Catching in the field- know I made a mistake today and want to avoid in the future

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Catching in the field- know I made a mistake today and want to avoid in the future

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    11-20-2011, 11:56 AM
Catching in the field- know I made a mistake today and want to avoid in the future

I went out to ride my lease mare this morning, but I was unable to catch her in the big turnout field because she was being pretty aggressive, and I found myself in a situation that I felt was, frankly, dangerous. This is not typical!

She was turned out for the 2nd time with a new boarder, an absolutely gigantic draft cross mare. I went out to the field to get Izzy as I always do; she and the new mare were out on the grass, but when they heard the gate, they charged and came galloping across the field towards the gate. No problem, I figured once they got up to the gate, they'd stop and I could just grab Izzy. Well, as I approached her, she pinned her ears and spun around, as if to kick me. I thought, "not acceptable," and swung the leadrope around to drive her away from the hay that was on the ground near the gate and back out onto the field, thinking that a) she didn't get to try to dominate me around the hay and b) it would be easier to get her when she and the new mare weren't both jockeying for position over the hay (it was in multiple piles, and they were driving each other off going from pile to pile).

But as I approached Izzy in the field, she again pinned her ears and threatened to kick. Then she and the new mare turned and stampeded back towards the gate. I approached Izzy again, and same thing. At that point, I felt like it was getting a little dangerous as she and the new mare were also snorting at each other, and I didn't really want to be in the middle of it, so I left her out there and wasn't able to bring her in to ride.

At any rate, I've never had trouble catching her in the field, regardless of who she's turned out with, and I felt uncomfortable because she was acting so aggressive. Obviously, I'm worried that she'll now think all she has to do is make a fuss and she won't be ridden. I didn't feel that it was an option to tie up or take out the new boarder because she's not mine, but it's likely that they'll continue to be turned out together, so I need to solve this.

I will definitely be talking to the BM when I go out to ride tomorrow, but I'm curious to hear what others would have done in this situation to make it less dangerous and successfully catch the horse.
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    11-20-2011, 12:02 PM
Yikes, I'm glad you didn't get hurt! Sometimes when horses are turned out with a new horse, they get really intense because they are figuring out who's boss. This could kind of explain the change in behavior. Try again as soon as you can, and walk out there with confidence, make sure they know that you are always the leader. If she ever swings her butt at you again, you have the right to act with equal aggression.
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    11-20-2011, 03:14 PM
Agreed... so glad you aren't hurt. I wouldn't worry about her thinking she can make a fuss and get out of work, cause you won't let it happen again ;)
Honestly though, it happens and you could either back off and stay safe or be silly and go running after them all with a swinging rope or lunging whip. Either way, though, it's always difficult and I think you made the right decision. You don't know how this new horse is; she could be aggressive.

But if it were me, in past times I have gone after the entire herd pushing them from A to B to F until they all stopped and gave me their attention. In hindsight, not the best idea.. but I did get my horse to come up to me and 'end the madness.' Another more safe way is if you have 2 flakes of hay, space them really far out (at least 15-20 feet) down the fence line and they'll come up to munch and then you just grab your horse and don't be afraid to smack on the shoulder hard if they are threatening you.. just never get caught between two horses, or a horse and a fence. And always have some sort of tool, like a whip, extra lead rope, flag, bag on a stick, sometimes a shoe works.

I don't recommend shaking a cookie jar or you may end up with a galloping herd coming at you, tongues hanging out and hunger in their eyes :P

Definitely work a little more on respect and coming when called with her even if she's a lease. The owner could spend hours doing it and her/his(?) horse wouldn't have the same reaction towards you. But definitely bring it up with her/him (?) as it is their horse.
    11-20-2011, 03:36 PM
I'd go out there with a whip next time and for a bit, drive the draft mare away. Focus on just driving her away and getting her to stay away from you. Then see if you can draw your mare to you, maybe a treat, but use the whip to indicate to the draft mare that she is NOT welcome.
This may or may not work, but in any case, when you next go out, take a longish dressage whip with you, and start establishing yourself as boss instantly.

For example, if they come running up to you, YOU stop them before they get too close. YOu step out forward and give the whip a little shake and Whoa them when they are a good 8 to 10 feet away. They can only approach you after they stand respectfully for a bit. I NEVER let a horse run up to me in any kind of pushy way like they own me or the real estate I am standing on.
    11-20-2011, 03:55 PM
If someone turned them out together, someone has to bring them back in, right?

Find that person and have them show you how they catch these two horses. Or do they have the same problem?
    11-20-2011, 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by Red Gate Farm    
If someone turned them out together, someone has to bring them back in, right?

Find that person and have them show you how they catch these two horses. Or do they have the same problem?
Red Gate, that's exactly what I did after about 15-20 minutes out there myself. The person who does the stalls and feeding was there, and I asked him what he recommended. The new draft mare has only been there a week, so he doesn't really know her well, but said she is supposed to be a sweetheart and is easy to handle (that's been his experience so far). He has never had problems bringing horses in off the field; whenever he goes out there, they're always standing at the gate waiting because they know it's dinner time.

I will definitely be talking to the BM tomorrow though and ask her to go out there with me if necessary. I was laughing at myself while I was out in the field though, because I was standing there trying to think about the problem logically, and my mind was running through other threads I've read on here about how to catch horses when they don't cooperate.
    11-20-2011, 08:08 PM
This just sounds like my mare! Excuse my language but she was a total bitch in the field! It didnt matter how nicely I treated her she'd quite happily run straight over me or any poor soul that got in her way.. I competely understand what everyone else is saying about not been afraid to hit a horse back if their been a brut but always remember in a split second they could swing round and kick you on the head so with by mare I got some electric fencing and sectioned her of in a corner of the field for about 4-5 days, for the first 3 she would charge around like a mad women untill she would exchust herself and I would then walk straight up to her with a big carrot/handful of hard feed and go over the top rewarding her and she very quickly copped on that she was just making her life harder. When I let her back out with the other horses I was worried she'd go back to the way she was but she was great, I wouldnt make it obivous I had a treat for her so the other horses didnt pay any attention to me and I was able to get a hold of her straight away.. hope this helps a little
    11-21-2011, 09:08 AM
Green Broke
And again and again,,, another example of why I would NEVER EVER, board where horses from mixed owners are stuck in the same field.
I sit back and laugh at the naysayers, who make all kinds of excuses why it is ok. But over and over I read bad things about mixed owner horses being thrown in same area.
    11-21-2011, 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
and again and again,,, another example of why I would NEVER EVER, board where horses from mixed owners are stuck in the same field.
I sit back and laugh at the naysayers, who make all kinds of excuses why it is ok. But over and over I read bad things about mixed owner horses being thrown in same area.
Joe, I actually thought of you as I was posting, because I have read your numerous comments on the topic. It was definitely problematic in that I felt limited about what I could do with the new boarder out there, a horse that is physically way more horse than I would chose to work with owned by someone I don't know. So, I think you're probably right. Reality, unfortunately, is more complicated when there are only limited choices in where to ride/keep a horse, but I think your sentiments are correct.
    11-21-2011, 10:12 AM
I always maintain that I wouldn't have horses if I had to board them at livery - but that's a very easy thing to say when I have my own land and stables. Those of us who do, sometimes forget that it's not an option for other people - although I think I would be taking steps to get this situation sorted immediately.

I'm so glad to hear you didn't get hurt, but personally I would never go into a big field carrying a whip with the intention of sorting any problem. Horses are so quick, you could be putting your life on the line whether you know one or both of the horses. It only takes a split second...

If it were me I would attempt to catch your mare over the fence - be it with a leaf of hay or some treats or even a bit of food in a bucket. I would also speak with the owner of the other horse and arrange to be there when they are going to catch it so you can see what happens. It won't be much fun if you can only ride when you are both there to catch your hoses though.

Would the Manager let you section of your mare or split the field into two so you're not in so much danger when you go to catch her? If the Manager is a responsible person he / she should be putting your safety first too.

Good luck and stay safe.

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