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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might be a silly question, but I've noticed that my horse gets quite nervous when loose horses are running where he can see them (when he's not loose). Is it normal for a horse to get agitated just being near other horses who are being free lunged at a canter/gallop?

It's happened a couple times recently-

I trailered out to a lesson a couple months ago with a friend and was there several hours before my lesson (because my friend was riding before me) Since it was raining, I left him loose in trailer with a hay net while my friend and I were right outside of it getting her horse ready. He was perfectly calm and happily munching his hay until one of the other students decided to get her horse warmed up by free lunging in the outdoor arena. My horse started to get amped up seeing the other horse running around and I thought it might be a good idea to pull him out and tie him on the other side of the trailer where he couldn't see. I got him out OK, but when I tried to take him to the other side of the trailer he bolted (In hindsight I realize I should have just left him in there until he calmed down...) He didn't go very far before we caught him and by then the other student was done free lunging her horse. My horse proceeded to stand quietly looking half asleep for the rest of the time until our lesson.

Then a few weeks later, I had him cross tied at home, untacking after a pleasant, normal ride. The large arena (right next to the cross ties) was empty at that point, so someone took their horse in to free lunge. Every time the other horse passed by where my horse was cross tied he got a little more agitated, to the point where he started doing small rears on the cross-ties.

Under saddle I haven't had any issues yet (because no one free lunges when someone's using the arena!) but I have noticed him get tense if a horse is running in the roundpen (near the large arena) where he can hear the horse running but can't really see it. He certainly hasn't tried to bolt or rear when I've been riding him.

My horse is normally very mellow and not at all high strung. Half the time I don't even bother cross tying him because he ground ties just fine (glad I did that day!) I've been told that in his turnout group he's the "party pooper" who never really runs around with all the other horses.

Obviously this is something I need to work on correcting- bolting and rearing are dangerous behaviors, even if he's good 99.9% of the time. Has anyone had a horse act like this? What did you do to correct it?
 

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He's not agitated. He wants to be with them. It's a herd instinct. Yes, it's normal. You horse should not be around loose horses if he is not loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't really control when others decide to free lunge their horses. If I'm at another barn or in the middle of untacking it's not like I can just leave, either.

We ask horses to control their instincts all the time. Surely it's not acceptable to allow my horse to rear and bolt just because another horse is loose nearby.
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It's not your horse that is the problem, it's the others. You don't know if those other horses have respect for people etc. If you horse is tied, or under saddle or something and some idiots horse decides it wants to play with yours, that can be a problem if yours is tied and can't get away or under saddle and is put between a rock and a hard place - protecting itself from another horse or protecting you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm maybe I wasn't clear- my horse can't come in contact with the loose horses. They have been in the arena and my horse is outside of it, but can see them.
 

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OOOOOH, yeah that's different.
It's normal behavior then but it does need to be corrected. Your horse needs to focus on you. His safety is not in danger he has no excuse.

So my advise is to keep his brain busy and give him something hard to do when he gets distracted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not sure how to do that without him running off or trampling me... :-?
 

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Have you ever rode your horse in an arena with a loose horse(s) and actually chased those horses and had full reliable control of your horse? It's something we would do with the younger reiners and it was REALLY good for them.

I'm probably going to have the safety police after me now.....but things like ponying and herding loose horses while on horseback is good for a horse:wink:
 
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I'd say either ride in an arena full of lose horses until he calms down and listens, or do some cow work. Working a few steers and making them focus on a job while other animals are running underfoot

I've never had a horse have an issue with other horses, and that's just my two cents, but it's worth a try.
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I'd say either ride in an arena full of lose horses until he calms down and listens, or do some cow work. Working a few steers and making them focus on a job while other animals are running underfoot

I've never had a horse have an issue with other horses, and that's just my two cents, but it's worth a try.
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The way horses survive in the wild is if one horse starts running, then maybe the others should too. They may not see or smell the danger but trust unquestioningly that the one running did.
 

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Don't get in arena or pasture with any loose horses as with what you are describing? You would really be in trouble.

To me, the main issue here is horse is not paying attention to what YOU want it to do, which is to act like it has common sense and behave.

And there may be other things that are not showing up as much, that you either don't realize are signs horse is not behaving, or has a hole in training somewhere.

Wet saddle blankets, possibly a feed overhaul, and if you are a babier? Quit it.

Correct horse, and tell him to "be still" and then make him.
 

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Does he act up if someone is riding in an arena and he is standing tied? He needs to learn to stand quiet. If you have a trainer, ask him/her to help you with this issue. If you have no one to help you, you need to discipline the horse everytime he acts out.
 
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