Pepper watching pasture horses in the background

The Secret Ingredient: Managing the Herd-Bound Horse

While herd-bound behavior is a constant presence with horses, with proper training and handling, it is completely manageable. All horses are prone to becoming herd-bound, yet most riding horses have learned to cope. It’s not an affliction of the horse—it’s normal behavior. When herd-bound behavior becomes a problem, it

Cultivating a Connection with Horses

…capable herd leader. In a horse herd, the Alpha may be male or female, and their responsibilities are to protect the herd, motivate the herd to flight, should it be necessary, to maintain law and order in the herd, and to budget time for the herd to eat, drink and… Logo

The Herd Bound Horse

…have more tendency to be herd-bound, but some of the worst cases I’ve seen were geldings.

Of all the horses we have, my horse, Dually, is the most prone to being herd bound—he’s a very friendly, gregarious horse and needs companionship. Fortunately he’ll settle for any kind of companionship…

What’s the Temperature of Your Horse’s Temperament?

…leave. However, many, if not most horses, can have complete meltdowns when separated or left behind. In general, younger horses are less herd-bound and middle-aged horses are the worst—but even amongst a bunch of younger horses, most of them will be very dependent on, and drawn to, the herd Logo

Building A Better Relationship: New Horse Has Become Herd Bound

…the pen without him getting very upset. Do you have any suggestions? Jennifer

Answer: It is not at all unusual for horses to become more herd bound through the winter, especially if they are turned out with the herd all winter and perhaps living in a more “natural” herd

July 2022 Horse Report

…to take her out alone, so she also remembers that she doesn’t have to be with the herd every waking moment. Dealing with herd-bound issues only gets harder when horses reach middle age, so we must work harder at keeping the horses independent. You cannot ignore horses for weeks on…

Woodrow Rearing

Back From the Brink: Managing Emotional Meltdowns in Horses

No doubt about it—horses are emotional animals; perhaps more emotional than humans. As prey and herd animals, horses are programmed to adopt the emotions of the animals around them (herd mentality) and react appropriately. It is a life and

Julie working with a horse on a leadline

Plugging the Holes in Your Horse’s Training

…fix it and move forward.

Does the horse have the skills he needs, but lacks the “life skills” that come with experience traveling to and performing at new places? Maybe your horse has anxiety or herd-bound issues that lead to mental/emotional meltdowns? All the training for physical skills and maneuvers…

Truth and Julie running over ground poles.

August 2021 Horse Report

…more herd-bound. We have to diligently separate her from the geldings and make sure she focuses on the job at hand—not the other horses.

As long as we keep this part of her daily routine, she does well. If we left her in the herd for weeks on end,…

Truth Julie Ground Tying

Helping Horses, One Foster at a Time

I’m pretty sure no one loves horses more than I do, but I know a lot of you who love them just as much. We’ve cultivated a small herd of great riding horses, plus one or two geriatrics living out Logo

My Horse Is Herd-Bound And Barn Sour

…steps to take to make your horse want to be part of your herd–willing to go with you anywhere.

The Reason Horses are herd-bound animals. The behavior known as gregarious—defining animals who live in groups and have a specific social order. A herd-bound tendency is one of seven… Logo

Issues From The Saddle: Distracted Herd-Bound Horse

…Do not let him come back to the “herd” until he is quiet, obedient and relaxed. Take him away and put him to work as soon as he becomes distracted again.

From the incidents you describe and the herd-bound behavior you are dealing with, it sounds like your horse… Logo

Preventing Herd-Bound Behavior

…Yet, even though gregarious behavior is instinctive in horses, somehow we speak of it as if it is an affliction. Barn-sour, gate-sour, buddy-sour, herd-bound, spoiled and even ruined. Horses are instinctively drawn to the herd; it’s up to us to provide the training and leadership the horse needs to transfer…

Julie's herd

Horses Living Alone

…get great comfort and security from the herd and they are very tactile animals—rubbing and massaging each other, nipping and biting, providing shade and tail swishing to each other.

Their herd behaviors are very distinctive and the structure of the herd is quite complex—rankings within the herd, cooperative behavior,… Logo

Horses In Confinement

…do not become too herd bound. In fact, you’ll probably want to find opportunities to separate the all horses at various times so that they learn to be calm and independent away from the herd and are easier ride out.

Good luck with your new herd! Julie Logo

3 Leadership Activities

…horse will leave with you only if he thinks you can give him safety, security, and comfort. You have to be a herd of two.”

If your horse doesn’t feel safe with you, he might become herd-bound, barn sour, buddy sour, and even appear to forget his training. Logo

Horse Turns Toward Gate And Stops Working

…your horse to work steadily around the arena and leave the barn at the same pace he returns. Soon you’ll have a steady horse that acts like a champ and respects your authority.

The Reason Gate gravity is actually herd gravity; it’s a horse’s nature to be herd-bound—staying safe… Logo

Building A Better Relationship: Women’s Connection With Horses

…I found camaraderie with the herd. While my parents were concerned that I never seemed to talk much, the dialogue with my herd mates was never-ending. My infatuation turned to a lifetime passion.

It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to question where my connection…

View from behind horse's ears of treed hills and mountain range.

The Making of a Trail Horse, Part 3

…in the company of other horses, I need my horse to trust me enough to go out alone—whether that be for a short jaunt away from the group or going on a long ride alone. There are two important factors here: one is that my horse is not herd-bound and… Logo

Ground-Work Exercises

…time you’re near him.”

How long does it take a horse to be turned out and become part of the big herd instead of part of your horse-and-human herd of two?

Goodnight says that as horses approach middle age, they may become more herd-bound, but individual horses react… Logo

Extended Trot Instead Of Canter Cue

…common reasons for the behavior. Either the horse doesn’t want to be there and is herd bound—he looks outside, kicks out and carries on to show you that he really wants to get back to his herd. It’s also possible that before you got this horse, someone inadvertently trained him… Logo

Building A Better Relationship: Goodnight Training Works!

Question Category: Building a Better Relationship

Question: Dear Julie,

Some months ago I wrote you about my horse being herd bound and becoming quite fractious on the trail.Your advice was basically that he was not fully trained– that was your short version. I took your advice and Logo

Leadership And Authority

herd animals, horses instinctively recognize authority, given the hierarchy that exists in the herd. There is never a void of leadership in a horse herd. If the leader of the herd were suddenly struck dead by lightning, another horse would immediately step up and take over as the leader. In… Logo

Winter Workouts – Ride Right With Julie Goodnight

herd instead of part of your horse-and-human herd of two? Goodnight says that as horses approach middle age, they may become more herd-bound, but individual horses react differently with more or less time away from work.

Groundwork done well all year long can help you keep your horse looking…

Episode 618 – Jiggin And Jaggin

Jiggin and Jaggin: Julie Goodnight helps a herd-bound trail horse learns she must behave on the trail and follow her rider’s leadership Logo

Riding Bridleless (Without a Bridle or Bit)

…he cuts corners or veers off-course, pulls toward the barn or is herd bound or if he is simply is so green that he doesn’t understand cues and basic obedience, you will be spending a long, long time at this phase.

c) What is obedience? A well trained and…

Pepper walking in the snow between two tree branches.

Winter “Whoas”

…visit your horse and remind him of your relationship. Here in Colorado, some people hardly touch their horses all winter and by Spring, the horses are incredibly herd-bound. Getting your horse out, separating him from the herd and reminding him who you are, will help a lot. Horses are mutually-grooming… Logo

Riding With Awareness

…quite clever this way—extremely adept at manipulating people, who often have no idea they are even being manipulated.

Being aware of the horse’s level of obedience and his motivations for disobedience (maybe lazy, maybe herd-bound, seeking comfort or scared and seeking security), is especially important when riding a well-trained…

Horse Master TV Subjects

…work of all the crew.

We had a great variety of subjects to filmBarbara, with a giant forward moving TB that she couldn’t stop; Andrea, with an OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) who she was hoping to convert into a family horse; Mika, with a herd-bound QH mare that threw… Logo

Issues From The Ground: 2 Y/O Gelding Acting Aggressively

…and is bound to have rebellious moments, I feel that this behavior goes way beyond the scope of “normal rebellion”.

In the first rear and strike incident, the barn worker was petting his face and then went to adjust his halter that had slipped over his ear. Thankfully his…