Youtube to the rescue!

As all of you know, I'm a total 100% beginner. I'm 15, I've been a horse owner for less than 2 years, counting when I had my first mini, Barbie, because let's face it, she may have been little but that horse was mean and completely deserves full horse-status and I did a pretty darn good job with her.
The evil pony herself. Preggo and hormonal.
But I'll be honest, my expertise doesn't go far. Ask me to work with a rescue horse, mean or just scared and shy, sure, I've handled a lot of that. I work better with horses that need help, love and rehabilitation. Red needed that. But once they are fine and dandy, that's when I have issues. When they start having normal problems is when I get nervous about what I'm doing.

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.


  1. I am a complete beginner too. I bought Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship: Establishing Respect and Control for English and Western Riders. It shows just how much ground work can help your horse. If you don't have the book I highly recommend you buy it! When the weather gets better hopefully I can start riding my horse. He gets barn sour too. Where I tack/untack him, he always wants to stop there. One time I was going pretty fast fast canter/gallop and he decided to stop and I really thought I was going to fall, but luckily I didn't. I would love to see how Red responds to any training you do, and would love to see how you do it!

  2. Sounds like you have a great plan! Most problems like these have fairly simple solutions it just takes time and patience and repetitiveness to get through them. I'm sure you've got it.

  3. Girl you're only fifteen!? I could have sworn you were much older then that! =)

    Kalin, you have always done a great job working through things with Red. I am sure you will work through this just fine. Sounds like you have a great plan!
    To tell you the truth, Chester is really barn sour himself right now. I have a lot of work ahead of me! =)

  4. I'm sure you will figure it out, all horses go through that, I had one horse if I can get out of the yard on her its a darn celebration, lol! So I thought I would do all the same stuff like you and worked her hard at home, lots of figure 8s changing direction, mostly trotting and when we left they yard at a walk it was easy and then coming home I had to pretty well get off and drag her home, guess it worked a little to well. Now I feed them their grain before I ride and lots of time tie them up when we get home for a while and then let them free when they are all relaxed. So far so good. You just need to believe they want to do what you want to do and you will find a solution.