Ride where you can, not where you can’t. If you and your horse are in a high pressure situation, don’t continue to fight a losing battle.

We all know that you have to work with a horse at his current level. But that doesn’t just mean his physical level. It applies to his current mental condition as well.

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Example Of Riding Where You Can

During the lunch break at a recent clinic, the horses and riders began leaving the arena. Joe’s horse got antsy about the fact that he was getting left behind. Joe recognized that as something to work on. So he started trying to get his horse to hold back and wait. 

The problem was that the horse continued to get more and more bothered. His instinct of needing to leave with the other horses caused him to shut Joe out. It got to a point where Joe was fighting a battle he couldn’t win.

There may be times in a high pressure situation when a horse gets too mentally lost, and you don’t stand a chance of helping him. This was one of those times for Joe’s horse.

I was walking out of the arena at the same time, so I told him to just follow me and go ahead and let the horse go back towards his stall. When Joe allowed him to walk toward the stall, he could loosen his reins and the horse settled.

After The Horse Settled

Once the horse got back close to where he wanted to be, his mind came back a little. Then Joe could begin working him at the stall where the other horses were to present the idea of willingly leaving that area. Buddy or barn sour is actually one of the easiest problems there is to fix. But only when you understand using the correct approach with good timing.

Learn How To Fix A Buddy Sour Horse

Ride Where You Can On The Trail

Another situation would be if you’re out on the trail and the other horses leave yours behind. So you start trying to hold yours back. If the horse is only slightly bothered, you may be able to redirect his energy and get him okay about it. But if your horse is losing his mind, trying to keep him in the back of the group may become very dangerous. So the best thing to do would be allow your horse to hook on to the other horses and get through the day.

Don’t Fail To Work On The Problem

When you get home, work on getting and keeping his attention. Fix the magnets he has that draw him to other horses. Build his confidence in general by making him more sure that you are a leader he can safely follow.

When all that is in place, you’ll have a much higher chance of keeping him with you, both mentally and physically, any time the other horses take off.

Listen to the Podcast on this topic.

Ride Where You Can So You Can Ride Where You Can’t

So remember that there may be times when what you are trying to do doesn’t fit. And if the situation isn’t fitting, wait for a more opportune time.

But don’t use that as a crutch or settle for “that’s just the way this horse is”. Be the leader he needs to help him overcome and excel.

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Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.