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Extreme Barn-Sour-ed-ness

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  • Extreme Barn-Sour-ed-ness

    So, not sure if this should be in driving or off-course, but here goes:

    We have a horse that is taking Barn Sour-ed-ness to a whole 'nother level. This horse is a combined driving horse that used to be a fine-harness/saddle seat show horse. Since the day he came to our driving farm, he has been barn sour. We've tried everything we can think of, unhitching other places in the farm, working on it in the long-lines and under saddle, tying him in the stall when we return, no "rewards" after the drive/ride, putting him straight into turnout after the drive/ride, even putting him on the walker after a workout. So, we are open to suggestions and ideas.

    This horse was trained to "jig" as part of his undersaddle training a previous life and will totally block you out and ignore you when he is doing this. The only way to make him quit is to get down and lead him. (groom not driver) or to have a "jerk-line" as he will not respond to the bit. Last year, he would get a little more responsive when we would circle calmly and work on dressage, this year he's taken to bolting, rearing, and threatening to kick. He was been a doll in the indoor after a month off in December (first time in his life, was in the show ring as a yearling). We thought he was coming back better than before, until we started going outside.

    not giving up, just looking for anything new we may not have thought of. ideas?

  • #2
    Well, I have never heard of a horse being trained to jig but ok. I wonder if he would benefit from being trained with another horse? If he was fine in the ring maybe he is not upset at the work but at the unfamiliar surrounding and could gain security with a buddy.
    Shop online at
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    • #3
      That's pretty severe... I would try these things:

      1. Individual turnout
      2. Ship out to shows or other farms as much as possible
      3. Increase work and decrease food (maybe some of this is "spring crazies"?
      4. Make sure you are getting absolutely 100% correct responses to basic commands within his "comfort zone" i.e. work in hand, walk, whoa, stand, turn. Start pushing the limits of the comfort zone only when you are getting all the right answers close to home.

      Let me know how it goes with this horse; this is a tough thing to deal with.
      Jigga:
      Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

      Comment


      • #4
        Food motivated?

        Is the horse motivated by food at all?

        Mugwump just had a blog about barn sourness :

        http://mugwumpchronicles.blogspot.co...somewhere.html

        Comment


        • #5
          First of all his psychotic behavior should be examined by a vet. Pituitary tumors or hormone imbalances can cause aggression and psychosis.

          Is he the same way at shows? Or just at home?

          ME? When they get that obnoxious they get to talk to the trees! Meaning I haul their buts out to my woods and tie them short and tight and high to a BIG old cottonwood tree and LEAVE! No audience = an unmotivated horse. Sometimes it takes a few hours - sometimes overnight - but somehow they figure out that there is no reasoning with the cottonwood. And that throwing a fit makes no difference to a tree. Do I worry about them hanging themselves? Yeah sure, but in 28 years of tree treatments I haven't lost a one. They can dig some halacious holes in their angst. But they almost have to learn submission on their own. It's like centering for them.

          That is all I got. If they can not behave to the point where they are dangerous it's literally do or die in my opinion. Too many great well behaved horses out there to wast a moment on one that makes life miserable.
          "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm sorry you are having to deal with such a scarey problem, any chance of sending the horse to someone that specializes in horses with "issues"? I have a local guy (a cowboy actually) that I call when one of my horses starts getting out of hand or needs a little tune-up. I hate to even say it- (I am not some NH groupee), but perhaps doing some ground work to establish more respect? They guy I had start my young horses actually tied them quite a bit and I think that really did teach them patience. I hope you figure something out!

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            • #7
              So he is an ASB?
              Was he ever used in CDE or did he come straight from the show world and you are changing his job?

              I haven't got any real good ideas myself but if you put ASB in the title you may get some info regarding the customary practices of fine harness horse handling in the ASB world.
              My experience has been limited to beginner riding and just starting driving, we are indoors at all times, even go through a passageway to the riding hall. We also hold all the time, they seem as bad as racehorses as far as understanding they need to stand for mounting. Yes they will stand, just not reliably.
              It may be his personality or aspects of his previous training, or both. In any case, good luck.
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                trees, food, fine harness, etc.

                well, mister barn sour is spending the weekend alone in his paddock (he can see other horses) AWAY from the barn.

                tying him to a tree has been very tempting, and we may still try it. to combat this issue, i do ALWAYS tie him in his stall when we return, sometimes for a couple of hours, next to his water-er. (until recently, when he goes directly outside, do not pass go, do not collect $200). i've even been pulling his mane when we return, to make it as unpleasant as possible (hates this!).

                he is somewhat food motivated, so we've tried giving treats out on the trail, but he just blocks you out anytime he thinks you might be headed even indirectly toward the barn.

                he has spent the last season in combined driving, before that was a saddleseat and fine-harness show horse since he was 18mos old. last year he was barn sour and always jiggy, so i was prepared to deal with the problem again, but he has taken it to another level, with the bolting, rearing, and threatening to throw himself down or kick.

                next week when we start back work, we're going to try doing it the "cowboy" way, tacking up tied to his paddock gate, doing some ground work (long-lining), then going right back to our paddock. this horse isn't going to see the inside of the barn for at least another month. i'll keep you posted!

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  the cowboy way

                  today we harnessed mr. barn sour tied to the gate of his paddock. went back to long-lining to try a new bit and nip this problem in the bud. walked out fine as usual, past the barn toward the dressage arena. long-lined for 20 min, then started heading back. as soon as he stopped listening or started to jig, he went back to work-trotting in a circle. then he was asked to walk and off we went again. when he finally realized we weren't headed to the barn, he stopped jigging. unharnessed him at his paddock gate and turned him back out. we'll see what tomorrow brings!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrivingQueen View Post
                    today we harnessed mr. barn sour tied to the gate of his paddock. went back to long-lining to try a new bit and nip this problem in the bud. walked out fine as usual, past the barn toward the dressage arena. long-lined for 20 min, then started heading back. as soon as he stopped listening or started to jig, he went back to work-trotting in a circle. then he was asked to walk and off we went again. when he finally realized we weren't headed to the barn, he stopped jigging. unharnessed him at his paddock gate and turned him back out. we'll see what tomorrow brings!
                    Sounds like a step in the right direction! Keep us posted and good luck with him!
                    Jigga:
                    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Along with making him work on the lines when he give you the hoof, you might make him work at the barn.

                      We often take the driving or ridden horses out, down the road to get some distance or well warmed up, then head home. When we get home, we drive right on thru the barn to the arena, do the training session of the day.

                      From this they learn that coming home, getting into the barn, DOES NOT mean the day is done!! Racing home means MORE, HARDER work with collection or figures in the ring. Sometimes we come out of the ring, go back down the road to dry them off at a walk. Head for home, get the pulling or speed walking going, and then again, drive thru the barn and do some laps of the ring or field, some extensions again. Finally then go to the barn and unharness. Horses spend time tied to the trailer, wall of learning, to gain patience, experience at being tied alone. We have tie stalls, so they all tie well there.

                      You want to keep him guessing, avoid dependable routine near the barn. Barn is not a happy place, you have to work on the lines!! You have to do lessons while the herd is standing in the paddock, not restful!! A daily note of what was done each day, will keep YOU from repeating the same pattern too often. Though we find roadwork good for keeping them interested, forward, then hard ring work, field driving upon return, really reduces the hurry to get home!

                      Good luck, he sounds like a pain. He may just not enjoy being a CDE horse, needs a different career. You have to be able to REALLY trust your equine in CDE or you will both get hurt when he makes a bad choice in a tight spot. We sold our horse who was not trustworthy driving. He is a great riding horse, LOVES being ridden. Thought he was too good to drive and told us that, STRONGLY. You have to listen when they tell you that hard, or the wreck is going to be stupendous. Saw one of those, didn't listen to the horse when she told them "No driving, not having fun".

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                        Along with making him work on the lines when he give you the hoof, you might make him work at the barn.

                        We often take the driving or ridden horses out, down the road to get some distance or well warmed up, then head home. When we get home, we drive right on thru the barn to the arena, do the training session of the day.

                        we have done this quite a big with him last year (pre-winter when we spend most our time in the indoor), it seemed to make him WORSE.

                        From this they learn that coming home, getting into the barn, DOES NOT mean the day is done!! Racing home means MORE, HARDER work with collection or figures in the ring. Sometimes we come out of the ring, go back down the road to dry them off at a walk. Head for home, get the pulling or speed walking going, and then again, drive thru the barn and do some laps of the ring or field, some extensions again. Finally then go to the barn and unharness. Horses spend time tied to the trailer, wall of learning, to gain patience, experience at being tied alone. We have tie stalls, so they all tie well there.

                        He is tied up everytime we take him to the barn anywhere from 20min-2 hours.

                        You want to keep him guessing, avoid dependable routine near the barn. Barn is not a happy place, you have to work on the lines!! You have to do lessons while the herd is standing in the paddock, not restful!! A daily note of what was done each day, will keep YOU from repeating the same pattern too often. Though we find roadwork good for keeping them interested, forward, then hard ring work, field driving upon return, really reduces the hurry to get home!

                        Everyone here is outside as much as possible, so there is always someone in the paddock. he can't be turned out with anyone because he gets sooo attached, immediately, but can be next to some horses. he acts studish as well. Unfortunately our dressage arena is next too the barn, and there are only a few routes to the barn itself (sits up on a hill), so it's hard too vary. this horse can tell anywhere on the 900 acre farm if he is headed even remotely toward the barn.

                        Good luck, he sounds like a pain.

                        yep,

                        He may just not enjoy being a CDE horse, needs a different career.

                        sadly, this is his second career, he went sour (just didn't enjoy it, wasn't in the ribbons, and owner was smart enough to realize it, make a career change) in the arena as a saddleseat horse, and seemed to love this job. he really likes the marathon and cones.

                        You have to be able to REALLY trust your equine in CDE or you will both get hurt when he makes a bad choice in a tight spot.

                        i completely agree, that's why this is so worrisome.

                        We sold our horse who was not trustworthy driving. He is a great riding horse, LOVES being ridden. Thought he was too good to drive and told us that, STRONGLY. You have to listen when they tell you that hard, or the wreck is going to be stupendous. Saw one of those, didn't listen to the horse when she told them "No driving, not having fun".
                        if this is the case, then he doesn't like work at all-long lines, undersaddle, lounging. we'll see tomorrow. thanks for your help.

                        sorry i can't figure this quote thing out, my answers are intersparsed.
                        Last edited by DrivingQueen; Mar. 17, 2009, 10:53 PM. Reason: can't figure this quote thing out.

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                        • #13
                          I would have a vet and massage therapist ect go over him top to bottom. This is not normal.
                          I also find the idea of tying him to a tree and leaving him rather appalling.
                          www.svhanoverians.com

                          "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.

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                          • #14
                            My friend has a name for the tree...the patience tree. Not all horses need to learn the lesson, but some do before they hurt themselves or their handlers. I think it is really more of a last ditch effort.

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                            • #15
                              Maybe he needs some time off to just be a horse
                              But its no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then

                              -alice in wonderland

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Simbalism View Post
                                My friend has a name for the tree...the patience tree. Not all horses need to learn the lesson, but some do before they hurt themselves or their handlers. I think it is really more of a last ditch effort.
                                When I take the out to "converse with the cottonwood" it is always a last ditch effort. It's never failed me. But when everything else fails - it's my go to. I'd rather them sort it out through developing a good work effort - but sometimes they are so deep down angry and resentful they need to sort it out with the tree.

                                By the time a horse is sent off for training he is injured or frightened or pissed or his owner to the point he is a real problem. Most people do not send them off for show training or finishing unless they are dedicated to a specific sport. Most training is problem solving or starting under saddle. So saying - by the time I get them they are wound tight! The "pouting post" has been an age old training tool.

                                Back in the day there was always a snubbing post in the round pen - I never used one - but I have seen many a rank horse have complete epiphanies after meeting one. That was the original round pen "reasoning".

                                Certainly I always give a horse every opportunity to "figure it out". Either using the round and round reverse reverse round pen. Or the hard work ethic/wet saddle blankets. Or the your time is my time until I say time by returning to stall and tie time over turn out. Or the Cottonwood treatment - it does wonders for many a malcontented horse ideas

                                Suffice it to say - most of this is done before you ever meet your horse. That is why he stands so good, loads so good, ties so good, behaves so good, etc
                                "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

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                                • #17
                                  Just out of curiosity, Woodland... how do you tie them? I haven't met hardware a horse couldn't break. Thick rope halter? Hemp? What doesn't break?

                                  I am not trying this at home. Don't need to, just trying to understand. I don't find it appalling at all. Not sure it's really much different than making a kid sit facing the corner for a hour for misbehaving, except it's illegal to tie the kid.
                                  Dreaming in Color

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                                  • #18
                                    Sure the rope is a heavy cotton lead rope with a bull snap. They are tied short and very high to they can not get leverage to break it. And the tree will not budge.

                                    I have had pullers tied there are well. However because they have a totally different issue I run the rope around the heart girth up between their front legs through a nylon halter - well through the rings anyway and then to my tie rope. Again high and short. Never doesn't work.

                                    I also leave the area completely - a naughty horse loves an audience - and I will not give them that!
                                    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      time off and tying

                                      well, this horse had a month off in January, first time in his 10 yr life, then came back slowly in the indoor, lunging to long-lining to undersaddle work to a two wheeled carriage to a four-wheel. he came back great, though with his same slight arena barn sour issues, which we combated with leaving different ways, tying in the stall upon return, or going out as soon as we returned from work.

                                      i don't find the patience pole appalling at all, considering what may be the alternative. i think in some cases its the only way.

                                      i think there are many holes in this horses training and we have fallen into a big one!

                                      update: long-lined again today, same routine as yesterday but in a different spot. went no where near barn but straight from and to paddock. got a little "up" but settled after turning away from barn enroute to paddock. we'll see about tomorrow!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Have you had this horse scoped for ulcers? In my experience, ulcers can cause a multitude of problem behaviors under saddle (or in harness)...horse is in pain, and associates work with it.

                                        Yes, horses can be jerks, but they may have no other way of telling us when they are uncomfortable or hurt. I'm always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Or find them a job they are happy doing.

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