Disrespectful - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Chittering, Western Australia
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I have a problem and I need as much help as I can get!!!

My mare is 16 this year. I've owned her for about 4 years. She's my first horse, though I've been riding and handling other people's others since about 7 (I'm 20). My mare is a dominant mare, who in her two previous homes was not taught any manners at all. She is rude, disrespectful and often dangerous. As I say, a lot of what I do I am learning my trial and error, as I am coming across these problems for the first time.

I am also becoming a lot more confident and have learnt a lot. But the thing is, although she is extremely disrespecful, I have always managed to keep it reasonably under control. Here's a bit of our history: She's an extremely intelligent horse, and I mostly ride out in the bush (I don't know enough yet to really get much out of arena work). At one point I couldnt catch her. But we've over come that, I can catch her but when I walk up to her she has a cranky expression on her face and refuses to look at me, or come towards me. The second main problem i had once lunging her, (admittedly at the time I was pretty in experianced) and she would rear, buck, kick at me, put her ears back at charge at me. Pretty scary. She's never hurt me, i really don't think she would, I think she's jut trying to threaten me. With some help frm a trainor i can now lunge her. The next problem we encountered was the bucking. At it's worst point I couldnt use my legs to ask her forwards without her breakig into fits of bucking. Extremely frusterating when u can't walk forward. Again I had help from a trainor, and we overcame it. And yes I did get the saddle checked for fit, and it was fine. The trainor said it was respect issues.

After all this we were getting along really well. For about a year. She had her moments like any horse. But generally things were good. I even float trained her myself without help.

Then I put her in foal. Two things happened at the same time, obviously the first is that she was sent off to stud for a couple of weeks, where she was handled by a lot of new people and had a lot of new experiences (sex for one!!) . The other is that when she got back we had another new horse. Ever since then, she has been more disrespectful than ever. She is pretty much impossible to ride. She fights and pulls and gets all worked up, if I give the tiniest bit on the reins she wants to immediately take off. i was trying to slow her down, and I pulled her nose around nearly to her bum to go in a tight circle and she jut went faster and faster until she as cntering like that and she doesnt care that we are running into things, falling down ditches or over rocks... Whatever I ask her to do, even stuff she knew before, she does exactly the opposite. She hates being handled and groomed. Hates being ridden, when she sees me come down to the paddock she puts her ears back and walks away. It's absolutely heartbreaking... it made me cry the other day it upset me so much, because I love her to death. I'm so scared that by being like this she will no doubt teach her foal to be disrepectful and hard to handle jut like her. i am starting lessons with a trainor soon, but I am so desperate for advice and help!!!

Just another point: she has never been abused to my knowledge, and I my goal is to treat her fairly, quietly, FIRMLY !!

I'm sorry this is so long, but I though it would be better to be pretty detailed so anyone that might be able to help knows pretty much the full story.

PLEASE HELP!! I am at my wits end with her! I just don't knowwhat to do anymore... it's exhausting and heartbreaking... especially because we'd been going so well and BANG she comes back from stud and she's been possessed by the devil!!!
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 09:11 AM
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Two, no, three things: 1) Send her to the trainer, 2) Start lessons yourself (with a horse trainer, if possible), and 3) Don't breed her again. Personally, I believe that a horse needs to be and have done something superior in order to breed them.

Are you absolutely sure you wanna mess with my carrots?
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 09:25 AM
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I'd see you need a ton more ground work and a good trainer who can teach you. I will admit that it was probably not a very good idea to put her in foal because I have heard that foals do tend to learn quite a few of their behavioral traits from their mums... not to mention that she may or may not let you anywhere near the baby. It sounds like she's fairly agressive. Also, you do need to work in the arena... a lot. No excuses of not having enough experience to get anything out of it. There's endless things to gain from arena work. I suggest that you read a few training books by Cherry Hill. She's very good.

As much as I hate to say it, you might also consider following either Parelli's or some other horseman's at home training program. Sometimes they go a little over the top with being "au natual" and they can be pricey... but it offers a step by step process for gaining unity and respect from your horse, and if you don't have a good trainer around all the time I'd suggest it. They also have trouble-shooting suggestions and support forums... at least with Parelli they do.

You need to do as much with her working on this as you possibly can before baby comes along... particularly with the risk that she won't let you be around her little one. If she continues to be sour, I might suggest that you consider weaning the foal somewhat early (not super early) but the less ideas it gets from her the better. Five or six months of age would be the target time, and it's always best for the foal to have a buddy around and perhaps a "babysitter" type horse who is reliable and mellow and will teach the baby about being a horse better than his mom might.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Chittering, Western Australia
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I don't agree with that they have to 'achieve' something. Shes a nice looking horse, she's intelligent, tough as nails, and extremely responsive and sensitive when I used to ride her. Maybe I didnt explain myself as well as I could have, I guess its difficult trying to put 4 years worth of experiances and learning into a couple of paragraphs. She's the way she is because she's been made like that through out her life. But yes, her personality pre disposes her to being dominant... alpha mare thing.

Those difficult times, with the lungeing, and the bucking, were only a short period. Like a couple of weeks, I learnt from the situation, learnt how to handle it and we've moved on and not looked back. I have learnt a LOT from this horse that I wouldn't have with a nicer horse. It's not always fun.. but it's given me a good foundation I think.

I should point out more, the problem is more the overnight personality change that she had pretty much the day I went to pick her up from stud. She went from being a difficult, but manageable horse, to being absolutely determined to cause mayhem at every possible oppurtunity. Since it happened so suddenly, does anyone think that it may have something to do with hormones? She is a maiden mare as far as I know. This really bad behaviour has only been while she is pregnant. If she was always unmanageable rather than 'difficult', then no, I would not have foaled her, why would I want two when one is bad enough??

I'm taking her to the trainors myself, and I am doing the work myself. I don't see the point of just sending her off for someone else to 'fix' because then you don't learn from it yourself. And once she came home, then obviously I wouldn't be doing the same things as the trainor so she would probably end up being bad again.

When I wean the foal, my equine teacher told me to wean her at about 3 months. That's when they do they're foals. I wouldnt like to do it so young, but I think it will all depend on what happens between now and then, and how she is once the foal is born, if she lets me near it etc.

What does anyone else think??
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 10:37 AM
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I would highly suggest you look into Parelli. Your mare sounds like she has a lot of the same issues my warmblood did when I got him 10 months ago. He used to bite, kick, charge, rear and strike when given shots and was said to be dangerous, vicious and unpredictable. He was very stall-aggressive as well and would do a mini-rear when asked to canter under saddle.

I've only done Parelli with this horse and all of the above behaviors are gone. Completely. The rearing, I believe, was a chiropractic issue--his back was pretty screwed up when I got him.

Your first issue is when you go to get her. If she looks cranky and won't look at you, she is telling you she doesn't want to be with you. She's basically saying, "On no, not again. Just leave me alone." I don't say this to be mean, but if she looks cranky that's telling you something about your relationship. It tells you that you need to work on it. I could go into all sorts of details about what I think you should do, but that's all in the Parelli program. If you do that I promise these issues will go away. I can promise that because I know it works, you just have to follow the program correctly and put in the time.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 11:16 AM
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While it is no excuse for her behavior I would get a blood pannel pulled on her to check her hormone levels. Some mares do turn into absolute witches when they are carrying. If it does turn out that your vet believes it is a hormone issue you can go from there and find ways to fix your issues. If it turns out that your vet doesn't believe it to be hormone related I would suggest calling the breeder to determine what happened while your mare was there.

Not every training program works for every horse and you have to look at your mare and assess your needs and also her needs. It is good that you are taking her to the trainer to get your issues resolved at you don't feel that you can do it yourself. For the time being, I would recommend being consistent and persistent. What exactly does she do when you handle her from the ground? I would focus on ground work right now and worry about riding when you take her to the trainer.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 01:29 PM
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Not to be rude, and I know you love your horse and all, but if you have a horse with a bad attitude that you can't even safely ride, why the hell are you breeding her?

What happens when she foals? How are you going to train the foal if she won't let you near it. Or what if the foal gets hurt and needs medical attention but she won't let you near it?

Also, once again, I'm not trying to be rude, but if you can't handle a fully grown, already trained mare (albeit one with bad habits), what makes you think you can train a foal that's likely to be just as nasty as she is?
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 12:30 AM
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Did something happen while she was away? You say she was some what difficult for you so does that mean she could be more difficult for someone she doesn't know and then maybe they were not so nice to her? This is just a different aspect to look into, maybe it was all so scary to her that she thinks at any moment that when you come to get her you are sending her away again.
JMT Good luck!!

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thankyou for your advice!! I have been trying to do some Parelli stuff, I've borrowed a book off my neighbour and am trying to work through the games and things in there.

Also I think I may not have highlighted enough that 90% of these problems ave ocurred AFTER she was pregnant and came back from stud!! That's what I really need help with, why so suddenly this change?? I've been riding her fine for years now, yes we've had problems but have worked through them, learnt from them and it hasn't come up again.

I can handle her, work with her, she does what she's told, but she doesnt do it willingly, she doesnt want to do things, its an attitude problem, which is where I need help.

At the stud, i went up to see her every two or three days. She was only served 3 times and I was there for 2 of them. I also know the breeder and her assisstant personally.. (one was my equine teacher and one is a woman I used to work with, and are pretty good friends with.) I trust them so nothing at stud happened, besides the fact it may have been stressful (new environment, stallions etc) and exciting...

I just need to know WHY she changed, literally overnight...

Thankyou for the point about the hormone test, I will talk to my vet definately.

Thanks everyone for your input, hopefully we will be able to work through it with the trainor... I have a lot of faith in this woman.. she's amazing!!
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 10:58 AM
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Sometimes the demenor of the stud can cause the mare to become "cranky." If he was just thrown at her, well, you can imagine what that might do to her mentally. I've seen a breeding like this...the mare was tied up, the stud was brought in and he just did his thing and wasn't....lets say "polite" about it. And then he left and that poor mare just stood there, looking stunned, just frozen. The owner told us later that she didn't want a thing to do with her when they got home. It's like the mare blamed her for what had happened. Not saying this is what happened with your mare, but maybe something to consider.
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