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Buddy sour horses
Hi all It has been a while since I posted but I continue to read. I am hoping someone can help me with this.

I have 2 horses and a pony. My horse Mac(10yrs old) has been around since birth, Amigo (19 yrs old) I purchased 3 yrs ago as a been there done that horse for my son and last Nov we entered into a free lease on a pony (Apollo - Po for short)for my son who is in pony club.

Mac was the lone horse since he was a yearling, although we did board him out a couple of times due to lack of room over the winter (cows took precedence). Mac is pastured with Amigo, the pony is kept in a separate adjacent paddock but they all get turned out together once or twice a week for a few hours. The pony appears to rule over the two horses and Mac is over Amigo.

Mac is ok to leave his buddies for a trail ride,he is eager to return but is manageable. Amigo doesn't get used at all - no one to ride him as son prefers Po. Amigo runs the fence line calling whenever Mac leaves even with Po next door. Take them both away he is a sweaty mess when we return.

Po is fine when we take him away to ride him on or off property. Turn him out in a paddock with the horses out of sight or leave him in the barn and he calls and runs around.

Newest issue occurred yesterday. We took Po and Mac to a mounted games competition, similar to PPG. First time we've taken them off property together. My son and I were a team of two. Basically you have a field with the games run in lanes. The first team member heads down the field completes the required task returns and the second member goes. Mac wouldn't quit calling to Po. Po didn't want to leave his side and head up the field - son tried hard but was getting frustrated. When they did get going and Mac would call it totally threw off Po's attention to the task at hand. Mac and I would go first and my son would have a heck of a time keeping Po behind the start line as he wanted to follow. Luckily we had a friend there that was willing to help on the ground.

Now Po we take to PPG practices once a week off property - he has no problem doing the games heading down the field away from the other ponies, he is fine being schooled at home etc. My son has had no issues controlling him - he is very well trained - until yesterday.

His owner did indicate that they learned not to pasture Po (he was an eventing and dressage pony in his previous life)with other horses that were going to competitions with him. Makes it difficult when we only have three horses and limited paddocks.

I would welcome any suggestions to fix this - do we go cold turkey and just start putting them out of sight of each other during the day? Do you think they will settle after a few days and realize that this is now routine? Any suggestions if we attend a similar event in the future?

I don't have a solution to offer, just an obeservation that this was apparently a new situation for both horses, and that they reacted accordingly. I'm wondering if it might not be just a matter of taking them out together a few more times, and they will get more used to it?

I don't have any great suggestions other than what EZ has posted. One strategy may be to do some trailering to a friends place with them both and re-create the show atmosphere to work on the problem. When the horses start to call to each other you need to find a method to re-direct their attention back to the rider and also a method to apply some negative reinforcement, such as making them work (some small tight circles) or a good smack with a riding crop or perhaps getting off and making them work on a longe line. Experiment a bit and find what works. Ideally you would practise this negative reinforcement enough that just the threat of it at the show would work.

Good luck and let us know how you do.
Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

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