Class, How would you answer? "I have a 5 year old paint gelding that is very mellow. I took him to a show yesterday and did western pleasure and he did great. He was never on the muscle and was very responsive. However, he will not shut up. He winnies every time another horse winnied and it drove me insane. He has a very loud one too! How can I over come this problem"?

Greta Liubakka
Greta Liubakka
I took a clinic with Chris Cox last summer and did have this issue. My horse was very buddy sour with one of the horses that came with us. It WAS obnoxious! Chris and his assistant Clayton had me put him to work every time he winnied. I would laterally flex him and yield his hind quarters. Every time he yelled, I would yield him the other way. Eventually he gave up and paid more attention to me then worrying about the where the other horse was. I'm not sure how you would handle this in the show ring though... I guess work on it everywhere else.
Stephanie Porter Sieradzki
Stephanie Porter Sieradzki
Not a trainer, and don't profess to be, but my trainer effectively used this technique with my mare when she got herd-bound after an extended recovery from an injury. Patience training. Just take him to a show and tie him somewhere where he can't hurt himself. Make sure he's got water, but other than that LEAVE HIM ALONE (and tell others to leave him alone) for the duration of the show. If you can do this where you keep him, that would be good too. Lots of this type of exposure, and he'll get used to getting no response from his cries, and he'll get tired of it and chill out. If the behavior doesn't get the desired result (attention), then he'll eventually quit.

Trainer on Retainer by Randy Byers Horsemanship
This is a great question because it defies basic understanding of horsemanship. Let's talk concepts.

Let me explane. I do not have this problem and most well broke horses don't do this either. Just look at the top reining and dressage horses, you will not see this behavior. Do these top horses not have herd behavior? Of course they do, it is controlled.

When a horse goes into training, they develop a work ethic. I have noticed over the years that a lot of issues just go away with a well broke disciplined horse. Every horse that comes in to my barn is like this the first few days; then they stop this behavior..

The few shows that I have shown in, I did not have this issue because I made sure my horse was ready to be shown. I have seen this issue sometimes at the show, but not from the professional show trainer.

When I first started to train, I would have answered this question by saying make him work to take his mind off of the other horse and back on to you. That is still sound advice, but this question leads me to believe that this horse is disciplined and well trained.

If my assumption is correct we need to find a new fix. I have seen two things happen at a show. 1) An amateur goes from the stall to the ring without a warm up. 2) An amateur goes in the ring after a warm up time.

Why do we warm up our horses before a show? To get the bugs worked out before we get into the ring. Is winnieing a bug? Yes! The ring is not the place to school your horse, that is for warm up. If the horse was doing this in the ring, I would venture to say he was doing it in the warm up ring too. Now if the questioner warmed up her horse for 15 minutes, was that enough time to work out the bugs? No!

All good show trainers know each horse and knows exactly how long it takes to get the bugs worked out on each horse. I know a few show trainers that are up at 5am working their horses in the ring the day of the show. Some of those horses have a week's worth of training done in just the time spent in that warm up pen.

What is enough time? How long should you warm up a horse? What do you do in the warm up pen? The answer is as long as it takes. You work the horse until it is ready to show. This was a lesson to getting your horse prepared for the ring.

How long do you think it will take for a horse to stop talking? He will stop when he is back with his buddy or when he realizes it is not working for him. That will depend on your dedication not his..
P.S. Most of the time when someone says "Randy, I tried that, it doesn't work for me on my horses." Most of the time it is lack of tenacity and dedication to see it through and give it the time to see it through. It will work! Just work it through!

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