I don't know what to do, I don't want to lose her - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Location: England
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I don't know what to do, I don't want to lose her

Recently my 14hh mare Bonnie, has been pulling away and galloping off when I bring her in from the field. She does it on random days, and there is no pattern in weather, or her being in heat or anything when she does it. Our only idea is that she's bored, and is taking advantage of me. I'm not very strong, so I cant stop her when she decides to go. We've tried everything, a controlling headcollar, giving her calming supplements, putting the lead round her nose, taking loads of food to distract her, none of them seem to stop her. For a couple of weeks my mum has been talking about selling her. I've only had her since February. I love her more than anything, and I desperately don't want to lose her. But I know that one of these days I'm going to get hurt. We cant afford to get professional help, and in the past couple of days I've started thinking that selling her would be the best and safest option, even though it would be the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life. This has happened to me before, my last pony Charlie became impossible to turn out safely, and I became scared to ride. It's all happening again. Bonnie is so lovely to ride, and I've only fallen off her once, and it was raining and really windy. But I've become scared to ride her. I don't know what I can do. I don't want to lose her. I really don't. But I don't know if keeping her is an option any more...

I'm sorry for the life story. I just had to get it off my chest. I've been worrying about it for weeks...
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:06 PM
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Do you work her everytime you catch her in the field? Or do you sometimes just catch her and give her a treat and brush her then turn her loose again? Horses would prefer to just be left out at pasture to graze all day. Maybe just go sit in the pasture with her and take a couple of carrots, pet her and then leave her alone once or twice a week. Or catch her and lead her around to graze or just brush her once in a while. Sometimes if all you ever do is catch them and then saddle up for a ride they decide to not let you catch them.
Getting a little scared after a fall is normal. Just take it easy for a while. Get on and ride around for a couple of minutes and if you start to feel scared then get off, lead her around, take deep breaths and then get back on. Build up you confidence again. Or, have someone help you out and ride her on the lunge line for a couple of rides until you start to feel comfortable again.
If you've only had her since February then she is still testing you out. She's figured out your paterns and learned to get away with a few things. Switch up the patern and make her think and pay attention to you! Don't give up yet. Try some new things and give it a few more months.
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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The trouble isn't catching her, she's great to catch. Our horses are in a kind of double paddock, you have to walk through the first one to get to them. On the way out of the paddock, when we get to the second gate (the first one you go through to get to them), we usually leave it open, she just tenses up and gallops off. I have no way of stopping her. If we do sell her, I have to decide quickly, because the horse market is good in the Summer, and the Summer is almost over, my mum doesn't want to be stuck with a horse we're trying to sell for the whole winter. =/

Edit: To answer your question, most of the time I catch her to groom and feed her. When I ride, I ride in the morning before I put her out.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:23 PM
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Sometimes you have to move on, sometimes you have to let go, sometimes you have to say--this isn't the horse for me.








O.K.--do you feel a sense of relief, are you thinking "thank you, that's how I feel."?

If the answer's "yes"--talk to your mom about it, does selling this pony mean you get another, or will it be no horse for you?

If the answer is "no" then take a deep cleansing breath and relax. Try to find a way to work it out. Be fully committed to it--this will work, I will find a way, and project that self confidence to your pony. What about taking a week off? No horses for a bit to think and gather your thoughts? Is that a possibility?
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:28 PM
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Have you ever try a bit call tom thumb or training bit they may help you be able to stop her b/c the horse cant brake on the that bit, your horse might be holding on the bit with her teeth to prevent you from pulling her to stop. What kind of bits are you useing?
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:35 PM
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Here a link I found that may help you slow down your horse http://www.myhorse.com/training/west...n_cue.aspx#top
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:36 PM
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You have gotten some really great advise already. I will just add you may try changing your routine if she bolts at the same spot, then start turning her in the opposite direction just before you get to that point. Do that over and over, hopefully you will get closer to your destination each time. It really does sound like she is testing you to see how far she can get. With horses the old saying give them an inch and they will take a mile is more true than with anything else I have ever dealt with. They will test you in very subtle ways too. just moving a foot forward when they are suppose to be standing still. If you don't correct it right then, the next thing they will be walking off on you. Good luck and any decision is obviously yours and your moms. I hope you don't end up horseless :(

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:41 PM
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Does she always gallop off at the same gate/ place? Maybe something could be spooking her. One time my shirt just was ruffled by the wind and my horse totally freaked out. So look around that area to see if there is anything thats flapping or making sudden movements.

She might also have a bad memory of that gate. Did she every get hurt around it or from it? Or maybe she got spooked badly once, and never forgot it. Horses are known to have fears like that.

Make sure to always be very calm around the gate. If you tense up, she will too. If possible, could you take pictures of the gate area? There could be a number of things that would spook her/she is scared of.

She could also dislike something you do when you groom her. It could be her body has sores that are not noticeable, or the tools are uncomfortable for her. If you let her run off then feed her without grooming her, she thinks she can take advantage of you.

Has anyone else ever tried to lead her out? if not, try to get a strong adult to lead her out.

I would also advise using a stud chain. I use them when I am dealing with stronger, bigger horses that try to pull away.

Also, just try to go sort of close to the gate. Not where she gallops off, but farther back. Stay calm, pet her, and talk to her soothingly. Once you feel her relax, make her take a few steps forward. If she tenses up, get right on back to petting her. You can even offer small treats. Once you finally arrive at the gate and you know she is about to gallop off, gently pull her forward and pet her. Offer a treat in gate.

Hopefully this helps.

No hour of life is wasted that is spent [in the saddle].
inthesaddle523 is offline  
post #9 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:47 PM
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i know its mean but try putting the stud chain in her mouth.

~I'm an angel in Justin boots. I'm a devil in blue jeans. I'm every cowgirls nightmare. I'm every cowboys dream~
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-14-2008, 02:59 PM
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like said above ask yourself how willing you are and how far will you go with this horse-and then if you stick it out with this one do only things that are confidence builders for a time so you both win each time you are together=also like said above change it up-instead of always work when you go out of the gate, stay inside the gate-walk past it-give a treat or a scratch- groom a little, take a walk (if it is safe) then let her go back to grazing. change time schedules and routines and maybe it will help? i use a stud chain on sonny but under his chin not in his mouth-for the same reason- he decides to go back out in the pasture and he is so huge he jsut goes-I am not strong enough to stop him and he hasnt even attempted it since i put the chain on him.
best of luck

Kirsti Arndt is offline  

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