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How to stop whinnying under saddle?

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  • How to stop whinnying under saddle?

    So I currently have my horse in a situation where he is stabled with only 1 other horse. There is no ring on the property but my friend's farm is a 5 minute walk down the road so I plan on bringing him there daily to ride him. My horse is not normally herdbound but I guess having only 1 buddy got to him. So far I've only walked him down the road a few times but it's horrible. It starts at the top of the driveway and continues all the way down the road and into our actual ride. I've tried everything I could think of to stop him from doing this, including:
    Ignoring him - This has no effect.
    Making him do something "hard" (aka shoulder in or some other lateral movement) - He's a thoroughbred...he can multitask.
    Giving him a well-timed smack with the crop - This just pisses him off.
    Talking/singing to him - This works about as well as I expected it to.

    I'm fed up...it's really very annoying to deal with while I'm riding. The one thing I haven't tried yet is earplugs. Other horses (his pasture mate, horses about halfway to my friend's farm, and horses AT my friend's farm) answer him so I'm hoping that if he can't hear them he'll lay it off?

    Any other suggestions?
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  • #2
    The only thing that stopped my guy from doing this was routine--he FINALLY realized I wasnt taking him away forever and that he would see his buddy when he got back!
    Other than that, I have no ideas! I just dealt with it til it stopped on its own...but darn, isnt it annoying?!
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

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    • #3
      The only proven way to stop a horse from being herdbound is to separate him from the herd. It doesn't sound like that is an option in your situation but you might not have any choice. I had to separate my old guy when his whinnying got so intense he started to feel a little light in the front end like he was thinking about rearing. Luckily for us he is a little senile so we found we could turn him out with a different horse every day and he would forget to miss them. Now we are just rotating two horses with him and so far that is working.
      McDowell Racing Stables

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      • #4
        As it strange as it sounds... draw reins. If I have to ride alone, I put on the draw reins untill for the first 5-10 minutes, and then take them off. For some reason, he can't figure out that he can still whinny with the DR on, lol. after a while he's settled into work and then I can take the DR off without him turning into a drama lama
        .

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        • #5
          The screamers I've cured (or at the very least, made better), I've cured with a firm, swift swat, hopefully well timed as soon as it starts to rumble up. MOST of the screamers I've had to fix have been fixable....the ones that haven't been fixable, well, you live with (they are better, though). Ignoring it does nothing and they do tend to just get intoxicated by the sound of their own voice. I make it very well known that no one, least of all ME, cares what they think and they need to "be seen and not heard." Usually, they get it. I would stick with the swat, ride out the pissy-ness...he'll get the point...eventually.

          My old man, who was a bit of a talker at shows, would do this silly little squeak, but would never go any further, knowing that I would get after him if he said anything else...it was pretty hysterical.
          Amanda

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          • #6
            Only way I've ever fixed it is changing the situation. Either adding other friends to the herd, or moving the offender into a new herd or solo turnout.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post

              My old man, who was a bit of a talker at shows, would do this silly little squeak, but would never go any further, knowing that I would get after him if he said anything else...it was pretty hysterical.
              My guy does that too. He makes a funny whining/squealing noise, but he hever gets much more out---- if he knows he is supposed to be quiet. Otherwise, he is LOUD!
              "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

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              • #8
                Earplugs for yourself maybe? I know, I know, not a good idea (especially as you won't be just riding in an arena). You could try the earplugs for him but I imagine that it'd make some horses more nervous.

                Other than that he may eventually get that he that when he goes back he'll get to see his friend again.
                Originally posted by RugBug
                Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.

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                • #9
                  The only cure I found for this was a swift wack & a growl. If you can put him on a lunge line and make him work through it that is a good option. Depo might help.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    The only proven way to stop a horse from being herdbound is to separate him from the herd. It doesn't sound like that is an option in your situation but you might not have any choice. I had to separate my old guy when his whinnying got so intense he started to feel a little light in the front end like he was thinking about rearing. Luckily for us he is a little senile so we found we could turn him out with a different horse every day and he would forget to miss them. Now we are just rotating two horses with him and so far that is working.
                    That's hilarious!!

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                    • #11
                      I feel your pain. I'm in almost the same situation. I don't have a riding arena and ride my guy to my neighbor's house. He is also with one horse. Its SO annoying and its completely distracting of him paying attention to me, so I feel its dangerous.

                      The routine is really the option I went with and it seems to work. Once he's out of earshot and in the arena he can work well.

                      The one thing I'll say, although its a cop-out of sorts, sometimes I walk my guy on foot. Its not really accomplishing anything except keeping me from turning into a road pancake if he decided to go ape on me in the road. I can also reprimand him better on the ground.

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                      • #12
                        Mine became very herd bound to eachother when I brought them home, I have to lock 1 in the barn and ride the other either on the property or down the road, it took a while but eventually they realized the one being ridden *would* in fact come back before too long. I think I used earplugs at first, but they got over themselves pretty quickly. Taking one completely OFF the property (in the trailer, load up & GO quickly) seemed to make the biggest difference, they could yell all they want but nobody was there to answer!

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                        • #13
                          It could be worse.... You could be riding a mule!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Is he actually doing anything dangerous or disobedient or is he just whinnying? I dont' get the feeling from your post that he is arguing with you in any way about leaving the farm; it seems he is just neighing but still listening to you.

                            If he is just whinnying and is otherwise perfectly cooperative I would get over it and accept it. Make sure his focus is on you with a little shoulder-in or a few steps of leg yield but otherwise get over it and let him be a horse.
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                            • #15
                              One of our ponies is awful about this. He is a wonderful pony otherwise, but has serious anxiety issues, especially around his younger full brother (who doesn't give a rats patootie who is with him...go figure). We have separated them (out of sight, not quite hearing but this seems to go okay), but at shows he is still stupid when we take his brother along. At one show, we left his brother home, but his full sister, who he has NEVER EVER seen but looks like his brother, showed up and he saw her across the ring and never settled again the entire day.

                              This pony has been under saddle for almost 2 years and showed regularly last summer. He has been out about 5 times this year. OP, I certainly understand your frustration.

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                              • #16
                                If he is just whinnying and is otherwise perfectly cooperative I would get over it and accept it. Make sure his focus is on you with a little shoulder-in or a few steps of leg yield but otherwise get over it and let him be a horse.
                                To each their own, of course, but the reason I do not tolerate it is because if the horse is carrying on for his buddy they are not fully focused, cooperative or not. A well timed swat or whatever gets their attention back on the game. And I find that with a lot of them, the more you let them the scream the worse it becomes and the more likely they are to start doing more than just screaming.

                                And, I don't know about in the hunter ring, but I do find that if a horse screams during a dressage test, you are likely to lose a point or two in that movement (or more, depending on if the horse totally comes above the bit or not). Yet another good reason to nip the behavior in the bud.

                                I do also just find it very, very obnoxious. Am I the only one who hates listening to some neurotic horse stabled or parked nearby, or schooling near me as it screams its bloody head off?
                                Amanda

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                                • #17
                                  PS- They have 23 hours a day to be a horse and do as they wish...they can shut their mouths and behave like ladies and gentlemen for the hour or so I want from them.
                                  Amanda

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                                  • #18
                                    I used to ride one that talked to himself in the mirror. Best looking horse he had ever seen.

                                    I have trained mine not to talk with the smack-and-growl approach. He completely overreacts to being spanked, which disrupted the ride a little, but it did get the message across loud and clear. Now if he really feels the need to express himself, he does this thing that starts out as a cough and ends in a squeal. It doesn't happen that often, and when it does it's just too hilarious for me to reprimand.
                                    Tucker the Wunderkind

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MoonRiver5 View Post
                                      I used to ride one that talked to himself in the mirror. Best looking horse he had ever seen.


                                      Coming from the western world without a crop I would usually smack the neck and growl. Careful the first time you growl as some react more then others to it. I had one bolt with me when I did it but he never "talked" under saddle again. There is a wonderful little arab gelding that talks when we first get to the show but once under tack he settles nicely.
                                      Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                      Originally Posted by alicen:
                                      What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                        PS- They have 23 hours a day to be a horse and do as they wish...they can shut their mouths and behave like ladies and gentlemen for the hour or so I want from them.
                                        I'm with you. I can't stand talking under saddle. It's bad manners and always gets a whack with the crop from me.

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