Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/Ring and Buddy Sour?
Ok, I bought a reg 6 year old AQHA gelding in Dec as a barrel racer thinking I wanted to try contesting. I have been riding western pleasure events my whole life and decided I no longer wanted to ride barrel racing anymore for it was just not for me and quickly after I bought Tucker saw that it also was not for him. I started training him for pleasure events in FEB. (showmanship, horsemanship, WP, and showmanship). He stayed at my barn and pasture with 2 geldings and a mare. When I started training him I moved him to a friends barn for mine Burnt down. They put him with their two not so well behaved horses from march till now. I go out there everyday to lounge or ride him and he has never had a problem leaving his friends, id jump on him bareback and ride him out of the pasture. I took him to about 20 shows and every time got high point of the day. There was 1 or 2 times he didn't want to go in the ring but after a cluck and tap of the spur he'd go right in without a problem. Then at the end of AU we had our local fair that I take my horses to for a week to show, he was fine the first day or two but then he got like really strange not even wanting to go into the arena and when I got him in would stop at the gate every time we would go passed. I was just thinking, well this is his first fair so maybe hes just not sure of the place yet. Then the 3rd day of fair we had our horsemanship pattern, everyone knows me as the one going first when doing a pattern but he would NOT go up to the first cone. Once I got him up there after about ten min he started bucking and rearing, my bra got hooked on the saddle horn while he was rearing and I got two broken ribs. After he got through that spell he did the pattern awesome. (of course we didn't do to well since he had a fit and I could hardly breath hah) He seems to be better with the rail work, not so much rearing and bucking just trying to stop and go to the gate. I lounged him morning and night and would ride every morning also and he did good in the morning. Now that fair is over and I brought him back to his pasture buddies he WILL NOT LEAVE THEM!!!! I mean I get him out tack him up and get on him and he will just bolt back to the pasture, and when I try to correct him by backing him up and taking him another direction he will rear up, Not once or twice either. He has never done that with the other horses I had him with and I talked to the old owner and she said he has never done it either. I'm wanting to show this summer again but cant afford any more horses and don't want to get to hurt again. Is there any hope for him or should I just sell him? I'm guessing its the other horses, should I move him to another barn? Thank You So MUCH!
It sounds like you had a terrible time at that show! I have an idea to start you guys on a different path before you make the choice of if this horse is the right one for you. The reason your guy is buddy sour is that when he is with his buddies life is good, he feels safe, he eats, he relaxes, what a great time they have! You need to find a way to make him wanting to be with his buddies work for your training not against. Here is the idea, you need to set up a situation where he can be near his buddies and you work him, not because he is in trouble, you want him to feel like whenever he is headed to or around his friends you get excited and say "Good idea! Lets keep running around your buddies FASTER!". This could be a trot on the lounge or cantering while riding with his friends tied near one end of the arena, it just depends on how comfortable you are. The important part is that he does not get a break until he is headed away from his buddies, even if its just for a second. You dont stop him from making the choice to go back to them, it just means he heads back to more work. This will take patience on your part, but if you stick with it soon he will know that if he heads for his friends his work begins and if he leaves his friends he can do NOTHING, just stand and catch his breath. If he is as sour as it sounds you probably would be better served to do ground work, working him on the line and then when he seems less interested try leaving, if you his any resistance walk right back over to his friends and send him off to work.
Try this out and let me know what things you run in to.
I look forward to hearing back from you,
Caitlin Day Huntress