Barn Sour: An Ounce of Prevention

Here’s a few things to think over if you want to prevent your horse from becoming barn sour.

1.     Don’t feed him the minute you finish your ride unless you want him to enjoy quitting a little earlier every time.

2.     When you finish your ride or your training, tie him up and let him stand while you do some chores. Don’t let him think the day is over just because you stepped down from the saddle.

3.     Make a point to ride into the barn when you aren’t planning to stop and then ride back out again. Make a habit of going back to the barn for something and then heading back out.

4.     Take an all day trail ride and create a “wet blanket”.

5.     If your horse has a buddy at the barn, separate them for a few days. Take one out of sight and leave him tied for several hours. No he won’t like it, but it will help get past the anxiety of  leaving his buddy.

6.     Catch your horse when you don’t plan to ride and saddle him. Leave him tied with the saddle for an hour to soak.

7.     Mix up your routine frequently so he doesn’t figure out what comes next. Ride into the barn, unsaddle him for 10 minutes and then saddle back up again.

8.     Never set a schedule you don’t want to keep. Your horse is learning you and what you do. As soon as he figures you out, then he starts to look for ways to shortcut the schedule. After all, he’s busy and you’re interfering with his off time. Keep him off-balance by changing up things regularly.

9.     Be ready to miss something you planned to do. Unfortunately, your horse knows when you need to be somewhere. He can sense it. If you have plans, sometimes you have to change your plans to make sure he gets the training needed right that moment. The willingness to stay late to work on the problem let’s him know how much you really care. Maybe not care about him, but care about how he is going to act.

10.     Make sure you walk back to the barn and don’t let him hurry back. If he starts to speed up, make turn circles every few steps one way and then the other. Let him choose whether he wants to walk slow or work hard.

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