Buddy-Sour Horses

Courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship

Whether your horse doesn’t want to leave his buddies on the trail or overreacts when you take him away from his buddies at shows, use these tips to regain control and focus his attention on you.

  1. When you’re dealing with a buddy-sour horse, you have to use a little reverse psychology on him. Instead of the horse thinking that being with his buddy is the best place in the world, you have to make the horse believe that his buddy is the worst thing in the world.
  2. Trot the horse in circles, canter serpentines, practice rollbacks — anything to hustle the horse’s feet. The more changes of direction you do, the more the horse has to pay attention to you and focus on what you’re asking him to do. After working the horse next to his buddies for several minutes, rest him 50-100 feet away from the other horses. While he’s resting, rub him and give him a chance to catch his breath. Prove to him that being away from his buddies is a good thing.
  3. Establish a starting point. In the beginning, you might only be able to take your horse 20 feet away from the other horses. That’s OK; you’ll gradually build your horse’s confidence little by little.

Repeat the process until the horse couldn’t care less about getting back to his buddies. Consistency is your greatest ally. In order for your horse to not panic and use the reactive side of his brain every time he is separated from his buddy, you’ll have to practice taking him away from the other horse.