Problem Horse

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Anonymous

I recently acquired a beautiful 5 yr old mare. She is quite large (15.3). The problem is she is very aggressive toward people she doesn't know that are with me in the pasture. She will come at them with her head down and neck out. She also acts like she wants attention and will follow me anywhere and "nickers" to me but when I get near her she will turn her butt to me and put her ears down. Has never offered to kick or bite ME. But she has no respect for space e.g. she will not get out of your way. I will be breeding her to an extremely gentle stallion soon and he seems to pass this quality on to his foals. *fingers crossed*. I am a greenhorn when it comes to greenbroke (if only in attitude) horses. I think I might be the one who is a little afraid....we need to gain a "trust" for each other. Any advice? I am thinking she was either abused or extremely spoiled with her previous owner(s). I plan on keeping her as I think we can work this out. So any help would be appreciated.

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Anonymous

Hi! WOW! What breed is the mare? At 5, she should be settled down by now. Watch her carefully...when she turns her butt to you and lays ears back, anything (kick) might happen. Sounds like she would be a real problem on a trail ride or whatever around other horses/riders????

You have right idea on breeding her to a very docile stallion--can possibly expect up to 50% of his temperament passed to a foal.

If you don't already read it, check our John Lyon's monthly newsletter (very informative) and "The Perfect Horse" (his trademark publication, advice, concept).

In halter, can try "bending" her to you while gently pushing her hindquarters away from you/the bend. Teach her to respect your space, that you're Alpha and that putting her butt in your face is not acceptable.

P.S. John Lyons also has some excellent videos on managing, training, etc., as well as books.

As I'm sure you know, ears back are a definite "warning". Head down and/or bent, weight off one rear foot and ears upright or one directed to you is body language that the horse is listening, willing, and/or waiting for an instruction from you.
 
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Anonymous

Another thought, Kate. Also might sound like she is a dominant mare who has previously had her way as Alpha Mare. Yes, you need to establish mutual trust; also, to try to convince her that with the 2 of you, she is #2, you are #1. Any animal can sense fear, insecurity, uncertainty, etc., from a handler in your attitude and/or body language. Animals can "read" you exceptionally well, much better than people can read people.
 
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Anonymous

if a horse has no respect for your space, she won't be respecting you. So what you need to do is put her in her place, constantly. this isn't easy in the field, so don't go near her there yet. but when taking her out, make sure she doesn't move one step unless told to do so, punish her whenever she does do something she's not supposed to, like try to go past you or to one side. if she turns on you in the stables as well, just grab her by the halter, and make sure she doesn't get the chance to turn.

as soon as she recognises that you afre the boss, she'll generally stop doing this, although we had one horse that would kill anyone except me coming near it. it's always a gamble.

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Anonymous

> She is 1/2 arab 1/2 pinto. I am cautious but not submissive with her. I wish I had a round pen to work her in, I think I could get somewhere with her. I have a trainer set up for the spring after she is bred. Working with her "attitude". He wants me there for part of the training so he can work us together...I like that idea. Wish me luck.

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Anonymous

> After talking with the previous owner who talked with the first owner...she was pretty much trained and just left to be "boss". Her second owner had her secluded and alone so she wasn't aware of her behavior. I am determined that she will be a good horse. She has awesome potential.

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Anonymous

>I agree. I am very consistent with her especially when it is feeding time. She would rush me and try to shoo ME away. The first time I hollered and waved my arms and made weird loud noises and she kinda jumped back a few steps and looked at me like "what the heck????" LOL. It only took 2 times to make her realize she can't approach me unless I LET her. She is very smart just a real B. I think with a lot of handling/brushing etc...she will come out of it. Thanks so much for your advice and keep it comin. if a horse has no respect for your
> space, she won't be respecting
> you. So what you need to do is put
> her in her place, constantly. this
> isn't easy in the field, so don't
> go near her there yet. but when
> taking her out, make sure she
> doesn't move one step unless told
> to do so, punish her whenever she
> does do something she's not
> supposed to, like try to go past
> you or to one side. if she turns
> on you in the stables as well,
> just grab her by the halter, and
> make sure she doesn't get the
> chance to turn.

> as soon as she recognises that you
> afre the boss, she'll generally
> stop doing this, although we had
> one horse that would kill anyone
> except me coming near it. it's
> always a gamble.

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Anonymous

Excellent move to arrange for a trainer to work with her, especially since the trainer wants you as part of the effort.

You say she hasn't "offered to kick," but, in my experience, turning her butt to you and laying back her ears are threats to your safety. She is telling you she is willing, at that moment, to attack you if you do not give to her threats. A horse that displays such behavior is not simply trying to ignore or avoid you. That horse is using threatening posture to try and intimidate you.

I disagree with the advice to try and handle her yourself at this point. If you do not have advanced experience with training, I would advise you to keep your distance or, at least carefully use safety measures, until the trainer works with her. I am seriously concerned for your safety.

You are correct in wanting to round pen her. Correct round pen handling is how you will utilize her instincts and remind her to give to you.

A horse that threatens needs to be instantaneously reprimanded, and I'm sure your trainer can teach you how to do this safely.

We have a new yearling at our place who generally has a great disposition, as does her sire. I watched my spouse in the pen with her one day and on three occasions she would paw the ground as he approached her, and the pawing, when not stopped, led to a lashing out with front feet. She was feeling pressured, but that was no excuse for dangerous behavior. My spouse did not immediately pick up on the fact this filly was starting a dangerous habit. I am definitely no horse trainer, but I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done from friends who are trainers. I changed places with my spouse, and calmly approached her, talking quietly to her. She pawed the ground once, and I scolded her. She pawed again, and I could see she was shifting her weight off of her front feet. Well, I had a lounge whip held behind my leg, and I instantly threw up my arms, yelled at her, and hit her once on the butt with the whip. I then worked her in the round pen a bit and she has never offered to do the pawing and rearing since. I did run how I had handled the episode by my horse trainer friends and they agreed it was handled correctly.

Your horse cannot begin to learn to trust you unless she KNOWS you are the boss in the herd. She will learn that through the work the trainer does with her. The trainer can also advise you on his or her opinion of the odds of this horse learning to respect your space. Some adult horses were never taught to respect human space as babies, and some never become safe horses as adults.

I admire you for thinking this through and for seeking expert advice. Make sure strangers do not have access to your horse until the trainer has worked with her and given you an opinion. Good luck to you. I hope you find a solution and go on to have many beautiful babies. Please let us know how it goes, ok?
 
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Anonymous

> Don't worry for my safety, I am well aware of her "antics" and I think I will start carrying a lunge whip with me also so when the butt turning starts I can quickly correct it. She has more respect for me than my husband, he will just get out of her way rather than raise a stink...I stay a safe distance away in this situation and don't put myself in harms (hoofs) way. She leads like a dream and lunges like a dream but when she is loose she is aggressive. I sure do appreciate your advice. All of you. Reading personal experiences and what works is the best way to learn other than watching. I am going to get some of the Lyons tapes on this.

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Anonymous

I'm glad you are on top of the safety issue.

Just sitting here thinking. You probably lunge her on a lunge rope or lead, right? If so, I think you will see a difference once she is worked loose in a round pen. At least, I hope you will.

We have, over the past couple of years, pretty well gotten out of the cattle busines. We are now "wasting" our money on a few horses. We've always had horses to ride for pleasure and to work cattle, but now have a couple of mares and more horses than two old folks need.

When I saw which direction our horse population was going, I insisted on buying a round pen. We actually had accumulate the round pen panel by panel - just bought the panels as we could afford to. We now have about a 25 foot diameter round pen, which is barely adequate, but workable. Two more panels and we'll have the size I want. The round pen has unbelievably simplified my life. If a horse is acting up just a bit, or isn't focused, I can put it in the pen for 10 minutes and life is so much nicer. Well worth the money & sweat to earn the money!!

I was talking with our horse trainer friends' 12 year old son about round pens the other day. I told him I sometimes have to remind my husband not to store hay or otherwise utilize the round pen for any reason other than working a horse. He laughed and said, "My mom won't let us put ANYTHING in the round pen, except a guest's horse for a short time. She wants it available to use whenever she needs it."

I hope you can get your round pen one of these days. You will love it! Meanwhile, it's worth it to do what we did for several years - load up the horse and drive to where there is a round pen available to use. Knowing how difficult it can be to not have a round pen, we have told all of our close horse owning friends they are welcome to use ours anytime.
 
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Anonymous

Linda has spoken very true about the round pen. You can go clear back to the ground work with your horsr and build a new relationship. Anothe trainer to check out is Clinton Anderson. There are several equine trainers on the DISH satelite network on channel RFD TV. redd
> I'm glad you are on top of the
> safety issue.

> Just sitting here thinking. You
> probably lunge her on a lunge rope
> or lead, right? If so, I think you
> will see a difference once she is
> worked loose in a round pen. At
> least, I hope you will.

> We have, over the past couple of
> years, pretty well gotten out of
> the cattle busines. We are now
> "wasting" our money on a
> few horses. We've always had
> horses to ride for pleasure and to
> work cattle, but now have a couple
> of mares and more horses than two
> old folks need.

> When I saw which direction our
> horse population was going, I
> insisted on buying a round pen. We
> actually had accumulate the round
> pen panel by panel - just bought
> the panels as we could afford to.
> We now have about a 25 foot
> diameter round pen, which is
> barely adequate, but workable. Two
> more panels and we'll have the
> size I want. The round pen has
> unbelievably simplified my life.
> If a horse is acting up just a
> bit, or isn't focused, I can put
> it in the pen for 10 minutes and
> life is so much nicer. Well worth
> the money & sweat to earn the
> money!!

> I was talking with our horse
> trainer friends' 12 year old son
> about round pens the other day. I
> told him I sometimes have to
> remind my husband not to store hay
> or otherwise utilize the round pen
> for any reason other than working
> a horse. He laughed and said,
> "My mom won't let us put
> ANYTHING in the round pen, except
> a guest's horse for a short time.
> She wants it available to use
> whenever she needs it."

> I hope you can get your round pen
> one of these days. You will love
> it! Meanwhile, it's worth it to do
> what we did for several years -
> load up the horse and drive to
> where there is a round pen
> available to use. Knowing how
> difficult it can be to not have a
> round pen, we have told all of our
> close horse owning friends they
> are welcome to use ours anytime.

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Anonymous

I just looked at this and I don't have a lot of time right now but I did catch something you said I wanted to commet on. You should be there all the time someone is working with your horse.

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Anonymous

> Although I somewhat agree with you...if I had time to be at the trainers facility every moment he is working with my horse, I wouldn't need a trainer. He just wants me there as often as possible to assure I know what and how he is training her. She basically needs a lot of time under saddle and I think he will be doing a lot of trail riding with her. I have been working with her a lot the past few days on "touching" and "giving" to my authority and she is doing great. She wants attention but she still wants to be "alpha" and last nite just one snip of the whip when she turned her butt to me helped ALOT....about 30 minutes later when I went out to spend some time with her, there was headlowering and licking going on (on her part not mine...ha ha). And we did a lot of touch....walkaway...touch...walkaway, etc...and she seemed to get better and better with every "touch". I think she will come along fine. as soon as I get a nice weekend I will ride. It is dark when I get home from work and the weekends have been awful. I think she really is a "wooosy" but just had a bluff on me for a "moment". Keep the suggestions coming..I am learning A LOT!

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Anonymous

I'm really glad to read you are making progress with your mare. I know what you mean about it being too dark to ride when you get home from work, but it sounds like you are working well with her.

Another idea my trainer friends taught me this past year.

Something you can do as groundwork while the days are still short is to work on having your mare give to pressure. Work on having her lower her head to poll pressure and release.

I was doing that with an untrained mare we bought this past fall, but I only had her lower her head to the normal bridling position. My friend showed me to continue the work until the mare progressed to the point where she would lower her head to the ground. This made a difference in the submissiveness of the mare.

Now, here is the really important lesson my friend taught me. When turning the horse out, ie, removing the halter, make sure you have the horse out in the open, so you are not unexpectedly trapped between the horse and a gate or fence. Have the horse lower her head, talk soothingly to her, slowly & steadily remove the halter, with your arm over her neck, scratching her and petting her with your fingers. DO NOT let her leave! Keep your arm over her neck, do poll pressure and release as needed to get her to lower her head and relax. Don't let her throw her head up and take off. Hang on if she starts to do so and she will most likely stop within a step or two. Remember to scold or praise when appropriate.

With your other hand, gently but firmly place pressure above her nose and release pressure as she gives and flexes her neck and head. If the horse merely lowers her head, but does not flex her neck, giving to your hand on her nose, she is NOT being submissive to you and is not recognizing you as her "leader."

Once the horse has her head lowered, AND her neck flexed, and is visibly relaxed, quietly step away and release her and she will either stand there licking or she will very quietly walk away.

My friend learned to do this after she released a horse near the gate in a pasture "the old fashioned way" and the horse kicked her in the nose as it whirled and ran off.

It's kind of along the theory of when you are backing a horse you don't let the horse stop backing until you see that little dip of the head. Merely backing is doing what you ask; the dip of the head indicates submissiveness. Merely lowering her head is doing what you ask; flexing her neck is showing submissiveness.

Hope this helps! It's sure made a difference for me.
 
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Anonymous

Hi, I hope I'm posting this right, the last one didn't work. I have a mare that sounds exactly like yours, mine is 5yrs. also, a Morab cross. I am a newbie and didn't recognize the warnings she sent me(ears back, tail swishing), until to late one night. I patted her on the neck, she put her ears flat to her head, and as I walked off to the side, away from her, turned her butt end to me and let me have it. I am now working with a trainer with her. Good luck and be very careful.

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Anonymous

> I recently acquired a beautiful 5
> yr old mare. She is quite large
> (15.3). The problem is she is very
> aggressive toward people she
> doesn't know that are with me in
> the pasture. She will come at them
> with her head down and neck out.
> She also acts like she wants
> attention and will follow me
> anywhere and "nickers"
> to me but when I get near her she
> will turn her butt to me and put
> her ears down. Has never offered
> to kick or bite ME. But she has no
> respect for space e.g. she will
> not get out of your way. I will be
> breeding her to an extremely
> gentle stallion soon and he seems
> to pass this quality on to his
> foals. *fingers crossed*. I am a
> greenhorn when it comes to
> greenbroke (if only in attitude)
> horses. I think I might be the one
> who is a little afraid....we need
> to gain a "trust" for
> each other. Any advice? I am
> thinking she was either abused or
> extremely spoiled with her
> previous owner(s). I plan on
> keeping her as I think we can work
> this out. So any help would be
> appreciated. Kate, About the breeding of this mare...The problems you have with her now must be cured befor she foals.From experence, mares that are like yours will be over protective after foaling. There will be no way of you tending to the foal after its born. She won't let you in the same stall with her. Another thing she could be a rejector and not let the foal nurse or even worse.Mares like this are very dangerious to people when they have a foal at side. I know I sound very doom and gloom and even a little nutty to some that have no experence with mares and foals. These are facts based on the calls that my wife gets through her Nursemare service.This does happen. Just be very careful and expect the worse after she foals. Also try the Clint Anderson tapes, Down under training. Sorry to be so direct.

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