Horse Show Madness HELP

How many of you have horses that are barn or buddy sour? Cant get through even a dressage test without them looking, getting tense and well…basically just making our life not so fun!!!

Having horses that do this is very very frustrating to say the least. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this situation? Stable together or apart at shows? Separate them well before the show? Not fun at all.

Help any idea’s???

It is brutal, but IME the more you try to manage it, the worse it becomes. :sigh:

If I have two that are “joined at the hip” at shows I have found that separating them AT HOME can help. Which is tough when one has 2-3 horses at their place! :lol: Shipping and stabling separately of course can help a lot, but what a royal PITA.

I had two mares who were like this, and the older, wiser, been-there-done-that one was the WORST. She would still do her job, but hollered all the time and it definitely made a difference in our dressage scores. I rarely took the two together and tried to not stable or haul them together if I did take them both.

I read that it’s the more dominant ones that have the problem when their “subordinate” is taken away.

I did the opposite of the other poster. Mine are all turned out together, I have a 2 horse trailer, and compete 2 at a time. I have no desire to hike all over stabling schlepping hay, grain, buckets, or tack.

I used to work for a cutting horse trainer and all his horses went through this, so this is what I did: at home I used a broad side of the barn with nothing they can catch themselves on, screw an eye hook into a stud, and tie him up!

I use a sturdy nylon halter. Then we work on taking the other horses away. At first there’s screaming, prancing, pawing, kicking… You name it, my horses have probably done it. Gradually I increase the time they’re tied and then work on tying a buddy next to him, take the buddy away, take him away from the buddy. Any fits, he’s left to duke it out with the wall.

Then we start hauling out together. If the trailer is safe, I leave one in at first and let him deal with it in a stall. But I have a VERY well padded trailer. Then we start tying to the trailer.

I can now haul to even 1 days and leave one tied while I ride the other.

Good luck! It can be done, you just have to be a bit of a hard ass :slight_smile:

My vet said, “good luck, let me know how separating them at the show goes.” Day one screaming back and forth they were in different barns however they are loud so they can hear each other. It worked better than stabling together as it was a problem every time I took one out and left the other. Dressage still horrible, the dominate one is the worst!!! almost unridable!

With my two it was the non-dominant one. She would stand perfectly still tied or in her stall, screaming her head off. :lol:

But tying them and letting them get over themselves is what I do with all my weanlings. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=deltawave;7055959]With my two it was the non-dominant one. She would stand perfectly still tied or in her stall, screaming her head off. :lol:

But tying them and letting them get over themselves is what I do with all my weanlings. :)[/QUOTE]

Sounds like I will be tying them, no more nice nice! They are being so naughty

Can you separate them easily at home, without drama? If not, I’d definitely start there and have that going smoothly before taking them anywhere. At that point, I’d show them separately until that’s old hat and not stressful. Then I’d consider hauling and showing at the same event.

Progressive and rewarded separation. Begin at home with feeding them at a distance and out of sight of each other.

Lengthen the time little by little. Do everything you can think of to reward them for being alone. Don’t feed them when the are together.

:lol: :lol: :lol: I got piaffe from a Training Level dressage horse on the way back to the trailer–and his buddy–at a show. The test itself was a hoot. Or one loud whinney!

I find a little tough love goes a long way, especially if they are fairly young. I’ve had quite a few younger horses come along that would scream their ever loving heads off at shows (or even at home). Solution? A good, swift swat for every peep made. Their job is to focus on their rider not on the location of their buddy or their barn or where they think “home” is (I deal with the “home” thing with Toby, and I am not above a good, solid spanking if he even THINKS about hanging towards home, especially on xc. Makes for a wild ride for a few strides, but he’s smart and gets the point quickly).

I do strongly urge not wasting too much precious entry money on schooling this. Go to local shows and cheap unrecognized stuff. Every time your mount hollers, spank (may want a breastplate or jump strap to hang on to!). It is amazing how quick MOST horses figure this out. Don’t make it a big deal. Just spank, do what you need to do to manage the indignation of the spank without drama or emotion, then immediately return to work without ANY other response. Rinse and repeat. Keeping the horse busy helps TREMENDOUSLY, too, so keep working and avoid aimless wandering. My biggest offender of screaming for trailer mates got over the majority of his hollering, but even as a teenager would consistently scream in his free walk (then bolt off…he had a sense of humor about it that no one really found as funny as he did). As long as his brain was actively engaged, he kept quiet.

Any time you are riding out with other horses you can do a little practice. Although the other riders may not think you are so friendly! Horse before social time - sigh.

Going in the same direction as the group, drift as far from them as your horse will tolerate without noise and/or other fuss. You are still getting where you are going, on a parallel track. Same when parked with the group in the middle of the ring waiting on another rider. Don’t go further apart than he is comfortable, even if it is 6 feet. While he is at the maximum separation that he can handle, reward, reward, reward - voice and petting. Horses do work for that, although sometimes it is not so obvious - especially if it is consistent. Give him something to do - laterals, etc. - to help maintain quiet and distance.

If a trainer says something about staying together, explain you are training. And stand your ground so you can actually have a better-behaved horse. My biggest problem with separation is not the horse - he’s come so far and does fine - it’s the trainer who keeps trying to push everyone together, although for good reason, I do understand.

Any group lesson is an opportunity - don’t waste it as this takes time and no progress is made when it isn’t being worked. A day’s 2-hour schooling offers a great opportunity to open that separation distance quite a lot - if one is consistent, consistent, consistent. He may get a break, the rider does not, have to always be observant of distance from others and rewarding.

Reward when it’s his turn to jump and he’s on his own, on top of the reward for performing. Be conscious of this, and he’ll be more conscious of it. He will gradually catch on that he has two opportunities for rewards, not just one.

It may have to start over with each group lesson or schooling day, but over time this does help enormously to have a horse keeping himself quieter. Rider consciousness and consistency is the key.

There are many golden opportunities to help a horse learn quiet separation that riders and handlers routinely ignore, or maybe just not conscious of it. The horse is always aware of separation/togetherness, though, so cultivate that consciousness to match his/hers.

BUT - Being oblivious and not continuously working on separation, during ‘breaks’ or any other time, can undo all the work. Horses have no clue that sometimes rules count and sometimes the rules are on ‘break.’ The horse gets a break - not so much the rider/handler. :slight_smile: