Aggressive new mother
 
 

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Aggressive new mother

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    06-11-2011, 10:42 PM
  #1
Foal
Aggressive new mother

My 6 year old QH mare, who I bought as a 5 month old at an auction had a foal 3 weeks ago. SHe was cranky and trying to bite me when she was pregnant. I tried to smack her on the chest. It didnt work. I read somewhere to rub their face for a while. THis seemed to help somewhat.

ANyway, once the foal was born she has gotten way worse. It is all I can do to try to get hold of her halter. Once I have her by the halter she is MOSTLY okay. She did bite me one night when I lifted the pail to dump her food into her pail in her stall.... I smacked her on the nose, yelled at her and backed her into the back of her stall. I have tried to talk gently, give treats, repremand her. It seems nothing is really working.

Tonight I was able to catch her by the halter (I have a put a foal like small shank on her halter) I put a chain over her nose and tied it in a not to shorten it up. I was able to brush her, pamper her etc. etc. Whenever she went to bit me - 3 or 4 times, I pulled on the shank with chain and yelled NO!!

If anyone knows anything else I can do, I would really really appreciate your inputt. She has let me near her foal, brush it etc. SHe is just so unpredictable and I find this scary.

I have tried Rescue Remedy, 10 - 12 drops at a time. I have tried a few doese of Atrivet.

This is just so saddening for me as I trained her and have a long history of trust with her.... She never even tried to buck me when I first got on her.... SHe has had a very laid back personality...TILL NOW!!

She is in the field on green grass and in at night. SHe is in a field just her and her foal. We put our gelding in another field.

Any ideas would be most welcome. Thank you
     
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    06-12-2011, 12:37 AM
  #2
Foal
I find that a negative reaction from the person only makes the horse more upset and aggressive. Positive is always best.

New Dam's can and are usually more cranky and aggressive after they have their foals. In my experience, you need to respect her. This is her foal, and if you still want her to trust you you need to stop or you will end up getting seriously hurt. I had a mare that did what you were saying she bit me once out in the pasture but a negative reaction + a negative reaction only makes the animal MORE aggressive!

Humans are predators and horses are prey animals, they see us as predators so being negative won't help your situation!

And to be honest, if I were a new mom and you were my owner...and I was your horse. I probably would have killed you by now. You need to think like your mare for a second. How would you feel about having a foal and trying to protect it?

Obviously, you don't have the relationship with your horse that you thought you did. Because what I have learned is that a mare with and/or in foal is only nice/sweet to those who it has a true and strong relationship with and won't let anyone else near the pasture.

Just my 2 cents worth, sorry to sound rude or anything like that. I don't mean to I'm just getting to my point, and saying it straight.

KJR
     
    06-12-2011, 01:19 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:

New Dam's can and are usually more cranky and aggressive after they have their foals. In my experience, you need to respect her. This is her foal, and if you still want her to trust you you need to stop or you will end up getting seriously hurt. I had a mare that did what you were saying she bit me once out in the pasture but a negative reaction + a negative reaction only makes the animal MORE aggressive!

Humans are predators and horses are prey animals, they see us as predators so being negative won't help your situation!

And to be honest, if I were a new mom and you were my owner...and I was your horse. I probably would have killed you by now. You need to think like your mare for a second. How would you feel about having a foal and trying to protect it?

Obviously, you don't have the relationship with your horse that you thought you did. Because what I have learned is that a mare with and/or in foal is only nice/sweet to those who it has a true and strong relationship with and won't let anyone else near the pasture.

Just my 2 cents worth, sorry to sound rude or anything like that. I don't mean to I'm just getting to my point, and saying it straight.

KJR
Ditto. I would try to give her space and reason with her a bit. She is just a protective mom.

I had a dog once that had puppies, she got pretty protective over them. The first time my dad reached for one she gave a growl and grabbed his arm (Not hard at all, very gentle actually. She was warning him though. If he would have kept at it though, I'm sure she would have bit him. We didn't have that great of a bond with her yet -long story). Anyways, over the course of a few days we were very calm and let her know that we were not going to harm her puppies. We'd go around her, just sit a little bit off. If she seemed to get nervous or tense we'd just talk to her (but didn't reprimand her or push the issue). Eventually she saw us as okay and I was playing with the pups in no time. I can't imagine what would have happened if my dad would have thumped the dog for grabbing him though -VERY ugly!!

I can see where you would be frustrated and kind of hurt. Owning her for so long and getting this kind of reaction. My suggestion would be to come off as calm and try to convey the message you aren't there to harm the new foal. Try to avoid situations where you would spark her to bite or act out aggressively. I'm guessing this is her first foal, so I'm sure she's trying to adjust. One tip --never go between her and the foal right now. Not until you have established 100% trust with your mare. When my mare had her foal, even though my mare handled it VERY well (wasn't aggressive with us at all) I still didn't step between her and the foal for a couple weeks. I didn't want her to feel threatened in any way.

If she does bite you, I would give her a light reprimand. Maybe a slight tap on the shoulder or nose. I would avoid any explosive emotions right now though. It would be best, as I said early, to try and avoid that kind of situation. When she is sweet, praise her for it and let her know that you only mean well. Maybe, try not to show to much interest in the foal so that she doesn't have to feel as protective.

With your guys history, I think if you take baby steps, and treat her as non-threatening as possible with a week or two --you guys will have everything sorted out.

Best of luck to you! Keep us updated and I would love to see pictures (as I'm sure others would too!)
     
    06-12-2011, 11:47 AM
  #4
Foal
Hopefully Pic's of foal

Havent posted too many pic's.... Hope this works
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    06-13-2011, 12:40 PM
  #5
Foal
Oh my goodness!!! They are GORGEOUS!!! Congratulations on the new colt! Any luck with the mare so far? They both look so healthy and happy! Are you keeping the colt?
     
    06-13-2011, 01:08 PM
  #6
Foal
She, Zoe, did not come when I called her last night at feeding time. I took the pail and started to walk towards her with it. She came to me and I took hold of her and we walked to the barn!!! Yay, I have been so worried/scared/upset about her coming at me. I show her the respect she wants when I come near the stall door to put feed or do anything else for that matter. I will be keeping the foal to at least do all the ground work with him and possibly be the first to get on him. We will see what the future will bring. I have just had recent surgery on my knee so riding (Zoe) is not in the picture in the very near future or poss not even this year. I enjoy as much the care/teaching/playing/interacting with my horses as I do riding them.

I know they are all healthy and I hope happy too. I have to remember that she is following her insticts in protecting her foal. The gelding we have in the other field, well she will not let him get anywhere near the dividing fence. They have been budds for 6 years now.

My animals, are family to me. Their health and care have always been very important.

Thank you for your advice. The Foal we are calling Ring Go (after the cowboy Ring Go) as the side of his face that is white with a solid blue eye has a black ring around that eye. It is about 1/8 - 3/16 around that eye. The other eye on his brown side, it is blue in the inner corner and brown on the outside.

Zoe has always been very laid back and willing to do new things.... She did trust me I know. When I asked her to walk on plywood for the first time. SHe knew it was okay as I did it with her. If she ever got a little uptight when she was younger I would sing to her, her little song. SHe would immediately know that everything was okay and relax. We have had a wonderful relationship. We will continue to again. When I got on her the first time and anytime after, she never, ever even did a bunny hop with me on her. She is always eager and willing and relaxed.

You can tell I love my horse!
     
    06-13-2011, 01:14 PM
  #7
Foal
Ring Go

The ring around this eye is why we decided on Ring Go

He seems to have a dorsal line too! I am curious about that. Will it remain there?
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    06-13-2011, 04:13 PM
  #8
Weanling
Many new mothers get aggresive - they're only defending their babies.

But that's not right - so you need to correct that ASAP. You have started in the right direction. By establishing your control AND brushing her - she becomes more attuned to YOU and started to listen. The idea here is to get AND KEEP her attention on YOU, and less on the baby. That means initially short periods of time building up to more time on getting her to "do" things that get her attention on you. Like grooming. That will help her feel better - especially if she has favorite itchy spots or when its really hot hosing her off, etc.

Leading her in a smaller area (where you can keep baby CLOSE by) and doing things, like halt - square - or halt, face her and make her back up at least TWO steps, will focus her attention more on you. (The TWO steps is because with only one step they can "sort of" halt, unsquare, then that can turn into not really halting just cruising to a stop, etc... Idea is getting and keeping her attention on you.)

She has to feel secure (i.e. That no-one/thing will be hurting her baby while she's being handled by you) yet you MUST make certain she pays attention to you. When leading she can look at baby - burt should not have to spin around to look just move her head (at first) and as your lessons with her continue it should graduate to moving her eyes only, not her entire head.
     
    06-13-2011, 10:16 PM
  #9
Foal
Thanks so much for all the advice. I was able to get her out of her stall tonight, brush her & pamper her, then I put her in her stall with her supper. Baby steps... :)
     
    06-14-2011, 04:27 PM
  #10
Foal
Glad your mare is doing better, I had a maiden mare who had her 1st foal, the first two days she was her same old self, then went into "protective mode" for about a week. I just let her be(it may not have been the right thing to do,but I did it) she seemed to some out of it on her own. And with in no time what so every I could do everything with her I could before, even play with the baby without her worrying.
     

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