andalusian mare, she was with a very close friend who had trained her for about 5 months. She was wonderful when with my friend, but she never had to go out alone - she literally walked from paddock to arena or on trails, but always with a barn buddy.

Now I have her and I need to walk to the riding club which is about a 7 min walk for her. She is becoming increasingly barn sour and not wanting to move forward.

Last time we tried to leave she literally had a meltdown and kept spinning. As soon as I put leg on, she spins, so I can't kick or tap her forward because she won't FACE forward...not even for a second. If I hold her head straight with reins, then she just backs. If I let go for a second, she spins. And believe me, she can spin fast!
If I hand walk I can get her away from the barn with a bit less fight, but I want to ride her out.

She is generally a very quiet horse...but this stubbornness is frustrating!

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
M
 

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I had a horse who did this!!! She called Bonnie & was 22 year old when I got her. I could not get around it!!! Just had to ride with other people - sorry this is unhelpful but I thought maybe wed get it to the top so someone else can
Give some useful advice xxx


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Crezzard,

Thanks for the input - at least I know I'm not alone!
The other thing I should mention is that she started this about a week into the addition of alfalfa to her diet. We have since removed the alfalfa just incase this was the cause. I've been told Iberian breeds have trouble with it.

I am praying she returns to her level-headed self!

She is a wonderful mare....very clever girl though - so could be testing me.

M.
 

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Barn sour is some what easy to fix, good behavior means rest, bad behavior means work. Barn sour also is your horse showing you he is not paying attention to you. get his attention (make him work).
 
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Sounds like my horse! She's level headed and overall a good girl, but every once in a while she gets that stubborn streak. She doesn't like leaving her pasture. She begrudgingly follows me with her ears back, but is good once we get to the barn. She hasn't tried to bite or pull back or anything, so hopefully it doesn't turn into anything more.
 

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Like Bob says, make her work hard, right there. If she wants to spin make her eat her tail only keep her going, with the aid of a crop so she quits when you say so, not her. When she's sweating and puffing ride her away at the walk. If she spins to go back, take her back and work her again. By now the barn area should be losing it's appeal. It may take a third time. When you do return from a ride, work her as a refresher. Dismount but don't unsaddle her. Rather halter her and tie her up (if she'll tie safely). Make her wait before you finish untacking and returning her to her stall. Don't offer her feed right away either.
 

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I m afraid this horse is not 'broke'. Your 'very close' fried only trained her to be a 'pack horse' or a 'packer' as we call them. This is a horse that only goes with another horse. They have been trained to stay with their 'herd' under saddle like they would in the pasture. This works great for pack horses and dude string horses. They can't be ridden away from the string which is what keeps dudes safe when they do not know how to ride. They faithfully carry a pack or dead elk and stay right behind the guide or lead horse. Most pack mules are only trained this way. A good rider could not ride them away from camp or the other horses if their life depended on it. [Think of the string of gentle saddle mules that go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back.]

If it were me, I would probably call this 'good friend' up and tell her exactly what kind of monster she had created and you would like her to take this horse and finish training her and you would like to have her back once she has trained her to ride as well by herself as she does with another horse.

In reality, I doubt she can get this done or she would have done it in the first place. Anyone that would 'think' they were training a horse and they left this big of a hole in their training, is not much of a trainer.
As for just riding her through it like any ordinary barn or buddy sour horse -- probably ain't going to happen. There is such a huge hole in her training, that this horse needs to be backed up to learn a lot of things from scratch that she should already know.

You are also seeing the extreme of what can happen when you do not ride horses out by themselves. This is what we completely avoid when we DO NOT use a gentle horse to help a green horse go out into new places. We just start them out in the beginning and they are perfectly happy with riding anywhere by themselves. When we do ride with another horse, we ALWAYS make sure we split up and ride each horse by itself for a good ways.

If you can't get your friend to finish training this horse that you got stuck with, I will tell you what you should do next. Regardless of what she does, I would take this mare a long ways away from any friends and tie her up until she got happy. You will have to tie her in a safe place and you will have to leave her there for hours, maybe all day for 2 or 3 days. That will give you a start toward making her function independently. She is going to have to do that before she will even be trainable. When a horse is 'reactive' frantic, on the fight, they are not going to learn anything and you or the horse could get hurt. A horse MUST be in a 'responsive' mode and be receptive to training for anything positive to be taught. Otherwise, they just learn how to fight you better -- like this mare is doing. I read your response in my trail horse training article. You will just get more spinning and more than likely rearing or falling over if you really push the whole thing before she is better trained.
 

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I'd also strongly consider doing what Cherie has suggested here before anything else - take her out and make her be alone in a safe place. Then I'd make the barn be where she works hard and being away from the barn where she gets the break. When she's facing away from the barn, I'd immediately release the pressure. When she turns back toward the barn, it's back to relentless work. The barn = hard work, away from the barn = easy laziness

Also. There's a video I just thought of that might help you brainstorm what you could do with your mare.
Even though it's the first ride, it's got a lot of principles that I feel could help you. Especially the work he goes into around 6:00.
 
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As usual I agree with Cherie over the lack of training on this horse!

The one thing I would ask you is when she spins which way do you turn her back?

You should always turn her back against the direction she spins in.

ADD ON
I disagree with the video, I do not consider riding a horse in an outdoor arena as being a first ride outside. I consider that to be no different to riding in an indoor arena.
To me riding 'out' is on the tracks and trails. Something I do with all the horses first time they are ridden - which is never in the arena or with anyone leading them.
 

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Thats why every horse i train i make sure they will ride out alone hate horses who wont. When my daughter and i ride every single ride we split up she rides one trail and i ride a diffrent trail.

Her horse had an issue at first but soon found out him getting his nickers in a knot didnt work. Both horses will seperate and go diffrent ways without a problem.

I hardly ever ride in a arena to boring can train out on the trail makes for a better horse anyway. Even horses who have had 2 rides on them go out on the trails. By 5th ride i ride them out alone. I never give any horse a chance to become barn sour if they start it they find out it doesnt work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi All,
Thank you so much for the feedback and especially Cherie who has helped me to realize that I could not have done much more in the situation we were in. It did feel very close to a full rear!

Now to give more history. The person that was training the horse did not start the horse, but was asked by the owners (from a ranch) if she would like to get her going further in dressage. The first trainers, who broke her, were the ones that should have worked her more on going out alone. My friend did a good job getting the mare on the aids, but that was all she was asked to do...so little did she know that this horse had an issue with going out alone.

That said - No I can't send her back BUT I do have access to amazing trainers where I am.

My coach is a Grand Prix rider from Germany who grew up on a breeding farm and started many youngsters. She is going to meet me at the barn tonight and we are going to work on this. She assisted me in hand the other night and we got her walking out off the property (in pitch black & fog!) with very little fussing....so it is a start.
I also have the option of many old 'babysitter' horses in the area. We are a tight knit community outside of Vancouver BC and I have a zillion resources.

What I needed to know was whether I could've done something differently in that moment.
But I will back up and slow down and start with some basics.

The one good thing I can say about her is she is never really a scary mare, no buck, no bolt, etc. So I don't worry about falling.

M.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Foxhunter -
I have tried what you said, I spun her with a TON of inside leg at the girth, and one reined her nose in and sent her BACK in the direction she spun away from...no go. she just fought harder. She is an extremely agile girl! I can see why these horses are used in bull fighting!! ;)

M.
 

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I suggested this video because he adequately describes a method that Mikhala could use with her horse, by visually showing her the "spin/disengage/make it hard" that would help the horse look for other options while she's in front of, or even facing, the barn. We've all suggested making the horse face away from the barn or making the barn undesirable in some way. This is very similar to what this man does with the stallion while at the gate of their arena(where he wants to stop and be, much like the barn with this op's horse.)

Regardless, I read that spinning didn't help and I hope that the session with the trainer goes well! :)
 

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I would not try to even ride this filly until some of the holes in her training have been filled in. Her spoiled behavior will escalate, and you will have a lot more serious problems to 'fix' than just being her bound. You sure do not want her to learn to rear or even fall over on you.

When she has learned to stand tied by herself, my approach would be to do a lot of ground driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree this needs to be addressed properly now.

I want to give the feed a try first - the mare was perfectly behaved before this excess energy started to build. She didn't have any fight in her. Even if she thought about resisting, one tap with the whip sent her forward at a trot. She got put on an alfalfa mix and it was like I had a different horse. I know there are a lot of varied opinions on alfalfa, but I have talked to several Iberian nutritionists who have said to get her off it because they are efficient horses that don't need a 'hot' feed.
SO,
before making any extreme decisions, I will see how she does back on a low energy grass feed and whether this changes it back to how it was.

I rode the mare everywhere for a month - alone, with buddies, to the riding club, busy streets, taught her to handle gates, etc. etc.

Only when we introduced the feed change did all this start.

M.
 

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When ever your Arabian wants it go to the barn do not give in. Whenever your Arabian calms down and does what you want then you let your Arabian go to the barn
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update!

Last night my coach started with me at the barn. She held a lunge whip at the gate and basically just had to snap it toward her and she went. She didn't try again to turn around. I kept lots of leg, held a soft contact, and if necessary just touched her with the whip.

She was awesome getting there.
At the club, she had a panic and started spinning and rearing, so I took her in the round pen and just let her get the beans out - I did very little but stand in the center and use a few voice commands. But after that, I hopped on and had a wonderful lesson.

She was responsive to all aids, she just trucked along like her old self and did everything I asked.

My coach is certain it is fear based. It is quite dark here in early evening and there is heavy fog at the moment. She has never seen these things, so it's a lot to face her with. If we are strategic about it, and get her settled, she is a wonderful girl.

:)
M.
 
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