behaviour problem with a 9 year old. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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behaviour problem with a 9 year old.

dont want to sound impatient but..............
had new horse last week. viewed several times before and rode out, in menage and bareback in village so no probs. vetting was fine. moved horse on the sunday last weeknd couldnt have asked for a more perfect transition to new environment. spent the next few days fussing and settling her in. she has been living out so didnt press the intorductionto her new spacious stable. tried to ride thursday (day 4) threw me off as trying to mount but managed to ride a walk and trot. yesterday it all went backwards. refused point blank to come from field. i tried for an hour ( 2 others in there with her but all fine). today it took 3 of us to get her out to the yard. she was fine and let me groom her as usual (loves being fussed and brushed) put her in her new stable but she then refused to come out!! tried to get her from yard to field. took three attemps and two of us. dont want to get into pulland fighting everytime. due toset back ive ridden only once since move and anxious that shes developing bad habits ...... am i wanting too much too soon. shes none though not like shes a baby ??
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 12:42 PM
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when you go out to catch her how are you doing it?
it sounds Like she has your Number and is using it well..
Having that many people trying to catch one horse would make her frightend.. and see it as a threat.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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in the field shes fine. will let me put head collar on which shes leanrt in a week !! and will follow sometimes when i walk away. lets me put lead rope on and will be lead round until we get to the exit. its just an electric wire fence which makes no scary sounds.

the exit leads just onto a gravel path which goes all the way back to the yard. no traffic etc
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 04:49 PM
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She doesn't trust the fence as she knows what it can do. If it has a wire "gate" I used brightly colored streamers so the horse would know that I was setting it aside. Until I did that the horses didn't trust that the wire had been thrown aside. Horses can sense when the charger is on. She is bonding with the other horses and is reluctant to leave them. Does your feeding schedule match her previous one? If she won't leave her stall is that her old feeding time.
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 05:09 PM
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Are you sure this horse is even broke to ride? Who did you buy her from, and do you have any way of checking up on her background.

That said, or written. This horse has your number, you don't have enough background in horse handling skills to deal with this. You need to find someone to help you that is there and on the ground with you, it is just too overwhelming to try and guide you through a computer.

I'd take horse back, and get some lessons before buying another horse.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-19-2012, 05:40 PM
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You're not wanting too much too soon, no. She should be behaving. I know you rode her before buying her, did you also catch her in or was she always in when you went to try her out?

If you have seen her caught at her previous home, then this is new behaviour (or reappeared old behaviour) which may be triggered ever by her insecurity at the move, or by her perception of your insecurity.

I suggest you find an instructor to help you get your confidence in resolving this. I suspect she is just trying you out, but it sounds like she is currently winning.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-22-2012, 04:38 AM
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While there are possibilities that you may have been duped, horse was sedated when you met her before moving for eg, I wouldn't necessarily think this was out of the ordinary behaviour at all and that she's not a baby is irrelevant IMO.

I certainly don't agree with Shrop. I think her problems with you are likely precisely because you asked too much & didn't consider her feelings. Whether or not you think she 'should' 'behave', she's not, so that's irrelevant too, except in that it implies she is then deserving of punishment for 'should know better', which I disagree with.

I don't think there's enough info here to do anything more than put forward some possibilities of the details, so don't take below as a judgement, just what could have been happening in her head...

Consider her experience. Firstly there is no info about prior experiences, except for you riding her in a village. For all we know, this could have been the environment she was born in & she's never been into a foreign environment before you moved her. Moving is often pretty stressful for a horse anyway, to leave her secure, known environment(& probably friends & trusted people). She could have been so 'perfect' to begin with because she was 'shell shocked'.

You only spent a few days 'fussing' & I don't know what that means to you, whether you spent time just hanging out with her, boosting her attitude of you with positive reinforcement/reward &/or starting to prove to her you were trustworthy(that takes more than a couple of days & is not unconditional), or whether you did stuff to her that she didn't enjoy(eg. does she truly love being brushed, or could she just be obediently enduring it?). I wouldn't expect the horse to have developed much of a relationship with you at all yet, but first impressions count & fearful ones stick, so if they weren't that great experiences with you, that's what she's got to build on so far.

Then you rode her. While of course I don't know what her bodylanguage & personality is, I think bucking you off as you mounted was likely a fear &/or pain based reaction. She also would have given you prior signals to show she was worried/upset/going to blow, which you either didn't recognise or ignored. So you managed to get on & ride her, when she was obviously bothered by the idea.

So next time she didn't want a bar of you or your games? I note the comment about the electric fence, which could be a cause/contribution to the prob. *If the fence is connected, it DOES make a noise, or the horse can otherwise sense it, regardless of whether you can or not. Perhaps she's not experienced an electric fence before, so doesn't know what to expect &/or the wire goes across the gate(even if you take it down, she's already associated it with that area), &/or perhaps you haven't turned it off & it's pulsing close to the gate you're asking her to go through, and of course she doesn't trust you yet, which can persuade horses to do something they think is dangerous.

So you got some helpers in, to force her to 'face her fears' and go through the gate. Of course sometimes it's more important to force the issue than to take the time it takes, such as for vet care or some such. But I don't think confrontations are generally the best option, especially where fearful behaviour is concerned. I think that would have just served to set back any trust you may have earned from her.

She's not used to a stable & you put her in one. I would have avoided this, until firstly you'd earned her trust, then been careful & considerate of her feelings, introducing her to that environment as gradually as necessary. Of course, last time you asked her to go through a gateway, it was scary & you forced her to do it anyway, so she is very reluctant to allow herself into that situation again.

So... I'd forget riding & doing unnecessary 'stuff' to her for the time being unless she truly likes it(hint: approach her & do it loose in the paddock, giving her every chance to leave) & focus on building a good, trusting relationship with her first & foremost. When you feel you've got a good enough thing going generally, then I'd considerately, gradually and non-confrontationally introduce her to & ask her for other things, places, etc.

Last edited by loosie; 06-22-2012 at 04:41 AM.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-22-2012, 05:31 AM
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OP, I think it's a bit hard to tell if it's a fear based reaction (no offence meant, loosie) or an evasion born of her knowing she's got one over you. Would you by any chance be able to provide us with a video of you leading her and taking feed into her paddock? And maybe walking her near the gate if you don't feel unsafe doing this? If you do feel unsafe and concerned handling her then it's probably time to get qualified help.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-22-2012, 05:41 AM
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To me it sounds like she wasn't ready to trust you yet. Horses have emotions and test to see if their new owner/herd leader is worthy of following or if they need to step up.

That is why I always did lots of ground work with any new (to me) horse before I rode them. This included friends' horses, horses at work, and even horses that I go on guided trail ride with. They get to know me, I get to know them, and we both feel safer about our new relationship. It works really well.

If you expected to buy a horse that was well behaved and then take it and put it in a new situation and expect them to be completely peachy, you expected too much. You need to get to know your horse, and they need to get to know you. Establish boundaries, but earn respect and trust.

Always helpful to have a trainer too. May you guys figure this out together!
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-22-2012, 05:46 AM
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Well put, Skyseternalangel!
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