Horse napping away from home

Joined
27 January 2021
Messages
10
Location
Newcastle, UK
Hello!

I’ve been exercising a horse at my livery yard recently and it’s got a habit of napping away from horses and home. Has anyone ever dealt with this before or know what could be happening?

It makes no sense to me. The horse will hack out and then just decide that’s it, we’re turning round. The odd part though is we can be nearly home, the part where most horses start to speed up because they know we’re nearly back. She’ll also leave the other horses we’re out with who are her field buddies.

She’ll let you spin her back and carry on like nothing happened but I can’t decide what is making her do it? Does anyone have any ideas? If she was doing it to head home I’d understand the logic.

Thank you for any advice 😌
 

J&S

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 June 2012
Messages
1,928
Horses can find their way home from miles away, there has been research done on this, I have the book. Has she been recently acquired? It may be she is trying to get back to her old home?
I sold a pony to neighbours not far away and they rang me up a few days later asking if we had seen him. He had dumped his new rider quite close to home and dissapeared in the opposite direction to his new home. He would have known the way back to us but could not do it as there was a forest gate in the way. He was found a few days later grazing in the forest, still with his tack in tact. I am pleased to say he then found another home where he was much happier.
 
Joined
27 January 2021
Messages
10
Location
Newcastle, UK
Horses can find their way home from miles away, there has been research done on this, I have the book. Has she been recently acquired? It may be she is trying to get back to her old home?
I sold a pony to neighbours not far away and they rang me up a few days later asking if we had seen him. He had dumped his new rider quite close to home and dissapeared in the opposite direction to his new home. He would have known the way back to us but could not do it as there was a forest gate in the way. He was found a few days later grazing in the forest, still with his tack in tact. I am pleased to say he then found another home where he was much happier.
About 2 years she’s been in this home. She came from Ireland and then bought from a dealer.
She’s developed the habit while being here, probably in that last 6 months.
 

asmp

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Joined
13 March 2010
Messages
3,057
I would check the saddle fit. It may well be that something gets more and more uncomfortable with time, nothing to do with which way she is pointing.
This. One of ours started napping and it turned his saddle no longer fitted.
 

Smogul

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Joined
24 October 2009
Messages
316
Bored? I have had one horse who do that if she felt she hadn't been out for long enough. Really loved her hacking and hated to be short changed.
 
Joined
27 January 2021
Messages
10
Location
Newcastle, UK
So sometimes she does it 5 minutes away from home, sometimes it’s 5 minutes before we’re back. It’s all completely random and she gives no warning, before you can blink you’re walking the other direction!

Could be saddle fit if starts to hurt after some time depending on the day, but I’d expect her to keep doing it if she was in pain? But I have suggested it to the owner as something to check first.
 

vhf

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Joined
30 May 2007
Messages
1,216
Location
Cornwall
Given it's a mare, you can't rule out hormonal/ovary issues either, really. The weather has been so random anyone and their hormones could be forgiven for not knowing whether they are coming or going!
 

Birker2020

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2021
Messages
3,462
Hello!

I’ve been exercising a horse at my livery yard recently and it’s got a habit of napping away from horses and home. Has anyone ever dealt with this before or know what could be happening?

It makes no sense to me. The horse will hack out and then just decide that’s it, we’re turning round. The odd part though is we can be nearly home, the part where most horses start to speed up because they know we’re nearly back. She’ll also leave the other horses we’re out with who are her field buddies.

She’ll let you spin her back and carry on like nothing happened but I can’t decide what is making her do it? Does anyone have any ideas? If she was doing it to head home I’d understand the logic.

Thank you for any advice 😌
When my new horse started doing this three days after I had a friends saddle fitted to him by a saddle fitter i thought it was really weird as he knew we were heading home on the hours hack as we'd literally double backed on ourselves at a junction so why did he spin around to face in the opposite direction to home? Didn't walk off after the spin, just kind of stood there. It was really puzzling. I know he'd never done that hack before but he's not daft, they know the direction of home.

Turned out it was first indication of saddle issues - the saddle was pinching him.
 

Birker2020

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2021
Messages
3,462
Horses can find their way home from miles away, there has been research done on this,.
My Dad was the same. He used to drive all over the country with his job.

If he got a bit lost in an unfamiliar area he basically knew if he was heading in the correct direction due to whether the sun was in front of him or behind him having noted before he got lost I suppose where the sun was. I always used to find it fascinating. Same for animals of all species although they may use subtle signals like wind direction or sense of smell.
 
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