I don't understand my mare's behavior
 
 

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I don't understand my mare's behavior

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  • Mare's sternum is sore

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    12-08-2012, 08:53 PM
  #1
Foal
I don't understand my mare's behavior

Ok~ quick history on this mare:
When I moved on to this property, she was here. She had been abandoned. She was the most obese starving horse you've ever met. She had foundered, feets a mess, and obese.
I immediately got feets done and started her on a weight loss program.
After 6 mths of foot rehab, we did a 1st ride.
ANGEL!
A perfectly trained, young mare.
We ride 4-5 days a week. We have a lovely, trusting relationship.

Putting tack on is the issue here.
When I 1st started riding, the issue was mounting. She wouldn't let me. Once on, she's totally fine.
Soon, the mounting issues dissipated and the new issue was saddling.
She'd dance and pin her ears when cinched~even very slowly. ( always put the saddle on, then between picking out feet, I slowly tighten the cinch).
Cinching issues have subsided. Now, its the saddle pad she's taking issue with. She's plain nasty! She'll bite, nostrils flared, ears pinned.
I do the usual~ I prove the saddle blanket is not to be mad at.
Now, she's taking to nipping me and who ever is holding the lead rope when I put the pad on.
I don't take kindly to this, so she gets disciplined.

It just seems like the issues evolves into the newest monster.

The only past I know of her is someone cinched her up way too tight and she blew. She was deemed a 'dangerous horse' and never rode again.
She's actually a brave and trusted riding horse.

What do you think is going on?
And, what should I do to address these evolving issues?
I've always been respectful and slow when it comes to tacking up.

As far as pain~ I don't think she's in any~ she gets equine massages, feet are in great shape. Treeless saddle that fits great. Tack is all up to par.

Thanks for any input into this mysterious little mare that I adore.
     
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    12-08-2012, 09:26 PM
  #2
Trained
Sounds like she's testing you, which is why the issue keeps evolving. She realizes that she won't get away with being a pill about mounting, so she switches to cinching. That doesn't work, so she moves to the pad. Once she realizes she can't get away with being a pill about the pad, she'll switch to something else.

How long have you had her?
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    12-08-2012, 09:31 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum;1790692

How long have you had her?
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Posted via Mobile Device[/SIZE]
One year.
Started riding and doing ground work 5 months ago.

I've wondered if I was getting tested.

Today, we delivered Christmas cards Pony Express style, and she nipped at the dog~ she's never done that!

Golly~ I can't wait to see what the next test is!
     
    12-08-2012, 09:39 PM
  #4
Trained
Does she get chiro in addition to her massages? That could be an issue. Or any other treatment like that? My mare blew up randomly last year and I realized it was a pinching saddle that I had used on her for a year and a half without conflict. She just lost it one day. And then this spring, she got her routine chiro/acupuncture and my vet discovered her entire sternum area had a done of scar tissue from who knows what. Got rid of it and she's not crabby about cinching anymore.

Also, what kind of pad it is and does it sit on her withers when you ride? I have 2 pads, one being a contoured Tacky Too pad, which some horses do not like because the neoprene can pull (mine doesn't have an issue with it), but the other one is a non-contoured Classic Equine ESP pad. My mare has higher withers and her back dips, so she needs the contour. Even if I pull the ESP pad up into my gullet, it eventually wiggles its way down and she gets annoyed with that pad when I put it on.
     
    12-08-2012, 10:15 PM
  #5
Showing
Poor saddle fit is one concern. Another is, are you setting it behind her shoulder blades or on them. The points on an engish and the bars (front concho) should be 2 fingers behind the blade. If this is all as it should be, let's surprise her. Take a pail with feed or carrots and stash it out in the yard. I'll bet you have a routine which she is now familiar with. Just saddle her and leave the halter on. Then take her to the treats and let her indulge. Take her back and unsaddle and put her away. She has learned to associate saddling with work. Break up your routine. Saddle her, unsaddle her and go bareback.
     
    12-08-2012, 11:01 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
Quote:
I don't take kindly to this, so she gets disciplined.
Just what are you doing to discipline her? Are you just just 'scolding' her or actually 'punishing' her?

I would guess that you are not getting after her hard enough for her to WANT to do the right thing. If people just nag and 'peck' at a horse, many horses will get mad and get mean instead of doing the right thing. I would guess that this is what this mare is doing.

If you get after a horse for aggressive behavior, you need to get after him hard enough to think he is luck to still be alive. If you are just going to peck at one -- as in slap or jerk one or just yell at them -- you are better off doing nothing at all. The ones that are going to get really mean will just get worse and worse. I think you have one of those.
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    12-08-2012, 11:18 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Just what are you doing to discipline her? Are you just just 'scolding' her or actually 'punishing' her?

I would guess that you are not getting after her hard enough for her to WANT to do the right thing. If people just nag and 'peck' at a horse, many horses will get mad and get mean instead of doing the right thing. I would guess that this is what this mare is doing.

If you get after a horse for aggressive behavior, you need to get after him hard enough to think he is luck to still be alive. If you are just going to peck at one -- as in slap or jerk one or just yell at them -- you are better off doing nothing at all. The ones that are going to get really mean will just get worse and worse. I think you have one of those.
Punishment was backing up super fast with a verbal scolding. Yep, I think I could be more to the point. I think you're very right about that.

@ Saddlebag~ I will start that. Great idea. I did this the other day, just need to keep on it.

@Poseidon~no, chiro yet. The massages seem to very effective. And for saddle pad, I just have a wool, plain jane pad. Come to think of it, the cinchy and mounting issues disappeared around the time I got the treeless saddle.

Oh, and one more observation~ if I have to adjust the saddle when we're out riding in the woods~ no issues at all.
So, now, I tack up from a variety of places, thinking about the routine aspect.

I'm still learning about this girl, so everyday is a learning experience with her.
These are great ideas, keep 'em coming!~ thank you everybody!
     
    12-09-2012, 12:05 AM
  #8
Super Moderator
Bad should hurt.
Scolding is scoffed at by a determined horse.
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    12-09-2012, 02:07 AM
  #9
Weanling
Perhaps something happened to the mare before you found her and she has a reason to act as she does. Maybe sack her out with different objects to test it.

Easily could be a saddle fit or she has a sore back -have you tested it yourself to see if the spine is sore? If her back were to be sore all of the things she has done do pOint towards that: not wanting to mount, saddle pad, cinching etc.

Does she back up well in the saddle if you ask her?
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    12-09-2012, 03:33 AM
  #10
Green Broke
How soon did you start riding her 4 to 5 times a week? Was it gradual build up to it or was it right off the bat? If she developed a sore back, it would stay sore riding consistently.

When was the last time you checked the saddle fit? As she builds muscle and tones up, her shape changes.

She could be sour with being rode so much after having so much time off. Have you tried tacking her up only to just untack her and brush her out? Just a thought.
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