That’s an interesting choice of words, since when most people use this expression, they mean that the horse doesn’t want to leave home – so maybe we should call them “barn sweet” horses instead.
Pat Parelli had a technique for this that worked – ride them round and round the barn with more energy – maybe a trot or even a canter – and then as you change that and head away from the barn, sit softly and quietly at the walk.
The idea is that being around the barn is hard work and leaving the barn is easy and feels much better.
The trouble with this technique and all the others like it, is that it does not address WHY the horse doesn’t want to leave home in the first place.
And THAT reason, the cause of them not wanting to leave the barn, what your horse is trying to tell you by not wanting to leave the barn – could just be the most important part of your relationship swinging in the wind and not being listened to – a major lost opportunity to fix whatever that is and increase your bond with your horse.
So my answer to this problem would be quite different and it would depend very much on what the cause behind the behavior was.
Now, chill out before you read the next bit, hey. I don’t bring a problem to your attention without giving you the solution too.
The cause of a horse not wanting to leave home – could be anything from separation anxiety, to pain caused by a saddle not fitting properly, to a riding issue, some kind of issue with a bit, a sore back. The list of possibilities is as long as your arm and all fixable.
You can summarise that list by saying that what happens away from the barn is most likely to be unpleasant or uncomfortable or maybe even painful for them.
One thing absolutely set in cement, is that they are not being naughty horses who don’t want to do what they are told.
They could even be a Caretaker horse who is just trying to look after you – there is a whole lesson devoted to these wonderful horses in my FREE LESSONS that there’s a link to below.
Your first step is to connect with your horse and figure out what the real cause is behind the behavior.
The first of those free lessons is a lesson about connection and communication and where you can start understanding what’s going on Actually five of those lessons probably all contain information that will help you to understand why your individual horse doesn’t want to leave home, so that you can fix it.
I am smiling here. I had someone say to me once “I don’t want to know. I am worried that I won’t like the answer.” Well that I can’t help you with – except to say that listening to my horse has allowed us to both become the best that we can be – and that best, even all these years later, is constantly getting even better because of the communication between us.
Your relationship and what you can do with your horse can keep getting better and better too…