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Herd Bound Horse

Herd Bound Horse Working with a herd bound or barn sour horse can be a real patience tester. If you know what to look for, it can be an easily diagnosed problem with definite steps toward achieving a cure. This problem causes a horse to act out and misbehave when separated either from their herd, one specific “buddy” horse or from the barn itself. All of these this represent safety and comfort to a horse. Basically, the cause of this issue is insecurity. If a horse is herd bound he will exhibit one or more of the following behaviors: 1. Balking or refusing to leave home 2. Running toward home 3. Wheeling around suddenly 4. Racing to catch up with other horses 5. Swerving, Rearing, Spooking, Screaming, Pawing 6. Pacing back and forth 7. Getting behind the bit 8. Moving short and quick To fix this issue, you will need patience. The answer to the problem is simple; de-bond your horse from the herd, buddy or barn. The answer is simple, but the process to achieve this is not. First and foremost, you must fix your horses insecurity. Horses are herd animals and need interaction with a group of horses to build security. They feel safety in numbers. Your job is to help your horse feel secure with just you away from the herd. This will take time. Spend time with your horse, grooming, touching and talking to your horse. Each time, move the horse a little farther away from his safety zone, be it herd, buddy or barn. You need to be your horse’s best friend. Your horse needs to feel safe with you for this problematic bond to be broken. Some owners will make a few mistakes trying to break a herd bound horse. The following are actions to avoid. First, do not allow your horse to race home after a ride. Many herd bound horses will pick up their pace as they get closer to home. Do not allow your horse to speed up. It may seem harmless, but you are reinforcing the behavior. Your horse must realize you are always in control. Make sure the pace remains leisurely. Even horses need a cool down period. Second, do not bring along the buddy horse. This only masks the problem. This too may seem harmless, but you are doing nothing to make your horse comfortable alone with you. Third, do not throw in the towel. I know this is a frustrating issue, but time and patience will show results. If you begin the battle and then give up out of aggravation, your horse has won and you have done nothing but let the horse know he just needs to fight a bit to get his way. Much like children, you must win the wars of behavior issues to prevent them from worsening in the long term. The best advice is patience, patience, patience. You need to establish a bond with your horse that allows him to find security with you.
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