Getting a stubborn mare to move!
 
 

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Getting a stubborn mare to move!

This is a discussion on Getting a stubborn mare to move! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Are all mares stubborn
  • How to encourage a stubborn mare to go forward

 
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    12-31-2011, 10:50 AM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy Getting a stubborn mare to move!

I'm looking for some advice for the horse I help out with. She has been out of work for about 3 years now, having had 2 foals in that time. The second foal has now been weaned and myself and the owner of the mare have started doing groundwork with the aim of getting her fit enough to ride in the not-too-distant future.

Everything has been going really well, I've taught her a few natural horsemanship exercises and we've been long reining her to get her bending and working again and she's responded very well to all of this. Recently, however, she's started being difficult and refusing to do certain things. The biggest issue is that she sometimes decides she doesn't want to leave the other mares and come out of the field. I've tried calmly waiting for her, gently asking her to move and also getting a bit annoyed and flicking her bum with the lead rope, but none of it works. If she gets worked up she gets grumpy and has almost kicked me in the past so I'm quite wary of her moods! I don't want to start coaxing her out with food, especially because there are 3 or 4 other mares in the field and that's just asking for trouble! I tried to get her out of the field for over 45 mins today and eventually had to give up.

Her owner says this is something totally new, she's never done this before. I would expect she would be keen to come in from the field as that's when she gets a feed too.

Does anyone have any tips as to how I can persuade her to do what I want? I feel so frustrated and like she is winning the battle when I give up and leave her in the field.

P.s. She is also doing this with her owner, so it's not just her testing me!
     
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    12-31-2011, 10:54 AM
  #2
Trained
When you "gently coax" her to move, what do you do?
     
    12-31-2011, 11:05 AM
  #3
Foal
I talk to her (I do this all the time) and ask her to walk on. I put a little pressure on the headcollar too and release it if she takes a step. I can get her to walk about 4 steps if I stand directly in front of her at the end of the leadrope and ask her to walk on as she'll walk to me, but this would take a very long time as it's a big field! If I walk backwards she knows I'm tricking her so she stops.
When she's in a good mood she will just follow me when I walk away from her.
     
    12-31-2011, 11:17 AM
  #4
Weanling
Make sure you have a fairly long lead on your halter and when she refuses to move lunge her around you and make her move. When she is moving willingly stop driving her forward and try to lead her out of the field. If she won't move forward drive her around you again. Keep doing this until she is following you easily without a fight. She will soon learn that it is easier to follow you than to trot around in circles.
When I catch my animals I always go to the barn and give them a small treat out of their feed buckets. It doesn't have to be big, just a small portion of their regular feed but it starts to relate getting caught with getting a snack. It only takes 2 minutes out of my time and has made catching so much easier. I wouldn't however feed her treats out of my hand, as this can lead to so many more bad habits. Some people do and its just a personal preference but none of my horses ever get treats out of my hands.
     
    12-31-2011, 11:23 AM
  #5
Trained
You can't start a tug of war with a horse. They outweigh you. The trick is to move her sideways. When she refuses to move, make like you are going to turn her to her inside, so you would be on the outside of the circle. Horses follow their heads, and once you move that, she will take a step in that direction. Then start walking in the direction you want to go.

Alternatively, you can use a crop. Start by walking forward, putting pressure on her head. You should be behind her head, facing the same way as her, and pushing forward on the lead rope. If she refuses to budge, use your outside hand to just tap her in the girth area with the crop. Be careful to let her move forward when you do this, she might jump forward a few feet.
     
    12-31-2011, 11:23 AM
  #6
Foal
Thanks Lynn. I have read that advice somewhere else too. I agree that it would be a good method but I'm wary of lungeing her on anything other than a proper lunge line as she can be very grumpy and almost double barrelled me last time I tried it on a 12 foot line. Perhaps I could just catch her with the lunge line though (?). Is there a chance that this would make her difficult to catch? She is easy to catch at the moment, she just doesn't move!

I will definitely start to reward her every time she comes in.
     
    12-31-2011, 11:27 AM
  #7
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroppy Mare    
Thanks Lynn. I have read that advice somewhere else too. I agree that it would be a good method but I'm wary of lungeing her on anything other than a proper lunge line as she can be very grumpy and almost double barrelled me last time I tried it on a 12 foot line. Perhaps I could just catch her with the lunge line though (?). Is there a chance that this would make her difficult to catch? She is easy to catch at the moment, she just doesn't move!

I will definitely start to reward her every time she comes in.
I would be hesitant to use this too, as I would also wonder if she would see it as being hard to catch.

Another thing to do is to make going away from the herd a happy time. Don't just catch her to ride her - catch her and take her away for feeds, for a good grooming, or just for a walk to some choice grass. She will start to associate leaving her buddies with good things, and be less stubborn about doing it.
     
    12-31-2011, 11:27 AM
  #8
Foal
Thanks Chiilaa, I might give the crop a go. Today I did get her to walk in a different direction but as soon as I turned towards the gate she put the brakes on. The crop, however, might just work!
     
    12-31-2011, 11:31 AM
  #9
Trained
Stroppy, I have led horses that don't want to move by zig-zagging my way to the gate. Every time they would stop, I would make them step to one side or the other lol. It can make for entertainment if you are the lucky one who is by the gate already, watching your very flustered friend try to move a half a tonne of dog food through a muddy paddock. If you are the flustered friend, it is definitely not as amusing
     
    12-31-2011, 11:35 AM
  #10
Foal
Heehee! You definitely have to laugh about it or it'd drive me mad! Daft animals! I'll try the zig-zagging and the crop, and also rewarding her when she comes in. Hopefully I can get her moving with a combination of those! Thanks for your help.
     

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