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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 16, 2005
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    Default Horse Psychology - coming in at night

    Shoot, I went to make an edit and deleted my entire OP! Let me re-cap...

    I've got 3 horses at home, they are out all day, in at night. They get 12hrs of turnout.

    Lately my low man of the herd has decided he's not interested in coming in with the rest. He stands by the gate with his buddies, but once I get them in, he walks away to to the back of the pasture and just stands out there alone. I don't go out to get him but wait at the gate for awhile to give him the chance to come up, and when he doesn't, I turn the lights off and head back to the house.

    I will go back out about 15-30 minutes later and he's usually standing at the gate waiting to come in. It's frustrating that suddenly he's not coming in when the rest do - as though he knows I will come back out. I have thought about leaving him out for the night, but my alfa gelding gets stressed and anxious when his buddy is not in.

    Nothing in the routine has changed, other than it's dark now when they come in, so what would you do?
    Last edited by Hollywood; Oct. 21, 2010 at 09:31 PM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Is he anxious about being crowded and bullied at "bringing in" time? Maybe his vision is not as good and the jostling around the gate worries him?

    Or, he's being an ass.

    If you want him in, go catch him and put him in. I'm all for respecting herd dynamics and all, and letting the lead horse be the lead horse . . . but ultimately *I* am the lead horse, really, and if I want the low-man-on-the-totem-pole to come in, in they come, and to heck with precedence. The other horses can bloody well wait.

    If you go out and fetch him 15 minutes later, he's learning that HE gets an extra 15 minutes of turnout, personal attention from his human, and no waiting in line at the gate.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2003
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    Tampa, FL
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    Ditto.

    You could also always have a special treat ready for him, a peppermint or apple for when he comes to the gate.

    After a few days of a special treat for him, maybe he will be more anxious to be AT the gate for his treat and won't go wandering off
    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
    Bernard M. Baruch



  4. #4
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Is he anxious about being crowded and bullied at "bringing in" time? Maybe his vision is not as good and the jostling around the gate worries him?

    Or, he's being an ass.

    If you want him in, go catch him and put him in. I'm all for respecting herd dynamics and all, and letting the lead horse be the lead horse . . . but ultimately *I* am the lead horse, really, and if I want the low-man-on-the-totem-pole to come in, in they come, and to heck with precedence. The other horses can bloody well wait.

    If you go out and fetch him 15 minutes later, he's learning that HE gets an extra 15 minutes of turnout, personal attention from his human, and no waiting in line at the gate.
    Exactly what she said.

    I had some trouble with Amadeus similar to this. Except it was at feeding time. They just got a couple handfulls of grain in a bucket with their vit/min supplement, but I'd set the bucket down for his buddy, then I'd walk over toward Amadeus to give him his bucket and he'd take off galloping. He'd do stupid horse laps around the field bucking and running, and I'd stand there shaking the grain. His buddy would be done eating, then he'd come over and try to get in the other bucket.

    Finally I got so sick of it, that I said fine - you don't get to eat! I'd set the bucket down for Trooper, walk toward Amadeus - he'd run off galloping, I'd turn around and go back to the barn taking his grain bucket with me. After about a week of this he wisened up! He completely quit doing it and now when I go out there with the bucket he runs up to me and sticks his nose in it.

    I think he was playing with me and thinking it was grand fun to get extra attention. I'd stand out there for 20 minutes and I'd end up locking Trooper up by the barn, then walking around after Amadeus in the big field until he'd give up and come running up to me and eat. I think he believed it was a fun game! He's a very energetic, intelligent horse and it was just plain fun to gallop and buck and get all the attention and then finally get rewarded with the grain. So when I took the grain reward away for the antics, he straighted up pretty quick.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2001
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    NC
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    My little stinker pony does this. AFter his friends come in and he won't come, he stands screaming at the gate like a little girl. He has been better since I have left hm out over night a few times. Horses like to keep us guessing. After you go back out and bring him in and go home, the other horses have to ante up some of their hay, since he won the bet.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2006
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    956

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    One of mine just loves to be a butt and when one of my barn helpers would go to get him he would take off and run to the top of a big hill in the pasture. My helper would trudge up the hill to get him and as soon as he would get within 2 feet of the horse he would take off again and run to the bottom of the hill by the gate and just wait for the helper to get him.

    Every day this persisted. He never did this to me. I just started bringing him in myself so the poor worker wouldn't have to put up with this but it was clearly just a game to the horse.



  7. #7
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    LOL redhorse - and people think horses are just dumb animals



  8. #8
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    Dec. 31, 2003
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    Central Ohio
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    You might try grabbing "low man" FIRST at the gate to bring in, since he's there when you go out, but backs away and goes off by himself when you bring in "first man" and "second man." I have these exact same dynamics at my barn with my three geldings, and my dominant gelding actually learned to wait and stay back until low man came in first. I never thought he'd learn it but he did! It just took a couple of days to teach "low man" to come to me first and I'd protect him from the other two ( hold a crop)while I pulled him through the gate! haha OK, and one other thing: whenever the gate dynamics change for some reason--one horse is hanging back when they usually don't--I immediately check for some health-related reason. Unfortunately, it seems that someone is colicky, gassy, or has hurt themselves somehow when they act different at turn-in time!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 16, 2005
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    Thanks for the replies, I felt kind of silly posting anything, but I was so frustrated last night b/c he actually acted like he was coming to the gate and then made a turn to go to the other pasture!

    I personally think he's just being an ass and playing a game. He's the immature instigator of the pack. And he's also one that when the mood hits him, he thinks it is great fun to run from me and run laps around the fields (young TB). We have had some discussions about that and for the last month, he hasn't pulled the gallop off when I get two feet from catching him.

    My top gelding will come and stand at the gate at turn in time, or he comes galloping when he sees me come in the barn, the other two saunter and hang back until he is in. Now, the low man had been challenging the middle man on/off about where he stands in the herd. So maybe that has something to do with it.

    Anyway, I may just have to go get him. Which will not be fun once winter sets in...but maybe this is just a phase.



  10. #10
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    Mar. 13, 2000
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    Well, maybe, if the horse wants more attn., then maybe give him some more attention. Just do it in a different setting. He might bond more with you and might start wanting to come in...



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberbay View Post
    Well, maybe, if the horse wants more attn., then maybe give him some more attention. Just do it in a different setting. He might bond more with you and might start wanting to come in...
    He gets lots of attention...maybe that's the problem! LOL! He's thinking, "there's that stupid human again, let's go the other way"!



  12. #12
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    Jul. 22, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood View Post
    I personally think he's just being an ass and playing a game. He's the immature instigator of the pack. And he's also one that when the mood hits him, he thinks it is great fun to run from me and run laps around the fields (young TB). We have had some discussions about that and for the last month, he hasn't pulled the gallop off when I get two feet from catching him.

    My top gelding will come and stand at the gate at turn in time, or he comes galloping when he sees me come in the barn, the other two saunter and hang back until he is in. Now, the low man had been challenging the middle man on/off about where he stands in the herd. So maybe that has something to do with it.
    If he's challenging the hierarchy of the herd don't forget you are also a part of this herd. Personally, I would leave him out for a few days. A few nights won't kill him and he'll learn to be more agreeable at the gate. Don't come in, don't get fed. They figure that out real quickly. Give his buddy extra hay. I would leave him out and then bring him in for breakfast. Peek out at him at few times at night if you need to, but leave his butt out there.



  13. #13
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    Jun. 14, 2007
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    TX
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    Would it be possible to leave him out? I have done that before when I boarded and a horse wouldn't come in. I never had to do it two days in a row.



  14. #14
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    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Louisville, KY
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    Some of them just hate being inside. He may have decided he is one of those, but then gets lonely and decides he should go in cus it's no fun being out by yourself. It's a dilemma with 3. If you had 4, I'd say send the boss in with a buddy and leave the new guy out with a buddy, but you're kinda stuck. If you want them in at night, he's gotta learn to come in. We feed when we bring in for the night, so everyone is motivated to come in willingly... they know that it's getting dark and there's a bucket of grain waiting for them.
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