Barn Sour Horses
I am looking for better way to work with a horse that has problems leaving the barn and keeps trying to turn back and is in a hurry to get back. What is a good way to handle this? Thanks, Larry
Dear Larry: Since you know that your horse is a herd animal it’s only reasonable that he would be concerned when he’s out of site of the herd. This tells you how your horse thinks about you in the herd thought too! If he were trusting and secure with you as the herd leader, then he would look to you for support. He doesn’t feel that way so he’s looking to the horse he left behind or the barn where all the food is for that support. Separation anxiety is not something you are going to “fix” in a day. But you can make big progress over a short time frame if you attack the problem in a way that the horse understands.
I would practice taking the horse in and out of the barn so that he can see that he’s coming back and nothing bad happened while he was gone. Do this in small increments. Start by just going out the door, standing for a few, rewarding the horse and then take him back. Progress to going out of site, standing for a few minutes, rewarding, and then going back. Work up to going off the property for a short period of time. It takes a long time to do this but you may have to work up to a point where the horse is not sweating head to toe from nervous energy.
Good Luck, Rhett
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