Horses are incredibly social creatures, instinctively driven to create strong social bonds with their herd mates.? But these healthy relationships can turn into difficulties for you if your horse begins to value the company of his buddies over you.? Herdbound horses are dangerous to themselves and their handlers because horses with severe issues will do anything to get back to their herd, including running away with a rider, kicking out, jumping fences, and breaking ties.? They can be difficult to ride and work with, and a nightmare for the farrier to handle.? Here are some tips to keep your horse from getting too attached to his herd.
- Remove him from the herd on a regular basis, either to ride or simply to handle.? Ride your horse alone in a riding ring, if you are uncomfortable taking him on a trail by yourself, or give him a good grooming session away from his buddies.
- When on the trail with a group, occasionally break away from the group, either turning around or taking a different trail, and then hook up with them again.? This will help to reassure your horse that he will see his friends again.? Don?t let him race up to the group when they are in sight; instead keep him calm and walking, turning him around if he gets too upset.
- While riding with a group, keep your horse?s mind occupied by actively working with him.? Ask him to move back and forth on the trail, turn around, or move backwards.? Keep his mind attuned to you.
- Be assertive with your horse and remember that you are his leader.? Don?t always let him make the decisions, especially when you are riding with other horses, or when you are letting him go in the pasture.
- Develop a strong relationship with your horse, so that he knows he can trust you.? If you are strong and confident, he will have more trust in your leadership and be more prepared to follow you into what, in his mind, may be dangerous situations.