Friday, August 22, 2008

Unbinding the Herd

When I ride one horse on my neighbor's property, my other two panic and call out to the missing horse. As a result, the horse that I'm riding acts out by whinnying, prancing, and bucking from the excitement. My neighbor suggested that I start separating the horses by putting one or two in the pasture while the others stay in the paddock.

I started by putting just Lostine in the pasture, but she galloped all over the place and tore up the grass. So, I led Bombay over to the pasture, which settled Lostine down, but sent both Bombay and Gabbrielle into fits. Now Lostine was eating while Bombay was tearing up the grass and Gabbrielle was racing around the paddock screaming.

Though I hated to do it, I left all of them alone for a while to work out their anxieties. I figured that the torn up pasture was a small sacrifice for getting these horses to emotionally handle being separated.

I fed Gabbrielle a flake of hay, but she would just snatch a bit and then race over to the corner of the paddock where she could see the other horses. I found it interesting that when I entered the paddock to take pictures of her, she ran up to me and then instantly relaxed. She considers me to be one of the herd.

Bombay was a total ham doing all kinds of stunts for the camera. He's so goofy.


Flying Lily said...

This is a great idea - and they WILL get used to it. Beautiful photos - horses look so gorgeous when they are 'up' about something.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

You must have nerves of steel to get such great photos while your horses are running around. They sure are pretty horses and i am sure they will come to like their new situation.

Jenn said...

They will get used to it, eventually. My three act the same way...heck, I don't even have to leave their SIGHT with one of them and the other two go into fits of insanity. Gabbrielle is GORGEOUS! And what's funny, she has very similar coloring tp my big guy, Gabriel!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lily - I wish they would only be "up" for photos and settle in when it's time to ride.

SMR - I don't get nervous when the horses are running around me anymore, because I've watched them and see that they are like ballet dancers -- very skilled in their movements and use of space. If they aren't spooked, they know how to keep their distance. You just don't want to be near them when they spook.

Jenn - Wow! I keep meeting people who have horses with "Gabriel" in their name. In fact, I was offered a free breeding to a horse by that name, but decided not to breed.

Lulu said...

Your neighbor gave you a very good suggestion. Your three are very attached to each other!

I purposly separate my horses from time to time. I will even go so far as to keep one away from the others for an entire week. He/She will go out and come into the barn at opposite times from the others.

You'd be amazed at how quiet and well behaved my yearling filly is at the shows. She does not holler to the barns or anthing. She stands quietly, even when her stall buddies all leave her!

Twinville said...

What a good idea. I think Baby Doll thinks of me as her herd, too, because she is an 'Only-Horse". Well except for the horses next door.

But we are experiencing something similar: Barn Sour.
Val and I took our horses out last week and Baby Doll lost her mind for a few minutes when we decided to turn back away from home after riding for about 30 mins. She was quite the handful.

If you've got any advice on working out the barn sour, I'd welcome it :)