Mare was a total jerk today--bit of a rant - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Columbia, MO
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Mare was a total jerk today--bit of a rant

My mare and I are still getting used to each other, but she is coming along nicely. The more work I do with her, the better she does, and the more I realize she wasn't as broke as I thought she was. It's fine because I have enough confidence to ride her, and I'm excited for room to grow.

So I'm brushing her in her stall today as a friend and I were preparing to go on a trail ride. Everything was fine, she has her head low and is being respectful. I'm at her shoulder brushing her and she turns her head around and bites me!!!

I gave her a swift smack on the shoulder and yelled at her. I then quickly and assertively made her yield her hindquarters (something we've been working on as I've been teaching her groundwork)

I believe that there are unacceptable behaviors that should be disciplined, and biting is one of them.

Anyway, after I showed her that I'm not one to mess with, and biting is not acceptable, I continued brushing.

Then we hit the trails and everything went well at first. We had a long straight path and decided to canter a little bit. She started bucking, which she hasn't done before. I rode through it fine, but it just pissed me off. She wasn't just doing a little buck, she was arching her back and bucking like a bronco or something.

We trotted for a while and then we tried cantering again, and she did fine and was going smooth, and then started galloping, and when I asked her to slow back down, she started bucking again, and this time, the saddle came up onto her neck. I checked my girth 3 times before we left, but apparently that's not enough! So then we stopped, I assertively yielded her hindquarters again and asked her to drop her head to the ground, and then I fixed my saddle.

We didn't canter again, but once she realized how hilly and difficult the trail was, she realized that maybe she shouldn't have wasted so much energy being stupid!

After that, she was perfect. I was just super pissed that she was being such a jerk from the beginning. How do you teach a horse that bucking is not an acceptable behavior, except to ride through it?

Later I was wondering if when we were cantering, she could feel the saddle slipping around and that's why she started bucking. I've always used this saddle and never had issues bucking at a canter before or any other signs of a poor fit.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 11:38 PM
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It is possible she was bucking due to the saddle my trainer has a mare who is extremely sensitive and if her saddle/cinch/ pad is even a little off she will toss you.

The only way to teach her it isn't ok is to work with her on it.

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 11:38 PM
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Does your saddle have a bucking strap? Aka rear cinch?
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 11:41 PM
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Location: An English Girl living in beautiful Alberta, Canada
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I'm guessing that she might have had some pain in her girth/stomach/ area that was sore and she didn't want to be groomed there hence the attempted bite. Then when you asked for canter it hurt again.

I don't think that a horse that doesn't usually behave like that would suddenly be SO different without pain involved somewhere.

I have on many a time encountered bad behaviour, dealt with it, and only much later - hours or days - did the lightbulb go on that the behaviour was actually due to pain!

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I ride in an australian saddle, so I don't have a buck strap. I was using a breastplate fortunately.

It wasn't until much later that I realized that it may have been due to pain. She was happy to trot though, which is why I'm wondering if it really was pain. She wanted to trot, and I had to keep asking her to stay at a walk. She never pinned ears or showed any other signs of pain.

She's really fuzzy right now because it's cold, so maybe the loose girth or saddle was catching her long belly hairs and pulling them or something.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-21-2013, 12:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I agree with the pain issue. One of our rescues was fine one day, and a bucking crow hopping demon the next. This went on for 4-5 days before our trainer realized she had a rash between her thighs. Odd behavior like that is often pain related. With the mare I mentioned over that 4-5 day period we looked for anything and everything from head to foot and triple checked the tack. My trainer knew something was wrong and wouldn't stop searching til she found it. Now this mare is a perfect lady and just found a new home :) so point is check everything and everywhere.
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