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Horse panics when he can't see herd

I have a 7 year old gelding which I haven't rode for 1 year due to a relocation and business. Now I want to start riding him again. He has always had a light front end. He has reared a number of times with me on him. I saddled him up the other day, rode him in the round pen where he could see the other horses, and when I took him out and was about to lead him out the gate, he panicked because he couldn't see the other horses. He reared up so high his front legs were over the gate- trying to break loose of the tie rope. How can I help him to separate himself from the others? I have no barn yet. Just pasture. Would it be a good idea to pasture him in the 60 foot round pen for awhile each day? I am sure the other horses (3) would be out of sight for the most part. I'm afraid he will hurt someone or himself. Is this something that can be fixed, or am I destined to always ride him with another horse?

Any advice is appreciated.

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your question. Herd bound behavior is very common as horses are so social and relationship orientated. Perhaps he has become a bit more insecure do to your not being around for quite a while. I would gradually get him used to you again and the 'trails'. You'll want to spend a lot of time with him doing ground exercises and ground play. He needs to know you are there for him and really back. It is not up to him, it is all up to you to get him 'right' again. Please spend lots of time with him on the ground before you ride him. Walk him away from his friends and hang with him and do ground games. It is his relationship with you that will get him over his herd bound tendencies. There is no quick fix. It is all about time and patience. When you are with him you need to keep him occupied and doing things like circles, leading, backing, side passes, sending him in and out of places and whatever else you can think of. You need to lead the dance with him again and do it with consciousness and intent. This is what will get him over his insecurities and reluctance to move forward.

Please keep me posted. I am interested. Thanks again for your question.

I hope I have been able to help.

Aloha, Franklin

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