|The evil pony herself. Preggo and hormonal.|
All of the horses have been very barn sour this winter. Understandable because of the constant stalling because of weather, cold, etc. They haven't been worked enough. I definitely do NOT dread rides, but I dread the moment of "oh I'm gonna run home now" and that's when my confidence kind of goes away. I can handle it, just not as well as I'd like.
Red is a good horse, I can't say that enough. He doesn't spook over anything other than a very loud ambulance going RIGHT. TOWARDS. US. (Still haven't gotten over that parade!) He is the perfect horse for me, but this barn sour stuff has got to stop.
I have help, my mom is amazing, my BM is awesome, I'm not in this alone, but typically, I like to turn to real professionals for help. Obviously I'll go to "A" and mom first because a lot of the time, they handle it perfectly, but when I'm really annoyed with the problem...Clinton Anderson and Buck Brannaman, here I come.
I've come to a conclusion.
Red is barn sour. Not buddy sour, he couldn't care less about them, not gate sour, he see's a gate, he'll go through it or walk right passed it....he's barn sour. He doesn't want to leave. Getting him to leave is a struggle. Then, when we get close, he wants to run home. He knows what that barn means.
Either A. rest. B. turnout time (which he loves) or C. food.
He's relating the barn to good things, and riding may be fun but it's not as fun as dinner. He needs to start seeing the barn as a workplace as well. When we get to the barn, I dismount right away, untack, put him away, give him treats and feed him.
What I need to do is get to the barn and work him. Take him in circles, trot him around, even dismount and make him walk, have a little lunging session. Make him wait a little longer for treats and etc, or maybe start giving treats when he leaves the barn as opposed to when he comes back. Either A. Don't ride before dinnertime, at least for awhile, so when he comes back, he doesn't get rewarded for coming home, because he'll either have already been fed or has to come back. or B. feed in the pasture, give treats in the pasture and etc (different pastures so he doesn't get pasture sour, haha) so everywhere is a good place, not just the barn!
The barn needs to represent work, but it should still be a place where he can feel safe if need be.
So, once I get back to riding (stupid weather) I'm going to start up our new routine. First things first, when he starts his stubborn act and doesn't want to leave, I'll take him in circles, make him work AT the barn. Second, when he starts wanting to bolt back home, we do the same thing. And when we're done, I'm gonna dismount in the pasture or trails or wherever we are, loosen his girth and walk on home so he gets to rest in a different place than the barn. I won't take him straight to the barn, I'll give him treats throughout the trail, stop before the barn, make him sit, let him rest, then we'll go back to the barn, I'll take him in some circles, maybe lunge, and then, he gets nice barn time or turnout.
And if y'all have tips....throw them at me.