Wranglin’ Wednesdays – Sour Horses

Dude Ranch Horses in Pasture

Hey readers! Hope you’re having a good week, filled with plenty of horsey goodness.

Today, I want to talk about why the terms “buddy sour” or “herd sour” are ridiculous words coined by the traditional equestrian world. If you’re particularly attached to those phrases, now might be a good time not to be.

For those of you who aren’t sure what herd sour means, it’s just a term to describe a horse that’s anxious and distracted when he’s away from his pasture mates, and the term buddy sour typically applies to horses that are “clingy” when being ridden around other horses, who stick close to the other animals and get upset when they’re made to move too far away from them. Ugh, those stupid horses, always causing problems!

Or are they?

What are the two words we, as humans, need to learn to recognize horses as? Herd animals. Their behavior depends entirely on their gregarious instinct, even when they’re with humans. Remember back to last week, when we talked about disrespect and dominance? Yes, that’s a horse seeing you as a “lower” horse, and trying to take charge of you, which you shouldn’t let happen.

So, what’s that got to do with being clingy, or getting upset when removed from the herd environment? Everything! This “bad” behavior is just the horse being a horse, and he shouldn’t be punished for it, instead, you should focus on making your horse pay attention to you, because you are the higher horse in your little herd for two now. Working on establishing respect on the ground is the key to this, and if you work hard enough, eventually, you won’t have to try very hard at all to get your horse to realize that he needs to focus. I have a feeling I’ll be saying this quite a bit over the course of my blogging with Black Mountain Ranch, but you can’t learn about your horse if you don’t spend time with him! Does he get unmanageable and stubborn when you take him away from the herd, or does he just not give one single care? Every horse is different in the way they react, because they’ve each been trained differently, and it’s up to you to get your horse to unlearn that behavior, or to continue it.

So the next time your horse acts like, well, a butthead when you take him away from the pasture, realize that he’s not doing it to make you angry, or to hurt you, or whatever, he just wants to go back to his friends!

This isn’t a long post, but it’s certainly an important one. There are so many little nuances to the way horses behave, that it’s difficult to cover them, so I’m relegated to cover the basics, and hope all my great readers understand the kind of things I’m talking about.

In some not-horse-related news: I’M MOVING! That’s right, I’m packing up my meager belongings and making a trek across the country, from my lovely home in Kansas, to live in central-eastern Pennsylvania. It’s a little daunting, a country bumpkin like me moving east, but I’ll be living with a good friend, so it won’t be so bad.

I look forward to seein’ you next Wednesday, my lovely readers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/celuse Sonny Ali Chavez VB

    My horses are so attached to each other. This was a good read. thank you.