Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Sorry to steal this from eventer79 but Steady rightfully deserves it.   My horse is terriblly herd bound, has been since the day he stepped foot on my property.  You have read about us working on riding out alone and having some good success.  Also hauling him alone has become doable finally, even though he does have fits in the trailer.

 4-h has started and we have to haul the kids horses to the fair grounds once a week for practice with the group.  I have 4 horses, 3 of which are used for 4-h.  All but Steady need to go out with us.  Monday was the first time we did this and as I suspected he threw a huge fit being in the pasture alone.  While we were there he ran the fence line over and over and worked himself into a big sweating mess.  I pulled away with fear that I would come home to a broken leg or a horse running free or who knows what but I didn't really have another option.  When we got home he seemed stressed and sweaty but otherwise fine.

The kids all have a show this weekend and we were getting in one last showmanship practice yesterday.  I had all 3 kids(two of mine and one little girl that uses one of our mini's) line up in the yard to practice.  This left SFH in the pasture alone which completely freaked SFH out.  He ran and ran himself into another frenzy.    I could see him from where I was standing as I was trying to teach and help 3 little girls keep their ornery little horses in line.  Horses just love to push the envelope with a little kid at the helm.  I see out the corner of my eye SFH slamming himself into the fence getting his leg some how in it.  He pulls his leg and easily frees himself but I was imagining and terrible bloody mess when I went to check on him.  I went over and luckily he was still standing on all four feet but still throwing a huge SFH fit.  Hopping at the fenceline making me think if I pushed him any farther he may just attempt to jump it.  I wanted to wrap my hands around his neck and choke SFH.  I was beyond stressed.  I needed to be paying attention to the poor little girls standing their with their horsies not SFH.  I gave in and brought him out and let the little girls mom let him graze so we could at least finish the girls lesson.  The kids all did great I had to go round and round a few times to let Moonlight and Snappy know that pulling their sweet girls over to a nice grassy spot to graze was completely unacceptable.  By the end they got the picture and all the girls had a few really good practice tests.

Steady has one spot on his RH that he scraped the fur off of but other than that he was unscathed but I have to pull away Saturday morning along with every Monday and leave SFH behind.  I cannot help but fear he will seriously injure himself.  I have tried to take him along to 4-h but first of all that means I have to make two trips there and home to get everyone there and when we are there we have to take all 3 horses except him into the arena to practice and I put him in a stall last time and he acted like he was going to bust the stall down being in there alone.  Any help?  Any suggestions?  Anything to put my mind at ease?  Because SFH is STRESSING me out!!!


  1. Can you leave him in a stall? Nothing more annoying that a herdbound SFH!! I hear ya!

  2. This is tough -- we have one that will literally (and calmly) walk through the fence if you leave him alone. But he is fine in a stall with hay.

    Does Steady have some hay to eat in the pasture/stall to keep him busy?

    If he doesn't care about that and still flips out, you will need to do some major herdboundedness work. I know it's horribly annoying. But him hurting himself is much worse. Have you tried searching forums like COTH for articles on herdbound horses? I don't have much experience with this one, sorry.

  3. Darned horses. Herd-bound-ness drives me insane. As long as your fencing is safe, I'd leave him with plenty of food and water and 'let him deal'. You can't take him and you can't leave someone with him.

  4. He is worse in a stall so that is not an option. I threw him hay the other night when we left it looked like he picked at it while we were gone. I didn't try throwing him hay yesterday. Not sure why I didn't think to try that, I think I was way too frazzled to think clearly.

    We have good fencing but I wouldn't put it past him to attempt to jump it or make a too late sliding stop.

    I do not know any tips about fixing herd bound problems. I will have to look into it.

    Thank you!

  5. Do you have any other critters at your place to keep Steady company - such as a goat?

    'Lucky' for us, our herd bound one is my daughter's TB and he always gets to go when we haul out.

    4-H :) We did this for 6 years. Don't know about your group, but we were always known as the crazy thoroughbred people!

  6. Boy, that would frazzle mee too...I get frazzled knowing mine runs when her pasture bud leaves for a ride duri8ng the week, I know becuase she gets mudd up into her nipple running and sliding stopping...but if she shes another horse she will calm. She "tied up" once when the barns trainer took all but her into the barn in a wind storm..she ran for hours and did not drink. it was serious and I had to call the vet.

    I use an herbal calmer "Springtime Inc." DOES take the edge off. you may try some natural downers -just for these times. And yes HAY..always something to CHEW on calms them...when the head is down the adrenilene is off!
    They are horse and they are herd oriented it is safety and security. I have tried for years to address this..and some are far more bound than others. Just make sure the fenceing is safe and sturdy and maybe do those other things...get a goat?Donkey?

    Hang in!

  7. It is called 'DAILY CALM" from the Co "Springtime Inc."

  8. Ok I love the idea to give him something to take the edge off. I will search high and low to try to find something locally for Saturday. We have goats but he could care less about them. I did think about borrowing one of my friends horses to keep there while we are gone but this would be a last resort. Since hauling 3 horses + all tack for said 3 horses + 5 kids 8 and younger = plenty of work for ME to not want to go pick up another horse at the beginning and take it home after. I will try the calming stuff and hay and see how that works.

  9. I don't like dealing with herd bound horses. I've never had one as difficult as Steady though. With mine as soon as we were out of sight they were fine. That must be so frustrating and stressful. Does he tie well? Can you tie him up outside of the pasture away from his buddies and just leave him there until he calms down (so he hopefully learns that throwing a fit does nothing, but standing calmly gets him put back)? I know tying helps teach patience, but it might work for this too. Like the others said you might try searching Google or forums because I haven't dealt with it to the extent you are.


Steady and I love your feedback, so don't be shy!