Bad mannered horse

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Bad mannered horse

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    07-09-2009, 10:35 AM
Bad mannered horse

There is a mare I know that was sick last year, and so had to have many unpleasant things done like being handled and checked out a lot and given medicine. She has always been a very sweet horse, but all the things that were done while she was feeling so sick made her grumpy and she got into some bad habits. When someone goes up to her she will lay her ears back and often threaten to bite. She will turn her rump and try to kick as well.

What would you suggest in a situation like this? Is it best to just feed her treats (she seems fine then) and try to get her happy with people again or should she be slapped whenever she is trying to bite or kick. Since she already isn't too happy with people I don't know if slapping her would make her worse or not. But it isn't ok for her to be doing this either.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
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    07-09-2009, 11:06 AM
Although I would typically condone smacking a horse that tries to bite, in this case I might reconsider it. It seems this mare needs encouragement rather then discipline.

If she was at my farm, I would work on trust. That would entail time just being around her. I would keep her in the paddock a good deal of the time and sit in a chair with a good book and let her make the first moves. Simply put, I would treat her more like an unhandled horse rather then an unruly one.
    07-09-2009, 11:10 AM
I agree - she does seem to need more reassurance. She seems fine when she's being given treats and will let people pet her when she feels like it, so hopefully with lots of gentle handling and good experiences she'll come around. Thanks for the advice!
    07-09-2009, 11:16 AM
How old is she and what was she like before the illness? Is she a horse or pony?
    07-09-2009, 11:22 AM
Green Broke
I would use food as a reward for good behavior. If she turns her butt to you, smack the CRUD out of her! If she just flattens her ears, I would talk to her and "kiss" or "cluck" to get her to put them forward, then treat her for that. If she bars her teeth, then I'd make her back up out of your space, and then give her a treat when she stands calmly and puts her ears back forward again.

When you do get her out, do lots of "nice" things with her. Brush her, hand graze her, then put her up. If she likes baths, give her a good bath. If you're able to, hand walk her around the property or on some short "trails", letting her graze when she's being good. Show her that when people come to halter her, it's often a "good" thing.
    07-09-2009, 11:25 AM
She's a horse and never was like this before. Absolutely the sweetest horse. She's about 13 years old. Thanks for the advice luvs2ride. I'll do lots of nice things with her that she enjoys. But that's true - I probably shouldn't put up with her swinging her rump at me. I don't want to get hurt!
    07-09-2009, 11:27 AM
Green Broke
You might also have the vet check for hormonal imbalances and palpate her for ovarian or uterine cysts if her behavior persists. Her illness or the treatments could have thrown her hormones out of whack, causing her behavior to change.

How is her behavior once she's out of the stall and in halter or bridle?
    07-09-2009, 12:53 PM
Does she follow through with the bite or the kick? If not, I would say ignore her and continue with what your intentions were. She is frustrated with all of the fussing over her.

When she makes her face or turns, say QUIT or ACK in a low voice that brooks no argument. If you hit her, she may well follow through and hit you back.

A treat after she is caught is ok but switch it up with pats and chats.

Horses forgive but they never forget.
    07-09-2009, 01:51 PM
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
I would use food as a reward for good behavior. If she turns her butt to you, smack the CRUD out of her! .
How do you do this?? If you hit her with your hand it will hurt you more then it does her?? She might also follow through with a quick boot.
    07-09-2009, 02:35 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by RiosDad    
How do you do this?? If you hit her with your hand it will hurt you more then it does her?? She might also follow through with a quick boot.
You're right, it would be better to use a whip, lead rope, halter, whatever, to smack her. If you're coming in to catch her, you should have her halter and lead in one hand. Just be ready to swing it around and hit her in the rump with it if she turns it toward you .

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