Horse will not take the lead in a group(she used to last summer) - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 6 Old 06-04-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Horse will not take the lead in a group(she used to last summer)

I got Flash(14yr old appy mare) in May 2012, she's a former barrell racer. All last summer she was GREAT. I could make her do anything and go anywhere, I could take her out for a ride without our other horse Abbey(8yr old morgan/quater mix mare), and she would ALWAYS lead. Through the winter we really didn't ride, we got them saddled up in march and they were 'ornery' to say the least, barn spoiled, spooky etc,,,which I expected w/ march mares after not riding all winter. Anyhow, it's June now and she still has the same horrible habits, and it's getting worse. She will NOT take the lead. I try to get her out in front of Abbey and she rears/kicks and "barrell' cuts around to get right behind into Abbey's butt. I don't know if she is scared or what, her ears are usually back, but not pinned, she almost seems stubborn. The same behavior is exhibited when I try to get going out on our own, she basically runs in circles and rears/bucks and runs right back to the gate, she wont leave. I have walked her out of sight of the other horse/barn etc, mounted, and had her full out gallop/buck back to the barn. I have lunged her before riding, I even tried some of clinton anderson's groundwork to engage her feet and get her focused on me, some of this work did help, I can lift all four feet without her moving and I can mount and dismount with her staying still, which she never did. But the riding is AWFUL. The only way we ride is up abbey's butt and it's no fun and I don't think abbey likes it either.

Last edited by emilye1224; 06-04-2013 at 11:06 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-05-2013, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by emilye1224 View Post
i got Flash(14yr old appy mare) in May 2012, she's a former barrell racer. All last summer she was GREAT. I could make her do anything and go anywhere, I could take her out for a ride without our other horse Abbey(8yr old morgan/quater mix mare), and she would ALWAYS lead. Through the winter we really didn't ride, we got them saddled up in march and they were 'ornery' to say the least, barn spoiled, spooky etc,,,which I expected w/ march mares after not riding all winter. Anyhow, it's June now and she still has the same horrible habits, and it's getting worse. She will NOT take the lead. I try to get her out in front of Abbey and she rears/kicks and "barrell' cuts around to get right behind into Abbey's butt. I don't know if she is scared or what, her ears are usually back, but not pinned, she almost seems stubborn. The same behavior is exhibited when I try to get going out on our own, she basically runs in circles and rears/bucks and runs right back to the gate, she wont leave. I have walked her out of sight of the other horse/barn etc, mounted, and had her full out gallop/buck back to the barn. I have lunged her before riding, I even tried some of clinton anderson's groundwork to engage her feet and get her focused on me, some of this work did help, I can lift all four feet without her moving and I can mount and dismount with her staying still, which she never did. But the riding is AWFUL. The only way we ride is up abbey's butt and it's no fun and I don't think abbey likes it either.
I follow Clinton Anderson's methods and if you did enough ground work with her I think your problem would disappear. My mare is usually testy in the spring too but after a reminder in the round pen with ground work she behaves herself. If you are lunging, do you do a lot of changing directions? Do lots to keep her attention on you, so she doesn't have time to worry about anything else but what you are doing.....

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-05-2013, 01:39 AM
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I totally agree with Thunderspark... I always start the Spring out with a lot of lunging and ground work to get my mare thinking again. It also helps get the jitters out. After lunging I will ride a couple times in the arena and then I will go out on the trail and she does great. However if I was to just head straight out on the trail (as I have tried and have learned my lesson) she is totally different and acted a lot like what you explained trying to buck and turn back. When lunging I can totally tell her attitude that day also and when she is ready. I have to lunge before every ride because my mare tends to poof her belly out for the cinch. But I think lunging first can solve a lot of problems.. you would be smart to try it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-05-2013, 08:44 AM
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Over the winter the herd dynamics changed. You are trying to force her into a position she is not longer comfortable with. It seems the other mare has become more dominant than your mare. You can try and work her thro it or ride a horse that's much happier to follow.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-05-2013, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Over the winter the herd dynamics changed. You are trying to force her into a position she is not longer comfortable with. It seems the other mare has become more dominant than your mare. You can try and work her thro it or ride a horse that's much happier to follow.
this seems likely, but in my oppinion she should veiw you as leader, and accept your direction. I ride all members of a large herd, from the alpha mare to the most submissive underling, and they all, without exception, can ride out alone, in the front, middle or back on the trail.

She doesnt trust you, and beleives you are putting her in danger would be my guess. You need to go back to your CA groundwork, and start riding only when she is fantastic on the ground. Take baby steps under saddle, working her at first in a small area, where she feels safe. Work up gradually to further and further away.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-05-2013, 03:43 PM
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She has learned that you aren't her boss, and showing it pretty well too.

And all the ground work in the world will not help, if when push comes to shove you are not her boss from the saddle.

Horses make me a better person.
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