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My mare was given to me in July. She has never left the farm, and is pasture mates with her 5 year old daughter, and a 15 year old TWH mare. She has serious herd bound issues, and I need some suggestions to break them. I would like to start working her more under saddle, but every time I try to take her out of the barn on her own, she freaks out, as do the other 2 horses left in the barn. I do not have a ring or an indoor to work in. All I have is the paddock and large pasture area. I have been doing ground work with her for 7 months, trust building, games, lunging, liberty work, etc. We have a great time together in the barn or when the other horses are right there, but I want to have fun when we work one on one. I am a first time horse owner, and still timid, as well as having balance and confidence issues of my own. When she starts to prance and dance, and get panicky, I give in and take her back. I KNOW that's the WRONG thing to do, I don't need a lecture on that. I just need ideas of things I can do with her to make her feel more at ease being away from her buddies, and things that can help me build my confidence and become the leader on the ground and under saddle.
 

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Wow the same thing happened to me and my horse, which is my first. He was with a mare and her daughter. anywho. What they did at my barn long before I bought him was slowly wean him away from the other two. We have an indoor and they had him in there and he could see the other two still, and now hes not even in sight of them and doesn't have a problem at all. I don't believe they ever lose herd bound-ness...The trust excercizes should definatley help though. But back to your question... is there a possibility of spliting the pasture??
 

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The pasture is divided with a gate. The top part is smaller and comes around the side of the barn to the paddock area. The other part is about 60 acres complete with a pond. I thought about keeping her up top for awhile, but was worried she would panic and hurt herself if the other 2 went out of sight. I don't live on the property, so I sadly don't have the luxury of staying there to watch her, and the barn owner is a hobby horse person, not extremely horse savvy, and tends to panic.
 

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You need to become the "herd leader". You need to convince your horse that you are not only a part of it's herd, you are the leader of the herd, you need to begin practicing being a herd leader. One of the best ways to do this is ground handling and free longing your horse in a small pen round or square. Never let your horse walk in front of you, the herd leader is always first your horse needs to learn to walk slightly behind you and needs to learn to back up and not crowd you. If she tries to bully her way past you back her up a few steps. Be persistent! Practice round pen work and teach your horse to move away from pressure, to stop and turn both toward you and away from you. Learn to herd your horse. Your horse understands herding and will begin to look to you and not her pasture buddies for guidance. If you don't have confidence in the saddle you should work on your ground work for now, that will give you the confidence you need by spring to head out on the trail.

Good luck.
 

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Thank you. As I said before, I don't have anywhere to work her except in the pasture. She's VERY good with being led, and doesn't try to lead or crowd at all. I spent the first 2 months I had her specifically working on personal space and staying out of my bubble. She's wonderful about that :) It's just the whinnying, head up, prancey, distracted behavior when she's out of sight of the others that I want to work on.
 

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Welll….if you are having balance and confidence issues why should she look to you as a leader? Because you own her? You can't teach a horse what you don't know and you can't give a horse what you don't have. You already know what the problem is and what you are doing about it is wrong, but you don't want to hear about that as you do not intend to change. So….

Move the horse to another barn that better fits your needs. They'll be separated and you'll have a place to work with her.

And please don't tell me you can't do that either...
 

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I dont have a round pen either. just a paddock. So i know how you feel. First off,,,, you are establishing trust with her every time you are with her. Everything you do with her is a lesson. I understand you know putting her back everytime she acts up is wrong. On the other hand, if you feel that the situation is becoming dangerous, what other option do you have? You need to keep it safe. The only thing I can tell you is she feels safe next to her pals and in the barn. Make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy. If she wants to stay in the barn or near her friends, let her. But work her there. Take her out only to rest. Bring her back in to work. Doing this repeatedly will make her think twice about wanting to stay in an area she knows is going to cause her to work. Everytime you take her outside make it a rest period for her. In the barn, take her next to her friends,,,, back her, make her move her feet. sideways, move her hips, move her front around. Make her work. Outside rest inside work. This may help,. Let me know how it works out. You staying calm in these situations will help her with her nerves. Dont focus on what she is doing, get mad and say hey... this is what i want you to do. do it!
 

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There are a couple of ways of doing it.

You can do the whole gradual weaning thing, building the relationship, etc... Takes a long time, most people find it overly frustrating, and there are often relapses particularly when the work is inconsistent.

You can...and what I'd have suggested originally...put the horses together at breakfast time for the day, separate them at night. This prevents horses from getting herdbound. They learn that they can be away from the herd and not die, and that it's just a matter of time until they can go back together.

The way I'd do it now, is to pull her out and put her in her own paddock/stall away from the other horses...making sure the setup was solid and safe. I'd expect her to scream and carry on for a few days/week. During this time I'd be the only one attending to her and I'd just feed her, clean her out and hang out. Once she settled down and realized death was not coming, then I'd begin to work with her on the ground and so on. I would be her only focus and soon she would learn I could keep her safe etc...

After a couple months of work, I'd put her back out for short periods of time with the other horses, always bringing her out on her own for a good portion of the day.

It's a matter of creating a confident individual who's secure in being alone for periods of time, who bonds to you specifically and looks to you first and foremost to keep them safe.
 

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its not as easy as it sounds. i have two mares. one 18 y.o who had produced 7 babies, and a 8 yr old never bred mare. My 18 y.o literally has panic attacks if luna is out of her sight. she trembles and screams and panics and if shes in the stall or paddock and i bring luna in first she'll charge the gate/stall door. i think for ginger it has to do with having so many foals. she dosen't like being alone. so to be honest i dont care. i have a situation where when i tack up or ride, lunas in sight at all times and she works perfectly. im not going to give my horse a heart attack for some stupid reason. she was a mess for the whole week she was here alone.. didnt eat, whinnied 24/7 paced the whole 9 untill the day i brought a new horse in. which is luna. I can take her for a quick walk down the trail off the property for a gallop and come right back. but that way back shes dancing rearing whinnying shaking. so i dont do it often. every horse has different issues. some are fixable some arent.

its even harder for your mare bc her daughter is there.

work on hand walking away from every one you being on her back and nervous will feed her energy so maybe go out for a nice hand walk with a chain lead incase she gets fresh. or put the horses in the barn put her out for an hr . do it slowly. i think others here had some good suggestions too
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To Horse Poor-NO, I CAN'T move barns, thank you. I work at my barn in exchange for free board, hay, feed, and worming. My balance and confidence issues are from a traumatic brain injury, so NO I don't have any control over that either. I also NEVER said anything about not intending to change. I said I didn't need a lecture on something I already know I'm doing wrong.

To everyone else, thank you very much for all of the suggestions. I also spoke with Randy Byers last night, and I am going to do a little of what you all suggested, as all ideas are good ones. I am going to allow her to stay with her buddies, but she will work, and she will work hard. When she wants a break, we will walk away from her buddies. I am also going to keep her in the upper portion of the pasture for a few weeks. She will be able to see and visit with her buddies over the fence, but if he wants any one on one time, she will have to settle for time with me. Her daughter is also for sale, so I'm hoping that she sells soon, as she tends to be the instigator to get everyone else riled up. My girl is the low man on the pecking order, so she thinks she has to go wherever alpha mare does, and we are going to get her knowing that I AM her alpha. Thank you again for all the great suggestions! I will keep everyone posted on our progress, and I'm sure I will have plenty of other questions!
 

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Wendy, you've recieved some great advice from fellow HF members, Mercedes, mbender, barnprincess and a few others - ignore the un-needed words and opinoins, remember - this is a forum, full of opinions and stinky belly buttons.

Hey Horse Poor - why not fork over some $ so that Wendy can move her horse eh? If you're willing to pay her board, she'd move.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hahahaha. Thanks Kim. You've been a huge help, both through text and facebook. I wouldn't even be asking these questions had you not stepped in to give me a little push :) Thank you to everyone!
 
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