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Trainer Q&A - Behavior Problems & Quirks - What are some excercises for my "buddy-sour" horse?

What are some excercises for my "buddy-sour" horse?

Mcada002 Asks:

I have a very "buddy sour", 12 y.o. mare that I have owned for about five months. She recently fell (all the way down) while riding her and trying to get her used to riding away from her gelding buddy. I have been told that I need to work her in a round pen using a surcingle.

She has shown great difficulty while trail riding due to this same problem. I now realize it's a potentially dangerous situation.

Can you please suggest some CD sources for use of a surcingle? Also, any other techniques to help me and my horse with this issue.

Thank you so much.

Our Trainer Answers:

Horses are herd bound by nature, they seek companionship from other horses both for safety and socialization. This can be a big problem for us as their rider, and dangerous as well, as you have learned. What we need to teach our horse is that we are their herdmate, their place of safety. We need to teach them to trust us, no matter the situation. It sounds like this has been a problem for your horse for some time. If her former riders allowed her to get away with always just going along with the other horses that they rode with, teaching her to pay attention to you instead of the other horse will be very challenging for the both of you. My recommendation is that you spend alot of time riding your mare all by yourself. Teach her to flex and bend. Teach her to go along at whatever speed you wish, to speed up when you ask, as well as stop whenever you ask. Teach her to go new places and build her confidence in you as her leader, only then will you be able to safely ride with others.

Once you have her full and undivided attention, find a friend to ride with who understands your mare's "buddy-sour" problem and is willing to help you in the retraining process. Take your mare and your friend out riding....trade places in the riding order, them in the front, then you in the front. Try to avoid simply following along. When your mare is good, no matter her riding position, ride away from your friend a short distance. Before your horse gets upset, ride back to your friend, pass them and ride away again, have your friend do the same. Ride along in the fields aimlessly, passing each other, riding circles around one another, riding away and then back, until neither horse cares where the other is at. Continue this excercise until both horses are totally tuned into only their riders. Since your horse has had this problem in the past it will be an on going training process. Make certain, for everyone's safety that your mare is totally obedient to you before taking her out with other horses.

Thank You and Happy Trails!

Christy Mellington