Herd Bound to a Buddy
A horse that has “attached” itself to another horse can obviously create a herd bound issue.
Here’s an exercise you can do to work through this buddy issue. (Have a friend help you with this exercise)
Have your friend ride the buddy of the herd bound horse. Together ride in a large arena with good footing. Have your friend on the buddy horse stand about 150 ft away allowing plenty of room between him and the fence.
Take the buddy relying horse to the other end of the arena and make it stand there facing his buddy, relax your reins, and do not ask the horse to move. Let him make the choice to move or not. More than likely the horse will want to move towards his buddy. When he does allow him to, but once he gets close to his buddy get him busy! Actively trot or lope around the buddy. Do this until your horse wants to rest and decides his idea of the buddy has turned into a lot of work. Once you feel this happening ride back to the other end of the arena, face the buddy, relax your reins, and pet him. If he decides to move towards his buddy again, do the same drill, change directions, implement figure eights or other transitional maneuvers until he understands that his decision has made it difficult, and has to work every time he makes the decision to move towards his buddy.
DO NOT REST HIM BESIDE HIS BUDDY. He only rests at the other end of the arena with you. When the horse decides to be content and to stand relaxed at the other end of the arena, then you can walk him quietly towards and around his buddy, and even allow him to stand beside his buddy for a few seconds, then go back to the other end of the arena.
The object of this drill is not so the horse will want to stay away from the buddy, but that you can take the horse away from the buddy as you please without an anxiety attack. We are expanding the horse’s comfort zone and building the horse’s confidence in you for comfort and safety instead it relying on the other horse.
(Please use discretion on the length and intensiveness of this exercise, we are not wanting to injure the horse in any way. If you feel that the horse is getting overly exhausted and not “getting” the drill, then allow him to rest away from his buddy and give him time to think. Then come back the next day and set up the same exercise again.)
Remember: Timing is important. Try to anticipate anxiety to be with the buddy before it happens as you work through this exercise. Also make sure you ride calmly through this procedure. Don’t let your energy get cranked up as you ride actively. Be calm and active at the same time.
To Your Riding Success,